The American college sports world is aflutter today because Notre Dame has abandoned its age-old independent status and is on its way to the ACC. Well, except for football. And, Seattle has a new arena, which would make its probing re-insertion to the NBA and NHL a possibility. But, that doesn’t matter, because college football and Notre Dame make way more money. Just, don’t tell the athletes.
As reported and verified by ESPN’s Dan Patrick on Wednesday morning, this move was predicted uno year ago by Yahoo!‘s Dan Wetzel, who surmised that the best possible location for Notre Dame was the ACC.
Forget the Big 10 or the Big East and their exclusive New Yorker clubs and their cuban cigars and their banking industry. Forget the performance of Sean Astin or Joe Montana’s private enterprises.
Notre Dame has traded it all in – all its gothic Eastern-ness and its historic legacy – to join a conference steeped in its own traditions. North Carolina and Duke.. and now Notre Dame.
“As the plate tectonics of conference realignment played out over the past couple of years,” he said, “Notre Dame’s fierce determination to keep its football program independent faced a recurring threat.
That’s right. Remember, college football is staying put in the independent realm, where the Fighting Irish can still line up against whoever they choose. But, it’s the legacy that determines how they act in the present, and ND is thinking every bit about their schedule 20 years from now as they are about their schedule for the next two Saturdays.
Well, so Wetzel says. (*Again, the guy was, like, really on top of this thing.)
“Notre Dame currently must schedule all of its 12 games per year. This drops to seven games with the ACC scheduling the other five. ACC teams will likely be featured during the more challenging dates later in the season. It’s a far easier task.
“Meanwhile, the ACC offers top-flight competition in the non-football sports and allows the Irish increases access and present to the Southeast, a growing part of the country.”
Wetzel’s the man. He’s been using a source for essentially all of Wednesday, and then relaying it to his readers on Yahoo! and to Dan Patrick. For right now, the world (inside of the borders of Indiana) revolves around Wetzel’s Herculean-like brain.
“People don’t realize how difficult it is,” said Wetzel’s ND source, referring to the Irish’s scheduling task and the decision it came to, and will come to once its football program bails on its constitutional independence. “The outlook was very challenging. If the Big 10 does move to a nine-game league schedule down the line, and it could be 10 years from now, can we still count on getting Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan all in a row? And, late October and November kept growing together.”
Okay, so that source’s fluidity and relevance dropped off towards the end. He was as well have ended it with, “Do you know how underrated Roseanne was as a sitcom? The Hallowen Special… every year, man, we watched it every year.”
That said, everyone thought Notre Dame was going to the Big East. It seemed natural, and nobody wanted to question it. But, Wetzel was right, and it makes you question what might happen in every other debated division in sports.
The Houston Astros to the AL West?
What about the Detroit Red Wings? Almost everyone assumes that the Wings will be in the Eastern Conference in two, or three, or 25 years. It’s talked about like it’s just an inevitability, and ironically that link is to Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo!, who is lacking the doubt of his colleague, Wetzel.
But, doesn’t Nashville deserve that spot, too? After all, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Predators to be in the East’s Southeast Division? Tennessee is the sister state to almost every fox hole of the Confederacy. Their college team name is the Volunteers, which stems from that region’s involvement in the Civil War.
Are the Predators next?