COLUMN by BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Why? Why in the world does the ACC need, or want Notre Dame without its football program?
I, along with quite a bit of the sports world, had that question spinning around in my head after hearing Wednesday afternoon that the Fighting Irish would be leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
If I am football schools such as Virginia Tech, Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Georgia Tech, exploratory committees would be formed looking into membership in the SEC or Big 12, immediately.
The ACC seems to be following the failed path of the Big East and bowing down to Notre Dame. By letting the Irish into the conference in all sports but football, letting them play five football games a season, and having access to all the ACC bowls except the BCS, the folks in Greensboro obviously did not learn a thing from the conference they have raided twice, now three times in the past eight years for six of its soon to be 15 teams.
Football controls the money and television rights in college sports. Notre Dame brings nothing to the ACC in basketball. When was the last time they made it to the Sweet 16, let alone the Final Four. Without requiring their football program as part of the membership in the conference, the ACC brass are telling Virginia Tech, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Miami you are second-class members, basketball rules, but you guy pay the bills. Basketball accounts for only 20 percent of the TV revenue brought in by the ACC according to a report quoted on ESPN.
Notre Dame had flirted with the Big 12 and sought an arrangement that they got from the ACC, but the Big 12 pretty much told them to go home unless you bring in football.
Many of the so-called “experts” believe that there will be four major conferences with 16 teams each will emerge for football and by every account the ACC is not one of them. The Pac 12 and Big 10 have their alliance and the Big 12 and SEC a few months ago announced the Champions Bowl. Four conferences, four teams, four playoff positions, seems pretty simple. The ACC wants to be a player, but is there room at the table?
The Big East, with Notre Dame imposing its olympic sports, is no longer a major player in college football, with the loss of West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse. The ACC needs to take caution or else the Fighting Irish will suck the blood out of the conference and leave the ACC wishing you had never crossed paths with the school from South Bend.
Bob Redd is a Daily Telegraph sportswriter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.