CBS's Dennis Dodd article on how the Irish could be frozen out of bowl games starting in 2014 if they do not finish in the Top 12.http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootbal ... wo-seasons
Easy to see Notre Dame getting frozen out if the are not in a conference considering how the Conferences are now starting to take control of the bowl games. Swarbrick may be forced to choice because it's hard to imagine Notre Dame finishing in top 12 playing USC, Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, etc. every year then adding a Oklahoma or a Texas on top of that.
Maybe the Irish can make their own deal with Humanitarian Bowl.
Seanbo, you reflected on an implication that may be the extended strategy of the major conferences.
When the big conferences were negotiating the playoff-format & formally dropping the BCS label, they did have some differences of opinion, but reached an agreement. They purposefully, did not show any outward signs of trying to "freeze out/constrain" Notre Dame, thus avoiding another issue that could de-rail the negotiations for a play-off. Notre Dame, as with the BCS, had a special seat at the table. ND AD Swarbrick was picked to deliver the "announcement" of an agreement on behalf of the full group---all others being Commissioners. This was done, we assume, not to showcase one particular Commissioner as being the spokesperson for the group.
With the format largely settled, then the conferences shall focus on mazimizing their respective bowl placements per the new system. If Notre Dame knocks out a school in playoff/bowl placement when ND looks less deserving, that's certain revenue and exposure the affected school and conference loses. Also, Notre Dame's assured "cuts" will enter future debates, but the group largely deferred actions on all disbursement details until after settling on the format.