The Bishin Cutter wrote:
Great article out of Bloomsberg, written last year, detailing how NBC's new parent company might not be so faithful to Notre Dame during the next round of television negotiations. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/no ... 82011.html
I think the author of the article makes an excellent point. Notre Dame football has been mediocre at best recently and the Nielsen ratings reflect that. Why would Comcast fork over the amount of money that NBC has in the past to a program whose on the field product isn't deserving of the figures it once was?
This is what could force them to join a conference. The Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC, and even the ACC are signing big money contracts with tv networks that are paying more per team than what Notre Dame is cashing in from NBC. In order to keep up with the Jones', Notre Dame might have to join them.
Absolutely not good for Notre Dame. Absolutely amazing for the Big Ten. If it's money, then it's actually in Notre Dame's interest now to saddle up to the Big Ten and have the both of them approach NBC/Comcast and utterly blow the competition away (and I think the B1G+ND could EASILY dwarf the best the SEC could get anywhere).
And, if the B1G wanted an even bigger payoff, they'd sack ND and BC and use hockey as a bonus package.
The best conference options for the Irish are the Big Ten and ACC and both have their positives and negatives:
The Big Ten could invite Notre Dame (along with Boston College, which is an idea I've floated since the B1G expanding with Nebraska). The history between the conference and university is storied considering the geographic ties and long-standing tradition between the Irish and of the B1G's members. The Big Ten has a great tv contract which would significantly increase Notre Dame's coffers and fit the strong academic profile that the Irish would likely seek when and if they do decide to join a conference.
If Jim Delaney wanted to make a bold, progressive move he could also invite Rutgers and UConn to join to pair with Notre Dame and Boston College which would all help bolster the already high academic standing of the Big Ten. Not to mention that all four universities sponsor hockey which would all increase membership in the newly created Big Ten Hockey conference. Not to mention that UConn and Notre Dame increase the prestige in Big Ten basketball and Rutgers opens up the NYC market for the Big Ten Network. Imagine the ratings draw in the city if Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Nebraska, and even Penn State and Wisconsin visit the Scarlet Knights just in the city alone.
In that scenario the Big Ten could split into four (tentative) pods:Midwest
- Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, WisconsinNorth
- Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, PurdueSouth
- Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio StateEast
- Boston College, Penn State, Rutgers, UConn
They could then host their own conference Final Four like has been proposed if the SEC would ever go to 16 teams.
Idealistic? Yes. Far-fetched? Considerably, especially given the conservative nature of the Big Ten. Lucrative? Almost assuredly.
The ACC, on the other hand, is a far better fit for Notre Dame considering their being the most prestigious academic conference outside of the Ivy League. ACC expansion to 16 with Notre Dame and UConn would boost the ACC into THE premier basketball conference. UConn, Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Pitt in a basketball tournament with noisemakers Florida State and N.C. State would draw the attention of the nation. Expansion with the two aforementioned schools would also increase the conference's football standing by bringing in a university like Notre Dame. Long-time rival Boston College being in the conference doesn't hurt as doesn't Florida State and Miami who have both had rivalries with the Irish. Pitt and Syracuse also provide flashback match-ups for the Irish.
The ACC could also develop the pod system like is proposed for the Big Ten but the football draw is considerably less considering the lackluster performance of the conference as a whole on the gridiron.
Needless to say, either way you lack at it, Big Ten or ACC, it's beneficial for the Irish to at least take a long, hard look at what conference membership could do not only to raise the prestige of Notre Dame even more but to also help them financially which is what conference membership (and expansion) is all about.