It seems to be an annual tradition for the college football offseason. Now that we have spring football behind us and we are counting down the days until the kicking off of the summer media day extravaganza, the toes are dipping in the realignment rumor pool yet again. This time we are discussing the possibility that Notre Dame may be having conversations with the ACC to join as a full-time conference member and abandon football independence.
With ACC spring meetings on deck, a conversation about Notre Dame exploring the option of joining the ACC as a full-league member was given a spark by comments by FOX Sports broadcaster Tim Brando in a radio interview in Louisville, which was shared on Twitter the other day and continues to be spotlighted on Monday.
Notre Dame has stood by its desire to remain a football independent for decades and continues to hold a seat at the adult table of collegiate athletics without a conference affiliation in football in large part because of its history. If the selling point to lure Notre Dame into a conference affiliation is access to the College Football Playoff, it may not be enough to change the minds of those in power in South Bend. Notre Dame retains a solid chance to make the playoff under the current four-team model as long as they have a record worth considering for playoff inclusion like a 12-0 record or an 11-1 record. There is very likely no chance an undefeated Irish would be left out of a four-team playoff, and it would stand to reason an 11-1 Notre Dame would have an excellent chance to be included in the College Football Playoff. They most certainly be in the conversation as a playoff candidate at the very least, with too many unknown variables to the playoff equation to be determined in each of the power conferences.
Even if and when the College Football Playoff expands to eight teams (or more?), an independent Irish would likely have a good chance to be considered for a spot if the record is worthy. Automatic bids for conference champions could alter the outlook a bit, but once again, a 12 or 11-win Notre Dame team being left out of a playoff field with eight spots overall feels unlikely in the great majority of the scenarios on the table.
Notre Dame joining a conference may happen some day, but the Irish have gone this long without being in a football conference and has shown no inkling of a desire to to abandon its football independence. Money tends to be the great motivator though, and if the ACC can convince Notre Dame the move to full membership is worth it, then the door should always remain open.
The ACC and Notre Dame recently announced future matchups through 2037 as part of the football partnership the conference has with the Irish, who are ACC members in nearly all other sports. Maybe by 2037, the ACC will have convinced Notre Dame to join. Or not.
It’s become a theory among some in the media that Butch Jones is conducting a social experiment or participating some sort of performance art. While that’s the more charitable and fun interpretation, I tend to think the Tennessee head coach is just frighteningly insecure and, thus, fighting for every inch of public approval he can in a likely doomed attempt to keep his job.
That approach has backed him into some verbal corners that, in the long run, make his job more difficult on himself.
I’m talking about the “Champions of Life” quote of last season or, in February, actually stating that he didn’t want 5-star players, he wanted 5-star hearts.
This season has seen Jones go on an odd rant blaming the media for negative recruiting and saying Tennessee had one of the best bye weeks ever last week.
It wasn’t one of the best bye weeks ever, because Tennessee lost at home to South Carolina, 15-9. And you’re not going to believe Jones’s explanation for why Tennessee loss. Scratch that. You will believe his explanation, and that’s the problem here, isn’t it?
Here’s the full quote.
Jones is 33-24 in his four-plus seasons in Knoxville, and 14-21 in the SEC. Those numbers will likely fall to 33-25 and 14-22 after Saturday, when the Vols face No. 1 Alabama. The end is likely near.
And here’s the grand irony of Jones’s everything’s-sunny-here p.r. strategy: his attempt to keep his job by stating blatantly cliche quotes in the state of the obvious will live on much longer than Jones’s actual tenure. Two and three years from now, when Jones is working on someone else’s staff or sitting on his buyout money, the next time an on-the-hot-seat coach says his team won the game everywhere except the scoreboard, we’ll see he Pulled a Butch.
Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.
It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.
Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.
Each side released their own bitter, short statements.
Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.
No. 12 Washington’s loss to Arizona State was a disaster on the field — for more reasons than one.
The Huskies not only put their College Football Playoff hopes in danger — they’ll need to sweep their next six games, including a finishing kick that calls for games against No. 22 Stanford, No. 15 Washington State and, presumably, No. 11 USC, two of them away from Seattle. But the road to get there became noticeably more difficult after losing two starters.
Left tackle Trey Adams suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, and cornerback Jordan Miller sustained a broken ankle. Head coach Chris Petersen confirmed Monday that both will be lost for the season. Miller is the third Husky this season to suffer a broken ankle.
The Seattle Times noted that Washington is also without another starting corner in Byron Murphy, who is expected to return later this year from a broken foot. The Huskies are expected to replace Miller with either a pair of true freshmen or a converted running back.
But Adams may be the bigger loss for the Huskies. A junior, Adams was widely expected to be a first round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s the second straight season Washington has lost a key player in the trenches to a season-ending injury; a year ago, it was linebackers Joe Mathis, who finished one sack away from the team lead despite playing in only seven games, and third-leading tackler Azeem Victor.
Maryland AD Kevin Anderson will not be the Maryland AD for the next six months.
Anderson announced Monday he will take a 6-month sabbatical to focus on “professional development.” That leave of absence will see him remain on his national committees with the NCAA and NACDA, the professional organization of ADs.
It was reported over the weekend that Anderson would be out completely as Maryland’s AD, but those reports were knocked down by the university.
Additionally, Maryland announced that former Georgia AD and current Terps associate AD/CFO Damon Evans will run the department in Anderson’s stead.