S'more Thoughts on Notre Dame and the ACC

S'more Thoughts on Notre Dame and the ACC


S'more Thoughts on Notre Dame and the ACC

“How can I have s’more of something if I just got here?”

As you may have heard, rumors about Notre Dame’s (more specifically Brian Kelly’s) interest in making their football team an official member of the ACC surfaced last week. Our own Ben Belden wrote about this topic earlier this week. You can read his article here.

Here’s a quick summary. The conversation began when Tim Brando of Fox Sports discussed Notre Dame on the “Louisville Sports Live” podcast. Brando mentioned that Brian Kelly has talked to him in the past about the idea of joining the ACC as a full member. Brando also said that this move would make sense to him for a couple of different reasons. Someone from the UConn Blog on SB Nation heard this and decided to run with it. Because that makes complete sense.

They reported that Notre Dame is already in talks to join the ACC as a full member, which is false. As you might have guessed, the “report” caught the attention of a lot of people on social media platforms. Yahoo Sports even wrote about it and referenced the UConn Blog article. A couple of days later, Jack Swarbrick told the Orlando Sentinel that the rumor was “absolutely not true.” And that was the end of that…for now. It’s not inconceivable that Notre Dame’s football team will join the ACC as a full member in the future. However, I think we are a long way away from that day.

When discussing this subject, everyone loves to talk about the NBC deal that Notre Dame has, and how they would never walk away from that. Well, they might actually make more money annually as a full member of the ACC, especially when ESPN launches the new ACC Network in 2019. This, however, could also be used as a bargaining chip for Notre Dame to close an even more lucrative deal with NBC in the future. Jack Swarbrick could basically just yell, “Show me the moneyyy!” like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. That should go over well with the good folks at NBC.

Another thing Notre Dame would have to give up is schedule flexibility. They would have to schedule eight conference games every year, leaving them only four games for non-conference opponents. Ideally, those four games would be recurring meetings with Navy, USC, Stanford, and either Michigan or Michigan State. Those four games along with eight ACC teams would create a very challenging schedule for the Irish. In that scenario, Notre Dame would probably drop Michigan/MSU in favor of an easier opponent that they could play in the season opener.

The conversation about Notre Dame joining the ACC as a full member will most likely resurface once a year (or maybe more) every year until they finally decide to do so.

In other Notre Dame and ACC news, the conference released a list of the opponents the Irish will face every year from 2026 through 2037, which is totally necessary. Gotta give the fans something to talk about. Given the current state of each program, here’s my quick breakdown of Notre Dame’s ACC opponents for the next 20 seasons:
– The Irish will play five ACC opponents almost every year. They will only play four in the 2022, 2024, and 2027 seasons. And they will face six ACC teams in 2023.
– 2021, 2023, 2026, and 2031 present the toughest slates of ACC matchups. Each of those years includes a road trip to FSU or Clemson.
– Conversely, the 2017, 2024, 2025, 2033, and 2034 schedules are the easiest over the next two decades.

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