Just Stop Writing Dumb “Join B1G” Columns Already, Everyone

Ok, usually I don’t get drawn offsides very much by any “Notre Dame should join X conference” articles, but this last attempt takes the cake in terms of stupidity. You can find the original by Dave Wischnowsky here, but I urge you not to click it. You’ll get all the breakdown you need after the jump.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I’m pretty sure that old Charles Dickens didn’t pen those words with Notre Dame in mind, but here in the waning days of 2012, he certainly could have.

Man, I thought I had issues trying to write post introductions.

You know you’re in for a great ride when the second sentence contains “pretty sure he didn’t do this, but he probably totally did, just go with it.”

That’s because, on one hand, the Fighting Irish are flying as high as ever with a No. 1 ranking and a chance to win their first national championship in a quarter century when they face Alabama on Jan. 7 in the BCS Championship Game. But on the other hand, the future of Notre Dame’s athletic programs – despite the football team’s current success – has never been less stable, or clear.

On Monday, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick acknowledged that the implosion of the Big East has left the Irish in an oh-so-precarious position. Notre Dame announced in September that its sports teams – except for the fiercely independent football program – are leaving the Big East for the ACC but that the school is contractually obligated to play in the league for two more years.

OK, maybe we should give this guy a chance. This actually could make some sense and present an article worthy of debate.

Let’s see where this goes…

However, with the Big East’s seven Catholic basketball schools declaring last week that they’re departing the conference, the Big East may not exist at all by next fall. And, as a result, Notre Dame could be without a conference in which to play basketball and other sports next season.

…right into a brick wall.

So let me get this straight. Notre Dame needs to join the Big Ten because the Big East fell apart (something that our departure accelerated, by the way) and Notre Dame might not have a conference in 2013. So despite the fact that we have an agreement in place with the ACC in 2014, Notre Dame should jump ship to the Big Ten now to solve this issue.

You’re kidding right, Dave?

However this drama plays out, it appears the Irish will eventually bolt one train wreck of a league (the Big East) for another one (the ACC) that’s resembled a sputtering jalopy ever since charter member Maryland announced last month that it’s bolting the conference for the sanctuary of the Big Ten.

Guess not.

The ACC is destined to be a train wreck because Maryland, that’s right, MARYLAND decided to jump ship.

Now, of course, if Notre Dame itself had joined the Big Ten – that deep-pocketed, powerful and highly stable league right in its own backyard – none of these annoying headaches involved with crumbling conferences would exist.

Yeah, we’d just have to deal with the headache of dealing with a conference that can’t even figure out division alignment without an internet survey. Oh, and the small fact that Delany has seemed to lose his damn mind by watering down his conference with Rutgers and Maryland.

Don’t cite TV markets as the reason either. If you think that the entire New York/New Jersey market actually cares about watching Rutgers do anything, you are as foolish as Delany. Maryland also isn’t exactly cornering any desirable TV markets either.

Maybe Delany really loves crab cakes?

Don’t give the “in ND’s own backyard” reason either. For 125 years Notre Dame football has played a national schedule for football. Why would we ever sacrifice that kind of national presence? Regional scheduling is small-time thinking. ND operates on a national scale and limiting ourselves to “our own backyard” completely screws that up.

Finally, money? You’re joking right? Notre Dame was the eighth most profitable football program last season and that was during a mediocre year without magical conference money. You seriously think money is a concern for ND?

But those headaches aren’t likely to cease soon. And considering how drastically the college sports landscape has changed over the past few years – and surely will continue to do so for several more – here’s my advice for Notre Dame:

Just join the Big Ten already.

Things will continue to change, but the Big Ten won’t, promise!

As I’ve written before, here in this age of emerging “superconferences,” a situation is almost certain to arise where Notre Dame is going to have to join a league – all the way – or find its football team left out of the evolving power structure.

You mean that “evolving power structure” that created a new playoff system which included Notre Dame?

Come on now, where you asleep this past offseason, Dave?

And when that does happens, Notre Dame football would be a much better fit in the Big Ten than the ACC, which (if it even survives) will always be more of a basketball conference than it ever will be a football one.

