Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss Notre Dame’s place in the wild world of college football after the latest round of realignment, and make the case for Notre Dame to join each of the major conferences.
DAN WETZEL: If they were going to make the jump, if they felt they had to, let's go through who could get them. And I know some of this is a little fascicle. But the answer could be 0%. What would the Big 12 have to do to get Notre Dame? We'll go through all five leagues.
PAT FORDE: I think if the Big 12 allowed Notre Dame to like build a satellite campus cost free with a giant basilica in San Antonio, maybe they could get Notre Dame. In other, words 0% chance. Notre Dame is not going to join the same league with Texas Tech and West Virginia. I feel confident in saying that.
DAN WETZEL: OK. Pac-12. What chance would they have of ever landing-- and we kind of already discussed their plan. But I would consider this zero also.
PAT FORDE: Yeah. Unless, I mean, if they-- maybe they gave Notre Dame all the profits from Disneyland for like five years.
DAN WETZEL: They're not even in LA.
PAT FORDE: Well, see, that's true. They can't even access that. What can they do then?
DAN WETZEL: We'll give you the Golden Gate Bridge.
PAT FORDE: There you go. Give them all toll profits from the Golden Gate Bridge for several years.
DAN WETZEL: No. Zero chance. OK. The ACC. Is there anything the ACC can do to get Notre Dame to say, we're in on football also full time? Right now, the ACC is the side piece taking all the other sports. And here's five games a year. You get access to our markets. You play all our teams. When COVID hits and you're out of opponents, we'll take you for a year. But friend zone for the ACC. We're not committing all the way. Maybe more than friend zone. Is there anything they can do? Because if they could get Notre Dame, it would dramatically change the ACC's future.
PAT FORDE: Could save the ACC.
DAN WETZEL: Could save the ACC. So what do you do?
PAT FORDE: 10% chance. Maybe 15%. But again, I think what they would have to do would be to agree to an uneven revenue split that becomes a real sweetheart deal for Notre Dame. But at the same time, if you do that, then Clemson is right there saying, wait a minute. We need an uneven revenue split as well. And North Carolina might ask for that. And Florida State might ask for it and so on. So the ACC, I give them a slim chance. I don't give them a great chance.
DAN WETZEL: Let's go this one. SEC. Is there any way the SEC would take Notre Dame or any chance that Notre Dame would go to the SEC? They became these strange bedfellows in playoff partnerships. It's the beauty of this thing. My enemy's enemy is my still my enemy. But on this thing, it ain't so bad.
PAT FORDE: The SEC would certainly take Notre Dame. The chances of Notre Dame saying, yes, we will happily join a league with Mississippi State, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, no, that's not happening. That is not happening. Kentucky. South Carolina. No. Nope. Nope. Nope. That's a 0%.
DAN WETZEL: 0?
PAT FORDE: 0. At that point, the academics has to stop mattering. And Georgia is a good school. Florida, Texas, Vanderbilt. I mean, it's not that bad. Growing area of the country. The unsurpassed number one league in the thing. A chance to just tell the Big Ten-- oh my God, the Big Ten would have a freaking heart attack if Notre Dame joined.
PAT FORDE: Yes, it would.
DAN WETZEL: And Alabama and Georgia schools are playing right there in South Bend, 90 minutes from Chicago, right on the Michigan-Indiana border. Nightmare. It's the money. It's number one. We want to be number one. We're Notre Dame.
PAT FORDE: Academics are always going to matter with Notre Dame.
DAN WETZEL: All right. I'm just saying never say never.
PAT FORDE: I'm saying never.
DAN WETZEL: All right. Big Ten. Chances.
PAT FORDE: Yeah. By far the leading option. I mean, the leading option, again, is independence. But the only real viable conference option is the Big Ten. And I would say, if you're going to put numbers on it, 55% to 60% chance Notre Dame stays independent. Let's say 55-40 for the Big Ten and 5% chance for the ACC.
DAN WETZEL: Big Ten obviously fits in a number of ways. There'll be a ton of money. You've got the rival-- you're right there. It also at this point assures a lot of what Notre Dame wants. You're going to be playing in the East Coast with Maryland and Rutgers and Penn State. You're going to be playing out west now with UCLA and USC. Big Ten makes the most sense if it's going to happen. No question. If you got to go, this is it. Their fear, though, is just we're just another tradition big stadium team in the Midwest. And there's a whole bunch of those.
This is what happened in Nebraska. Like, hey, look how big our stadium is and look at-- everyone's got that. Now, Notre Dame clearly thinks much higher than themselves than Nebraska. They're also not as geographically a thing. But they don't have a local recruiting base. Having to go up against Ohio State and a steady diet of Ohio State and Michigan every year and those ones. It's not as easy.