Partial schedules would be folly and make the BE look like a softball league.
Agree. Every team that plays has a partial schedule in that all fb schools are going to play 3 to 4 out-of-conference games. In the case of independents, certainly a particular conference or two is going to have multiple teams on their schedule. Look at who 1-A independents had scheduled for 2005 alone:
Temple (pst BE\prior to MAC move announcement)
1 A10 (1AA)
It appears three opponents from a particular conference is about the maximum an independent would play in a season. If four happened it would not be shocking. In the case of Temple, the ACC anomaly was a one shot situation, and was a potential ACC stop-gap measure.
If you look at the schools an independent schedules, it is motivated by characteristics of the indiviual school, of which the conference each belongs too is a factor in the characteristic. An independent is not going to a Conferences headquarters and say "sign us up with two or three of your members, it does not matter who".
Notre Dame playing Pittsburgh (which they regularly do and was before the BE became an idea) and Syracuse appear obvious and fit Notre Dame's traditional choices of opponents. If West Virginia (happened before) or Rutgers are scheduled by ND, that would not be shocking. ND's first entanglement with WV showed in a post regular season championship game.
If Notre Dame scheduled USF, Cincy, and/or L'ville, then eyebrows would be raised. Conferences cutting deals with each other or wheel and deal over bowls is nothing new. The bottom line, one is not a conference member in fb (or other sports) until the PAPERS HAVE BEEN SIGNED AND SLATE OF EIGHT CONFERENCE OPPONENTS HAVE BEEN SCHEDULED.
Agree Sportskc. Notre Dame's history playing B10 teams reaches beyond Purdue, Michigan, and MSU. Penn State, Northwestern, and Ohio State, among a couple other B10 teams, have played ND in recent decades. Many would like to work out games, but with the slates limited to 11 or 12 opponents, of which 8 or so are predetermined by conference play, there is little flexibility. The pressure to play other in-state and a MAC opponent or two are also there, plus intersectional contests and give-me prep-type games.
Navy may be even more rigid than Notre Dame. They have cultivated their nation-wide slate and established much of their regulars. Notre Dame, Army, and Air Force are obvious regulars for Navy, but they also want to maintain competitiveness with games against teams such as Rice, Tulane, and Duke (short name known privates sort of). Army will be soldifying its own pattern having exited C-USA.
When Notre Dame addressed conference membership in football at the end of the 90s', it was a BIG10 offer they formally declined. When the ACC expansion neared conclusion, it was the ACC and Big 10 they flirted with in a detached, speculative way.
Even BE Commisioner MT was adament that Notre Dame is staying fb independent. How many years will it be before Notre Dame finally commits to a conference for fb is unknown. Much depends on their on-field success and what will be available later.
The Notre Dame faculty and perhaps, as previously reported, parts of their administration and board favor the B10. One thing for sure, we are not hearing forces from Notre Dame exclaiming "LET'S JOIN THE BE IN FB"! Rather, it is certain BE fans that are hoping for the enhanced bonding.
Notre Dame fans and alumni, at some point, could face reality and swallow the idea of B10 membership. To say the same for BE, from the Notre Dame angle, not the BE angle, is not happening. Maybe---if L'ville, Pitt, and Syracuse---won at least ten of the next fifteen national championships. But then again, if that happened, someone else may be vying for that #12 B10 spot.