Good thing the goal is to remain independent in football!

Also, wasn’t the whole initial issue all of Notre Dame’s “other sports” not having a home?

And as we all know, football is what Notre Dame is really about. Today, tomorrow and forever.

OK, I guess this post is about football now.

However, in spite of pigskin being such a priority, a few years ago a friend of mine who is a Notre Dame alum said that despite the school’s powerful desire to maintain its football independence, it wouldn’t cling to that if it ended up hurting the school’s other sports programs.

Or not. Seriously, pick an argument and stick with it.

Also, bonus hilarity for citing “a friend of mine”. You would’ve been better off saying “a source familiar with the Notre Dame athletic program” if you really wanted to properly spoon-feed us this crap.

Does this friend actually have knowledge of the inner-workings of ND? I’m assuming not, otherwise you would’ve used it to strengthen your argument that is now completely coming off the rails.

To top it all off, you are citing an opinion from “a few years ago” back when the conference landscape looked nothing like it does now. What does your friend think now with the new ACC deal in place? Shame that we’ll never know.

Actually, you know what, I’m a Notre Dame alum. My opinion should hold weight to this argument! Guess what I think? You’re full of crap. Boom. Roasted.

Right now, it looks like the Irish’s other sports programs could indeed be hurting badly if they don’t have a conference home next year. A few years down the line, Notre Dame football could end up hurting too […]

It’s other sports! It’s football!

Rabbit season! Duck season!

[…]if it’s ultimately forced into a weakened ACC that’s lost marquee members and is instead dominated by lackluster ones.

So now you’re just going to stick with the assumptions and start making crap up?

Fine, I’ll bite. All the ACC schools will jump ship. Who? To where? When? And what makes you so certain the Big Ten won’t budge?

I’m sure the next paragraph will shed some light on these burning questions.

While I still consider it unlikely to happen, what I’d like to see is for Notre Dame to get off its high horse and politely knock on Jim Delany’s door. If Notre Dame asked, I’d be willing to bet that the Irish basketball team and its other sports programs could be fit into the Big Ten schedule next season. And then the Notre Dame football team could join the Big Ten along with Maryland, Rutgers and a 16th member TBD when the 2013-14 season rolls around.

Or we’ll just completely ignore it and move on to more assumptions!

Not only will Delany take in the Irish, but he’ll find a 16th team as well (Cincinnati must be licking their chops!). Oh and the scheduling will be fine! Don’t mind the details, just carry on with this logic! We’re on a roll here!

Alright, I’m probably being too mean. Dave still has plenty of time to clear all of this up.

Now, would it be simple to pull all that off? Of course not.

Translation: “Remember all of that crap I just made up? You know, all those reasons that will save Notre Dame from all those “headaches” I mentioned earlier? Yeah, moving to the Big Ten will create more headaches.”


Notre Dame’s entanglements with the Big East, ACC, NBC and future football opponents would all have to be sorted out and appeasements would certainly have to be made. But nothing in college sports is impossible – especially with Notre Dame’s and the Big Ten’s money.

You’re right nothing is impossible…including Notre Dame staying independent and finding another dance partner that isn’t the Big Ten should the ACC falter. If you don’t think that’s possible, you are conviently forgetting DeLoss Dodds and Jack Swarbrick have a great relationship.

Oh hell, let’s get really crazy and start making crap up since you are.

Let’s say Notre Dame sees the ACC fall apart and says “OK, forget this independence thing. We’re starting our own national conference and will invite eleven other schools. We will use the NBC family of networks to promote our conference and televise all of our conference games just like the Olympics.” The line would for invitations would form to the left and include approximately 119 schools (rough estimate) hoping for an invitation.

Improbable and unlikely? Definitely. Then again so is your scenario, and mine actually makes more sense than joining the Big Ten.

This week, for example, rumors are swirling that Butler – which is in its first year in the Atlantic 10 – may leave already and instead link up with the “Catholic 7” from the Big East in forming a new hoops-centric league.

“Our administrators, our coaches, our trustees and our team will continue to do what is right for Butler and its students,” Butler president James Danko said in a statement Monday, not committing the school one way or another while showing that changes can always be made.

