Conference affiliation is really the wave of the future and ND is going to have to decide sooner than later. Their most ideal fit is with the Big Ten. The traditional rivalries with Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue already tie them to the conference while Navy would be an easy OOC game to schedule as would possibly rotating between Stanford and USC every other year (something could be worked out).
Also, ND vs Wisconsin, Penn State, and Nebraska would likely receive huge tv ratings. Big Ten expansion is all about finding the best national product and/or one that would bring in the most ratings to increase the viewership of the Big Ten Network. The B1G wouldn't stop at ND in order to get an even number of teams to help with scheduling. Rutgers fits the mold with their history as being one of the two teams to compete in the first intercollegiate football game and their proximity to the NYC market. It's an enticing carrot with the ability to schedule ND, Michigan, Nebraska or Ohio State in the NYC market. The numbers alone would increase revenue. Not to mention that Rutgers possesses the types of academics the B1G likes.
It's a thought...
UConn and Temple could then be brought to the ACC. They may not get the NYC market but could still play in Philadelphia with their huge basketball following and have a bball tourney consisting of Cuse, Pitt, Temple, UConn, UNC, and Duke. There's ratings right there.
The Big 12 then expands with Louisville and Cincinnati, and get footholds into the B1G and SEC recruting country while adding solid athletic programs.
Seems like a win/win for everyone.
Diabsoule, liking your post, the problem with this is that it has real logic, seems very orderly, and possesses common sense specifics. Looking at the landscape of recent shifts/expansion, some of those things often have been tossed aside. However, I largely agree with your premise.
ND has to give up something to join an all-sports conference. Folks say they must have their eastern rivals, keep their ethnic Irish subway fans happy (1940s' era style); continue to play two California teams for west coast recruiting and exposure; keep Navy, and continue to play Purdue, Michigan, MSU, etc. but shed any thought of themselves being tied to the midwest mantra. Neither the ACC or B1G can appease for all of this.
Penn State, South Carolina, FSU, GT, Miami, Texas A&M, Mizzou, and a dozen or so more are among high profile schools that substantially/radically changed their regular schedules when they joined/changed conferences. Any lofty conference interested in ND needs to hang firm and convey "this is what we offer, take it or leave it".