The Bishin Cutter wrote:
To be fair,
Navy/BYU don't count in the "lock them out of big time games" since neither are in an AQ conference.
Purdue and Michigan State supposedly (by most accounts) were willing to sell the Irish game for an annual PAC12 matchup.
Texas (who first off isn't in the B1G or PAC) only has a home and home scheduled with the Irish in 2015/16 and 2 neutral site matchups in 2019(in Texas but TBD DFW/Hou/SA)/2020 (Chicago) and nothing more as of yet (though much has been rumored) but they've only ever played 10 times before these matchups (mostly through bowls) so they also shouldn't be in this conversation...
The enablers are clearly the ACC and USC/Stanford.
For those who want the Irish to join a conference, the other major conferences need to cut the Irish out of the post season conversation and make them communicate through the ACC (thus giving the ACC more control over the Irish and taking away their influence at these meetings).
Then we need to see the PAC12 go to 16, and the ACC to get raided for at least UNC possibly by the SEC meaning they'd be at 16, and with everyone at 16 obviously the B1G will also be expanding so they just need to grab a 15th members (KU/UVA) and offer ND its final chance to join the conference because when all this happens (around 2025 or so) the GOR would have to be up and so will the new bowl/post season agreements. If ND thinks they may be finally getting cut out of the process, then clearly they would have to end their independent streak and join up with either the B1G or the ACC once and for all. But they'll hold onto it until then so I wouldn't expect any changes for at least the next 10 years.
I don't think BYU and Navy's place is overstated in the big picture, though. Both could be major conference members if they wanted to (Navy chooses not to, having avoided the Big East for decades, and BYU runs on a "PAC or bust" philosophy). But, more relevant to Notre Dame: being independents, it resolves scheduling conflicts where they exist when running up against more restrictive conference scheduling (ie: why Notre Dame's Big Ten games are always in the first few weeks of the season, unlike USC, Stanford, Pitt, or BC). Army's just as much of an enabler.
I added Texas because they wanted what Notre Dame got from the ACC, and may still currently desire it. A school like Texas trying to copy the model of Notre Dame is as destructive toward the cause of "reigning in the Irish" as the ACC and the two PAC schools because of the "stroke" Texas has as a national program and within the Big XII (and the Big XII is now a lot more flexible with non-conference scheduling at ten than it was when twelve).
The scheduling issues for indepdents, Notre Dame included, are weeks 6-11, deeper in the conference season. Given a willing crew of various independents, the ACC, and the PAC duo, the Irish really have no reason to budge. With the flexibilities of the Big XII, including their campaign for Notre Dame in an associate membership agreement, I think they, too, can feed into what the Irish desire.
And what about the bowls? Any bowl will probably find a way to fit the Irish in. They're covered in the ACC now, and most believe some of those games the Irish will never see even if 6-6. They just get all the breaks...
Come on man, BYU won't get in the PAC, and even if they get in the Big 12 they won't go any further than that. And Navy did join the Big East minus the AQ (now AAC) but has only a tiny outside chance to join the ACC (which ironically depends on NDfb status).
But no matter how you slice it, these schools will continue to play ND because they'll never make it into the next alignment of the Big 4, because the Big 4/5 can't do anything to BYU (they're already cut out of the playoffs/BCS bowls) nor Navy (now in the AAC and unlikely to ever make the playoff/BCS bowls) to stop it...so there is no point to bring them up.
And as far a Texas goes (obvious bias aside)...
How does Texas want "what Notre Dame got from the ACC and may still currently desire it?"
I'd love to hear that factoid. Because other than rampant speculation on message boards there has been no indication that any of it is true. Texas signed a GOR, when it was clearly in a position of power to stay in the Big 12 w/o it and offered to take equal money, meaning at least 10mil/yr less money (could have been much more after adjusting for losing the other 4 members, Texas/OU's value obviously increased w/i the conference), while the just about every other school in the conference except OU got a pay raise some worth more than 15 million a year and not including TCU/WVU's huge windfall.
As much as fans like to talk a big game after the fact, w/o Texas in the mix, OU might have had enough need to join A&M in the SEC leaving the remaining school scrambling to join the Big East (ironically with TCU/WVU). I'm not saying that Texas single handily decided saved the Big 12, but they were clearly one of the top reasons.
But even still, the "stroke" Texas has as a national program along with the LHN, would clearly allow UT to go independent however the haven't set themselves up to be successful as one for multiple reasons.
A: they do not have enough rivalry games to fill their schedule each year. ND has/had Michigan, Mich St, Purdue, USC, Stanford, Navy, BYU, BC, Pitt, Army, Northwestern, Miami, and GA Tech; most of which they've played 30+ times. While Texas has, other than OU prior to the formation of the Big 12, has only really played Tulane (19 times) and LSU (17 times). While I'm sure they'd keep OU on the schedule, and re-add A&M on Thanksgiving, LSU and Arkansas don't want to play (LSU turned down multi attempts to schedule a series, and Arkansas has pushed a game that was originally scheduled in 2005, three times from 2008 and again from 2014 all the way until 2021 due to "strength of schedule" concerns and the game is supposed to be played in Arkansas for Pete's sake) and depending on the fall out Tech, Baylor, and TCU may not either. So other than ND, BYU, Army (last 3 indys) OU, and A&M they'd have to fill 7 games every year, of which at least 3 would need to be in the middle of the season which is tough to do.
B: they don't have anywhere to park their non-fb sports, the ACC is too far, and the B1G/PAC/SEC are too powerhouse to cave to that arrangement. ND has the ACC, and if they ever try to force ND into anything they could always call up the Big East (who would be a fool not to take them). Texas basketball and baseball need a good home, they aren't just throw away sports as many seem to believe, and the MWC/ACC don't quite cut the mustard.
C: while Texas could make more money own as an indy, I doubt it would be much more as ESPN has in the LHN contract that they get right of first refusal and a look-in negotiation to roll everything into a single deal, and I highly doubt that they would pay Texas much more than the near 40 million they make off of their current deal (23 mil/yr from the Big 12 + 15 mil/yr from the LHN) and if Texas declines I assume (as it has yet to make a profit for ESPN, although its great for UT) they would cancel the LHN if UT didn't hand over their tier 1/2 right for a reasonable price.
O and BTW, for the most part only schedules conference games after all the OOC games with the exception of what appears to a be single early conference matchup on week 3 each year (TCU/Tech 2013 and some combo of KSU/TCU/Tech/WVU in 2014) and I'm not sure how playing 9 conference games is more "flexible" just because its a ten member league, if anything a 12 member league with 8 games seems like the most flexible.
Fan of the Big 12 Conference, the Mountain West Conference and...