Can someone connect the dots for me?

How does talking about Butler follow anything resembling a continuous line of thought after “nothing in college sports is impossible – especially with Notre Dame’s and the Big Ten’s money”?

What are you even trying to say here? Butler is keeping its options open so therefore so should Notre Dame? And even if that’s the point, do you think Swarbrick, the same guy that kept his options open this year to make the move to the ACC is all of a sudden closed-minded?

Actually let’s back up even further. Are you comparing Notre Dame to Butler?!

My head hurts.

If Notre Dame was truly honest with itself, I think it would see that the Big Ten is still the conference that’s best for the Irish athletic programs and students-athletes. Just like it always has been.

Notre Dame is honest with itself. Notre Dame is a national presence and brand. Joining the Big Ten isolates us to the Midwest region. That alone is enough reason to reject this idea.

But even ignoring that, what other benefits have you actually presented in this article, Dave? The only other two are money (which ND needs no help with) and stability (which you can’t guarantee).

So why should ND join the Big Ten again?

I suspect that even Charles Dickens would agree with that.

Even the corpse of Charles Dickens would see the light! How can I possibly argue with that?

Message to anyone thinking about writing a Notre Dame to Big Ten article: don’t. There is no logic behind it. It will never happen. Just do yourself a favor and stop.

As for Dave? Here is your prize.

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  • tlndma

    What is all this talk of the ACC falling apart? The Carolina schools are going nowhere. One can’t(won’t) leave without the others. Maybe one one of the northeast scholls could bolt for the B1G but, that would really have no affect on the conference. UConn is waiting in the wings for either the B1G or ACC. Clemson and FSU to the SEC, not if S.Carolina and Florida have a say in it. To the Big 12? Do they really fit there? When you add up all the non-revenue sports and travel, does that make any sense. I don’t quite understand the TV problem Clemson and FSU have with the ACC(third tier games?)but, wouldn’t the ACC address this before they let either school go?
    Notre Dames inclusion is Big in the TV markets of the east coast. So are the additions of Pitt and Syracuse. The ACC now has a bigger and more familar footprint in the norteast. Living in BC country, I can tell you, a BC- NS St. b-ball game doesn’t get much attention right now. A BC – Syr game would right away. So too, BC – Pitt. ND vs. any of them would get good ratings too. Ratings against the rest of the ACC will grow as people get used to tuning in again to BC athletics. This isn’t just my opinion, as my older college B-ball friends are looking forward to some renewed old rivalies.
    I undestand that Rutges and Maryland going to the B1G will get the B1g network in some major markets in the NY-NJ and DC areas. That is big for the conference. Whether anyone tunes in, remains to be seen. That would be even bigger.

  • NostraDomina

    Dear Dave:

    Not only is your article dumb and filled with flaws, your anonymous friend is not a Notre Dame alum. Alum is an aluminum salt. He is (if he truly exists) an alumnus. His Notre Dame education would probably prefer that you get it correct.

    • NDtex

      Eh, I’ve used the term “alum” before (and in this piece). I guess the three years of Latin I had before ND has terrified me of the language.

      • Big Red

        Alumnus is male. Alum is neuter, thus making it an appropriate reference to either a male or female graduate.

        • NDtex

          Wouldn’t it be alumnum, technically?

          • NostraDomina

            Yes, but only if it is an adjective.

            Since Notre Dame isn’t admitting robots (as far as I know), there is no need for a neuter form of the noun, hence alumnus, alumna.

        • Ryan in Omaha

          There is an n at the end of alumn.

      • NostraDomina

        @NDTex (in case the reply button doesn’t look quite right)

        I am dumb and a masochist and other things and I love Latin. I file this little alumnus thing into “pesonal pet peeve”.

