Had a few tidbits from working on the Notre Dame-to-the-ACC story that I didn’t get to that I thought were of interest.
1. It sounds entirely possible that the addition means that the ACC could go back to an eight-game league schedule. In particular for Georgia Tech, Clemson and Florida State, having nine league games plus an SEC rival on top of Notre Dame every three years may be a little more heft than they’d prefer.
It will likely get discussed at league meetings in October and will be the decision of the athletic directors. Coach Paul Johnson was behind an eight-game schedule, as were most ACC coaches, even before the Notre Dame decision.
2. Whether that happens – and also if the SEC ultimately moves to nine games – will have a considerable influence on what happens with scheduled series with Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi and South Carolina, which have been pushed back to the end of the decade or the start of the next.
“So I think that clarity will allow us to deal with those circumstances probably within the next six to eight months,” Dan Radakovich said.
3. The ideal plan for Notre Dame and the five annual ACC games is for the Irish to play each team every five years. Being the math jenius I am, it finally dawned on me that won’t work perfectly. Five games in three years is 15 games, and there’s only 14 opponents, leaving one extra every cycle. I guess the choices are to rotate it around or perhaps give it to Boston College or Pittsburgh, which already play Notre Dame annually.
I imagine ESPN wouldn’t mind it if Notre Dame played the defending ACC champion in the Labor Day game, although that would be a bit of a scheduling challenge to put the game together so late in the process.
4. Tech’s non-conference schedule starting in 2014 (when Notre Dame could first appear on the schedule): In 2014, Tech is scheduled to play Wofford, at Tulane and at Georgia out of conference. In 2015, there are three home games with Georgia Southern, Tulane and Georgia. In 2016, Tech has Vanderbilt at home, Georgia on the road and an open date.
As noted previously, what the ACC does with the league schedule size will impact whether some of these games get played or not. For instance, if the ACC decided to keep the nine-game schedule and that Tech would play Notre Dame in 2014 or 2015, probably Tulane would either get bought out or pushed back.
5. I mentioned this in the comments of a post from yesterday. The ideal for the ACC would have been for Notre Dame to join as a football member, but in a way, keeping the Irish on an independent schedule may in some way give their games with the ACC a little more cachet. Notre Dame seems a bit more prominent when it’s playing USC annually, not Duke or Wake Forest.
That said, my esteemed colleague Mark Bradley wrote a column Wednesday predicting that Notre Dame will eventually join the ACC for football. If you’re into speculating, that would leave the league in a position to have to add another school. My guesses would be Rutgers or Connecticut. I know Penn State seems a popular choice, but that seems far-fetched, although, I suppose, if this scenario comes to pass, it wouldn’t be any more far-fetched than Notre Dame playing ACC football.
6. You may have read this elsewhere, but with 15 teams in the conference for basketball, commissioner John Swofford said that teams will likely have two primary partners that they’ll play annual home-and-homes. Starting in 2013-14, when Pitt and Syracuse join, it will just be one primary partner. Tech’s will be Clemson. Tech’s other partner has been Wake Forest.
7. Since men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory got hired following the 2010-11 season, his league has added three of the strongest programs in the country in Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame. Playing out of arguably the toughest conference in the country, Syracuse has averaged 26 wins in the last five years, Pitt 24.4 and Notre Dame 22.8.
Radakovich said he saw Gregory in the Edge Center cafeteria Wednesday afternoon and asked him, “Are you still talking to me?”
Gregory isn’t one to back down from a challenge (he probably wouldn’t be at Tech otherwise), but his job is considerably tougher than it was when he arrived. I saw him leaving last night and kiddingly told him he needed to re-negotiate. He laughed and suggested I tell Radakovich.
It is serendipitous timing, though, that the McCamish Pavilion is coming online at this time. (Hey, a rhyme. Almost.) Associate AD Rick Thorpe, who is over ticket sales, told me in an e-mail that his sales reps told him that the Notre Dame news helped them close some deals on men’s basketball season tickets as the purchasers wanted to ensure preferred position when the Irish get on the schedule.
“That’s made me feel really good (that), Hey, we’ve invested money in a part of our conference that is not getting weaker, but is getting stronger,” he said.
8. If you’re wondering, Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team is one of the strongest in the country. The Irish have reached the national finals each of the past two years. The baseball team is down, not having been to the NCAA tournament since the 2006 season. The Irish have had two head coaches since then.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog