September 14, 2012

Are Irish Eyes Really Smiling?

By - Keith Smith

The rumors have been flying around for years. "Did you hear, Notre Dame football is being wooed by (insert conference here)?"

In fact, with the exception of the SEC, almost every major conference has been linked as a potential suitor.

It's like Notre Dame has been the Jennifer Aniston of college sports.

Photo by: Darron Cummings
The Irish finally "hooked up," so to speak, with the Big East back in 1995, in all sports other than football. The conference thought, as did others, that if they could get Notre Dame to commit with other sports, eventually they would persuade them to give up the independent football status that the Irish have prided themselves on for such a long period of time.

However, we learned this week that, much like Ms. Aniston, the Irish have commitment issues -- as they fled the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Again, in every sport but football.

You know, I'm beginning to think these conferences are like the monkeys they run those psychiatric tests on. The ones where every time the animal reaches for the food, they shock him to see how long it takes him to learn not to reach for it?

But unlike the monkeys, these conferences never learn.

Notre Dame, perhaps more than any other school, puts a great deal of weight on what its alumni wants. And the alumni want to stay independent in football.

Trust me on this.

The Irish pretty much had a done deal back in 1999 with the Big 10 (I refuse to refer to them as the B1G), until some of their most powerful alumni squashed it.

I will give the ACC credit though. They have managed to negotiate a better deal right from the start than the Big East could muster in over 17 years as it pertains to Notre Dame football. The school will play 5 games per year against ACC teams, and they are allowing the league to schedule the games, not them.

That's the most control the Irish have given up since they let Saint Patrick clear the snakes out of Ireland.

Will this lead to a day when we see Notre Dame vs. Florida State in the ACC championship game? I'm skeptical, to say the least. But I will say we are closer now than we've ever been to seeing Notre Dame football play in an actual conference.

Of course, if the SEC comes calling one of these days, that doesn't mean the Irish won't bat their eyes and flirt a little bit.

After all, these monkeys never learn.


  1. I don't ever see them FULLY joining a conference in football. As is, they will pretty much be in the ACC with this deal, except they won't be playing for the conference championship. I think this is as close as they'll ever get. Being independent is part of the school's tradition, and we all know how the alumni feel about that.

  2. To be honest, I was shocked they submitted to this!

  3. Notre Dame football has been all but irrelevant for over 20 years now, so who cares if they join a conference or not? They're nothing but a bunch of overhyped underachievers year in and year out.