Would BC, ACC throw Notre Dame a lifeline?
It looks like the conference shuffle will happen again and Notre Dame is finally on the hot seat. The fork in the Irish road is stay independent in Football and watch the Big East collapse and undermine all their non-football sports currently playing in the Big East. Or join the Big Ten in all sports, reap huge financial gains, yet lose the independence so critical to the Irish aura. Notre Dame fans are up in arms at the thought of joining the hated Big Ten. But Notre Dame's leadership is too smart to let the school get dragged down with the Big East 3.0 (which might include underfunded Catholic programs and some less than desirable fill ins like ECU or Memphis).
From my perspective it seems like Notre Dame needs three things. 1. Non football stability, 2. Continued revenue growth, 3. The flexibility to play football outside the Midwest. They want their current Big East setup but with a little more money and prestige. The only conference that I think could offer them that would be the ACC.
The Pac 10 needs two full-time football members to get their championship game. The Big XII is in danger of being raided and would also need full-time football members to replace any defections. The SEC could "add" Notre Dame in non football sports, but culturally and geographically the Irish would be a huge fish out of water. And I don't know if they would bring that much to the table to justify say the Ole Miss softball team traveling up to South Bend in late April.
The ACC on the other hand with its mix of public and private schools is more inline with Notre Dame. Like the Irish, many of the ACC's biggest programs have strong followings in the North East corridor. The ACC already has championship game so they don't need ND for football. However, the ACC could create a bowl agreement with the Irish and create a partial ACC schedule for them (similar to the old Big East deal). While many BC and ACC fans would be outraged about making special accommodations for Notre Dame, if structured well, the deal could improve our bowl slots and increase the value of the TV contract.
I don't think this will happen. I think the Big Ten money will prove too enticing and Notre Dame will finally join the conference they've dreaded for decades. However, and despite the protest I am sure most BC fans would have, the ACC needs to at least reach out to Notre Dame.