In many regards, Notre Dame is becoming a full fledged member of the ACC. Aside from football, the Fighting Irish will be part of the conference like any other school and will compete for conference titles. The ACC is adding a member with an outstanding athletic department that features programs that are highly competitive in a variety of sports and the academics at Notre Dame are unquestioned. The Irish will travel well and they have an established fan base around the country, which will bode well for the ACC.
Everything about that sounds great, but I still don’t understand the football aspect. Instead of becoming a member of the conference, Notre Dame will play five ACC opponents a year in football and retain some of their traditional rivalry games. This will allow Notre Dame to continue to play on the West Coast (against USC & Stanford) and they can continue their rivalry with Navy. Some of the games against the schools in the Midwest are now in jeopardy, but those can probably be rotated on a consistent basis.
This helps Notre Dame with scheduling, but how will it work for the rest of the teams in the ACC? Will the 5 games Notre Dame plays be considered conference games? Will there be a rotating schedule of teams who play the Fighting Irish, which means a team would only play Notre Dame once every three years and that Notre Dame would only come to their stadium once every six years? Would Notre Dame be part of the ACC bowl tie-ins with certain bowl games? Would Notre Dame have any impact on the conference championship game? How does this actually help Notre Dame with recruiting in these locations if they will be there so infrequently?
I like the idea of having Notre Dame in the ACC – but I don’t yet understand how this is actually going to work for football. Time will tell.