If there is one school that could possibly — possibly — put a halt to a conference apocalypse at the ready to change the collegiate football landscape for evermore, it’s Notre Dame.
And, yes, I can hear it now. “Notre Dame hasn’t been relevant for 20 years!!! What do they have to do with anything???” That sentiment is understood, but hear me out for just a coupla minutes.
If Notre Dame were to accept an offer from the Big Ten — and, make no mistake, the Irish are still the apple of the Big Ten’s eye. Right below Texas — it’s conceivable that the conference would stop at that and not pilfer other leagues. The Irish and their flung-far-and-wide fan base would give them a national television footprint for their television network that no other school/schools could come close to matching.
If that were to happen, the Pac-10 might — might — stand down from their six-school plundering of the Big 12. Maybe they’d look to add a Colorado and a Utah, but nothing as earth-shattering as the option of imploding one of the six BcS conferences that’s currently on commissioner Larry Scott‘s to-do list.
With the Irish finally in the Big Ten’s clutches, it could, basically, be status quo for all of the other “major” conferences, with the exception of a tweaked Pac-10 and a Big 12 featuring a replacement for Colorado.
No implosion of the Big 12, Big East, nothing. Again, just a couple of tweaks. Maybe.
With that as a backdrop, Pete Thamel of the New York Times dropped an interesting nugget on his Twitter feed this evening.
According to Thamel, and based on a conversation with an unnamed BcS athletic director, “Notre Dame and the Big Ten are very much in deliberations.”
And so it begins anew. The Golden Domers and their Midwest brothers-from-a-different-mother continuing a flirtation that’s gone on for decades.
Nebraska the linchpin as far as conference expansion is concerned? Please. Very likely, it will once again come down to the Big Ten’s utter infatuation with the school in South Bend.
And, finally, a consummation.
Those hoping for minimal change in the structure of college football had better pray for Notre Dame to lay down and get biblical with the Big Ten. And soon, with a “loyalty deadline” for the corn shuckers looming.
UPDATE 9:38 p.m. ET: Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has told Thamel that the talk of his school being “very much in deliberations” with the Big Ten “are just not true.”
Dammit, would somebody either sh-t or get off the pot already? This is getting old.