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The next critical Jenga piece is Notre Dame, which would definitely leave if the basketball...

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The next critical Jenga piece is Notre Dame, which would definitely leave if the basketball universities left — and could possibly leave even if they don’t. The A.C.C. is the most likely destination. The Irish’s television contract with NBC, currently under negotiation, will go a long way in determining their future — as will how they fare as a stakeholder in the new college football playoff. That appears to be safe and stable for now. If Notre Dame leaves for the A.C.C., its only realistic destination, the A.C.C. will take Connecticut or Rutgers to make it a 16-team league. And that would send all the Big East blocks tumbling.

Via Pete Thamel in the NYT Here we go again, then. Thamel is good enough for me to believe what he's telling me, even though I'd feel better with a "sources say" somewhere in there. But I'm afraid I don't completely understand: is Notre Dame going to try to retain independence (hence the discussion of their TV deal and the playoff) and join the ACC only if they fail? Or is the ACC even more likely than an attempt at independence? My feelings on conference realignment are well known - B1G! - but I've also long said that if ND joins the ACC, that's a game-changer for me. That's a lot of money and a lot of highly-competitive programs, plus the prestige ND brings. Sure, they're a horrible geographic and cultural fit, but since when did that matter in this Game of Conferences? Throw in Pitt, Cuse, and, say, UConn, and we get a very attractive and well-balanced set of schools, even if they're a bit unwieldy. And hopefully it'll be a death knell to Tobacco Road centrism.
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