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Column: Irish Are Welcome With Open Arms

Asst. Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

It was announced yesterday morning, seemingly out of nowhere, that Notre Dame will be bringing everyone except for Rudy and his football teammates to the ACC at some point during the next few years. When the move from the Big East will occur, exactly, depends on math and politics and boring things like that (plan for 2015). The point is, though, that the Irish are coming, and it’s great news. Here’s a general breakdown of how the forthcoming changes will affect Boston College.

Notre Dame will remain independent in football, but will play five ACC teams each year on a rotating schedule, for now, and that actually makes a lot of sense. I don’t know why any program would want to give up its own exclusive TV deal with NBC or why any big move like that would be made before the entire college football playoff system is put in place. If the Irish have a better shot at making the playoff by playing in the ACC, then they’ll make the move. If they don’t, then they’ll stay independent. It’s that simple.

So how does this affect BC football? Not that much, actually. It was also announced yesterday that BC’s game contract with ND will continue as planned, so the Eagles will still host the Irish in 2015 and 2019, and ND will still host BC in 2016 and 2018, meaning no one currently enrolled at BC will be able to RV out to South Bend during their college career unless they went last year. Just like you weren’t going to be able to 48 hours ago. So, as much fun as it is to complain about Notre Dame, we can all go ahead and stop complaining about that one.

There is also a new rule that the Irish can be invited to any bowl game that the ACC qualifies for, as long as the Irish are within one win of other eligible ACC teams. Confusing, right? Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t affect us much. They won’t keep us out of the Orange Bowl if BC (fingers-crossed) qualifies for it in the future, and if they bump us down one spot in the bowl hierarchy, I think we can all get over that in exchange for conference security, prestige, and increased revenue.

Moving on to basketball, where the news is even better. Notre Dame is a fairly consistent top-25 program, and that only means a stronger conference and another top team for BC to knock off and add to its tournament resume. A schedule consisting of Syracuse, UNC, Duke, Pitt, NC State, and now ND may seem daunting, but it’s not. It’s helpful. BC needs all of the quality wins it can get in order to make the tournament, and now it only has more opportunities. A loss will mean very little and a win will mean a whole lot. And yes, starting in 2013-2014, the Eagles will be a legitimate contender for a spot in the tourney.

Now, some things get a little trickier on the basketball side. Remember a few weeks ago when the ACC announced that every school was getting a basketball rival, meaning BC plays Syracuse twice a year? The addition of Notre Dame means the ACC has 15 men’s basketball programs in the conference. Supposedly, this means that every school gets two rivals now, and somehow that math is supposed to work out. I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same exact thing. And no, there aren’t any plans to add a 16th member.

“There is no need to add a 16th team to the league,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a press conference yesterday. “From a practical standpoint, it really is illogical.”
You’re right, John. Whenever anyone starts any sort of league, the goal is always to have an odd number of teams, preferably right around 15. That way, no team can count on playing the other teams with any sort of reliable consistency or rotation, and the post-season tournament can be as jumbled and complicated as possible. Thank you for making things logical.

This is likely a PR move to focus the attention on Notre Dame, and it’s also probably a lie. Here’s what the ACC should do, and what it’s likely planning behind closed doors. Add Georgetown as the 16th team. It strengthens the hoops side, doesn’t pose any sort of imbalance on the football side, and continues the tradition of strong academics throughout the conference. That way we can have a basketball regular season and postseason that is logical and practical to everyone except Mr. Swofford until a few months from now when he announces Georgetown’s addition to the ACC, at which point its membership will be perfectly logical and practical.

Anyway, welcome Notre Dame. Overall, this is great news for the conference and thus great news for BC.

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