Gut reaction to Notre Dame joining the ACC as a partial member.

Big news today for the ACC and Notre Dame… The Fighting Irish are joining in all sports expect football. The Irish will play 5 games against ACC opponents. Here’s is my quick gut reaction to the news. I am cautiously for the move.

It is obvious it would have been better if Notre Dame had joined as a full member, but that wasn’t going happen. I don’t really like the idea of making special concessions to a school, but that said the environment is different than it was a few years ago. By the ACC completing a deal with Notre Dame they have effectively halted any other conference from obtaining the Irish. Notre Dame was by far the biggest available free agent brand remaining in college athletics.

With the new playoff format they were going to join a conference, we just didn’t know who. If it had been the Big 12 or someone else, the ACC would been in a precarious position and let the rumors of destabilization start again.

That’s not going to happen. The buyout was increased to $50 Million, but I don’t hold a tremendous amount of stock in that. The Grant of Right, buyout deals, etc are always negotiable. What I see as the ultimate benefit is that the ACC’s TV deal is already rumored to increase by 1-3 Million dollars.

The ACC’s football product is enhanced. Don’t think so? Wake Forest vs Notre Dame was in prime time last year. Imagine Irish games with Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech among others. The Irish still move the needle and that’s a fact. They sell alot of tickets and get eyeballs on the television.

Games with Notre Dame bring exposure for every ACC team that plays them. The Bowl alliances will certainly improve as well.  That the ACC Champion is still locked into the Orange Bowl protects the ACC Champion. Now, ND if they are within 1 loss of an ACC team can be picked ahead of an ACC team for non-BCS bowls, but just ask Boston College if that doesn’t happen already. Those are 2nd tier bowls anyways. Let’s not worry if a 7-5 ND teams picked ahead of an 8-4 ACC team for right to go the Sun Bowl.

Do I think the Irish will eventually join the ACC? I doubt it. Their independence is too important to them, but I feel like this is a good marriage on paper.  As more details are revealed I’ll have more thoughts on this.

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