The Realignment Rumor Mill Churns Again: Notre Dame Considering Options (and the ACC)

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Cierre Wood #20 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a first quarter touchdown with Braxston Cave #52 and Michael Floyd #3 while playing the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on September 10, 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

After the ACC solidified itself with the addition of Syracuse and Pitt, concerns about realignment have kind of died down around here. But over the past day or so, Notre Dame's situation has reclaimed headlines. With West Virginia - or Louisville, depending on how all that works out - leaving the Big East for good, the Fighting Irish's situation has become significantly less tenable, meaning there's still at least one blockbuster move on the horizon.

The New York Post, which admittedly isn't the most reputable source on realignment, has a story claiming that the Irish are considering three options: keeping football independent while joining the Big 12 in all other sports, or going full-conference with either the Big Ten or ACC. 

"Each option has a strength and a weakness," said a Post source. "The Big Ten keeps them a national program, but football will be hard-pressed to win the league and it hurts the basketball's ability to recruit in the East."

"The ACC offers them a better chance to win the league and helps the basketball program, but it hurts their standing as a national program," the source added. "The Big 12 offers them a chance to keep their independence in football, but it's a terrible cultural fit for Notre Dame."

Of course, yesterday Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN shared his opinion that, if push did come to shove with the Irish, the ACC would be the clubhouse leader. OrangeBloods, meanwhile, also claims that the Irish are "seriously considering" moving their non-football sports to the Big 12, though as a Texas site it doesn't really give any time to any other options they may be "seriously considering." And in the most recent story from realignment guru Pete Thamel, the same options were mentioned, with some mention being given to the Irish's east-coast ties and the mini-Big East the ACC has already built.

Should ND decided to leave the indie crowd and join the ACC, it'd be a huge coup for a conference. Even though I still have a few misgivings about the geographical fit, as more and more former Big East schools join the cultural concerns are rapidly disappearing.

The big hang-up will continue to be revenue sharing, which ND probably doesn't want to do and which the ACC definitely does. Even without revenue sharing, the Irish would help the TV deal, bring a top-notch program, and bring in one of the biggest fanbases in the country, not to mention the academic boost the conference would get.

If the Irish ultimately decide to stay put or join either the Big Ten or the B12, Swofford and the ACC will probably have to look to UConn and Rutgers, which is boring but safe. Of course, if the Irish end up in the Big Ten, that opens a whole new can of worms given that Jim Delaney's bunch would need another school at that point, and we'd get to do this all over again.

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