By the way, where's the uproar?
Notre Dame announces that it's going to leave the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference, and ... ho-hum, business as usual, nothing out of the ordinary. Just all in another's day work with the ever-changing landscape of college athletics.
No outrage, no conniptions, now vowing to avenge thy allegiance's name - by anyone.
In the Big East? No, in the Big Ten.
C'mon, if any configuration of schools and stuffed suits got pie thrown in its face, it was that bastion of institutions of higher learning that inhabits middle America, not the likes of Connecticut and Rutgers in the Northeast. If any outfit stood toe-to-toe with Notre Dame at looking down at all the minions scurrying around, trying to be as good, or gain the same kind of cachet, it was the Big Ten.
Ohio State, Michigan and their ilk even had offered an invitation for the Irish to join their special space, so respectful of ND's place in the nation's conscience. More than once. Even as its storied football program faded from the elite the past couple decades, the Big Ten still extended an olive branch a time or two.
It many ways, a union made sense. Just for geographical purposes it did; same thing with natural rivalries due to that.
But now ... ugh, the utter gall of those guys in South Bend. How dare they?
Oh, they dare ... although it's a little unclear why the ACC bothered to dare.
Had ND given up its independent status in football, of course things would be perfectly clear. But it didn't, and despite how sound the school's entire athletic operation is, the key to the whole thing is what happens on the gridiron.
For now, the ACC doesn't get it. Perhaps the thinking is that with things constantly changing, ND ultimately will give up the golden goose in football and join the other 14 members in the circuit.
Even without adding the Irish, the ACC was shaping up to be THE monster conference in college sports, especially after yet another raiding of the Big East. Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College bolting the middle of last decade was crippling to the brainchild of Dave Gavitt, and the departures of Syracuse and Pittsburgh were absolute death to a once-great conference.
This latest move ... is just pure overkill. The Big East already was a corpse, by BCS standards at least, before getting plugged again.
Ironically, you almost have to wonder if the Irish didn't shoot themselves in the foot as well. Yeah, they're known around the country, but, clearly, their ironclad support system was - drum roll, please - in Big Ten country and - hit it one more time - in Big East territory, too. Notre Dame is no bigger than it is on its home turf, in the Midwest, and its following in the Northeast through subway alumni is legendary ... and legit, even today.
In short, they're more likely to be talking about what looks good at the Waffle House in Tallahassee than talking about getting tickets to see the Irish come to town. It's a little different than, say, when the juices start flowing in Chicago or New York whenever ND is mentioned. Frankly, there is a disconnect ... and a large one.
Only ND football joining the ACC could bridge that gap.
- Kudos to new Big East commish Mike Aresco for keeping his cool about ND's departure, and leaving the door open for negotiations that would allow the school to leave early. No sense in kicking up a fuss when West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh were allowed to enjoy quick getaways. Besides, he doesn't want to lose the potential of any further ties with ND, either with scheduling games against his teams, or if the landscape changes again. You never know.
- The addition of ND gives the ACC an uneven number of members. You have to figure it will be looking to add another school in the near future so everything works out nice and tidy with scheduling and conference tournaments. Sadly for the Big East, several of its schools make likely targets, chiefly Connecticut (name recognition) and South Florida (location and potential). A plot twist would be along the lines of the ACC trying to recoup former member South Carolina from the SEC.
- While most college football-watching eyes will settle on 20th-ranked ND at No. 10 Michigan State today, the most intriguing game may be a battle between two winless squads in State College, where 0-2 Penn State hosts 0-1 Navy. We all know the issues facing the Nittany Lions over the last 10 months, but it's doubtful many figured they'd have so many, so early on the field this season. For their sake, you hope this one doesn't come down to a field goal after last week.