Wait a second. Wasn’t the ACC was dead and buried? Roadkill on the side of the BCS highway?
It wasn’t so long ago that, for some reason, the mere idea of an additional bowl game between the SEC and Big 12 meant the end of the ACC as we knew it and guaranteed the preeminence of the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 forever and ever amen. Florida State and Clemson had their bags packed and were ready to flee. The ACC was on the verge of irrelevance, if not total disintegration.
With the addition of Notre Dame on Wednesday, the ACC is clearly very much alive, very much relevant and very much a factor in the big-money world of college sports going forward.
Even as an affiliate member, Notre Dame is an academic school that fits the conference mission -- a factor of underrated importance for ACC presidents -- and it’s a big, national name that will drive yet another lucrative renegotiation of the conference’s television deal in sports other than football.
Football independence, meanwhile, remains sacrosanct in South Bend, but it’s a slippery slope from playing five games a year to eight. The football world is changing quickly, and the day may come soon for Notre Dame where entry into a playoff by winning the ACC championship is more palatable than pushing for special treatment by trading on past glory.
A 16-team ACC with Notre Dame as a full football member would have a seat at the table with the SEC and everyone else when it comes to determining the future of college football. The ACC and Notre Dame are stronger together than they are apart.
Wednesday’s addition opens the door and lays out the path, while reaffirming the ACC’s willingness to make bold moves to secure its future -- a future that remains very much alive.