    • Father Sorin

      Alumno is the verb meaning to nourish or nurture. In the masculine, singular, perfect passive participle, it is rendered as Alumnatus. It became Alumnus as the -at- was elided over time. Hence, it means a lad who was nurtured or raised, in this instance by an institution of learning. It was subsequently given the feminine form of Alumna to reflect the fact that women were being similarly educated; but this change occured a couple hundred years after the word first appeared. By the same grammatical logic, the neuter form would be Alumnum – but that ignores fairly simple lessons of human biology. Alum, technically, is not a word, though it can be useful when referring to a graduate whose gender is unknown, or as Alums when referring to a group of graduates of mixed gender.

      In Latin, Big Ten would be rendered Mortuus Finis… or Dead End.

      • NostraDomina

        With all due respect, Father, alum IS a word. It’s a general descriptor of an aluminum sulfate hydrate salt that has been used since ancient times for dying and for treating small cuts.

  • http://ndnation.com Tom D.

    Totally disagree. The football games versus the ACC will be the least interesting Notre Dame plays (they already are). We are not located on the eastern seaboard, but in INDIANA, a midwestern state last I checked. The best rivalries we have are with Big Ten teams, with the possibility of more. The ACC is consistently (along with the now deceased Big East) the weakest of conferences. Joining the ACC was a stupid move. Football independence should be ditched and ND should join the Big Ten.

    • NDtex

      Games against Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Florida State don’t interest you at all? I’ll take any of those four over Purdue any day.

      Plus, Duke is getting loads better in football to everyone’s surprise. Pitt is coming on board (long-time rivalry). Little brother BC is in the ACC.

      And then there’s that whole basketball thing that’ll be loads of fun.

      Notre Dame might be located in the Midwest, but the brand is nationwide. Also, the best rivalry we have is with USC. Period.

    • Ryan in Omaha

      The ACC expands ND’s recruiting, the B1G does not.

  • Big Red

    I can’t tell which is more hilarious: this author’s purely speculative, rehashed old article, or his spiteful replies to the comments. Pure comedy of errors.

    • NDtex

      Most hilarious to me was being called “disrespectful” by him on Twitter since I discouraged clicks to his article.

  • Mike

    His replies / arguments in the comments are pure gold.

    • Big Red

      There’s so much anger. He sounds like a petulant child. He can’t reply to well-reasoned critiques of his argument without resorting to name-calling and projecting his preconceived notions of Notre Dame fans. It’s not even worthy of being called “bad journalism”.

  • Guest

    We can assume that all 6 of our non-ACC/Navy games will be traditional powers/historic rivalries/quality opponents (USC, Stanford, Oklahoma, BYU, Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan (eventually), Texas, etc). We can also assume that the ACC will provide 2-3 quality opponents each year (Clemson, FSU, Miami, Duke?, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Louisville). The other ACC games will replace the schedule fillers that we have been forced to schedule (UMass, Rice, Tulsa, Temple, Air Force, etc). Can anyone tell me that NC State or Georgia Tech are really less attractive opponents than UMass or Rice?

    After 2014, do not expect to see a single non-ACC/Navy game against a non-traditional power/quality opponent. Remember, WE first schedule Navy and our 6 other non-ACC games then WE give the ACC dates that they can have the privilege of playing us. That gives Swarbrick maximum flexibility because he has 14 different dates in which he can schedule 7 opponents. Also, several ACC opponents would likely be willing to sacrifice their home game against us for a nearby alternate site or true neutral site game because their stadium is too small (Duke or Wake Forest at Bank of America Stadium, BC at Gillette Stadium, Syracuse at Met Life Stadium). This would help Swarbrick continue the Shamrock Series without sacrificing games in South Bend (Although I’m not sure if the Shamrock Series is tied in with NBC, because if they are tied together, then they wouldn’t count since ESPN has the rights for ACC home games regardless of location and it would explain why the Dublin game wasn’t Shamrock Series as it was on CBS because Navy was the home team).

    For Hockey, joining the Big 10 would force us into their new hockey league and as far as I know, they are not expected to have a large TV presence for hockey outside of maybe the Big 10 network. Because we’re going to the ACC, Hockey is entering the powerhouse Hockey East conference and all of our home games will be on NBC networks which not only boosts our revenue, but also helps with recruiting and keeps the school visible in late winter/early spring months. Looking onto lacrosse, I am extremely confident that the loaded ACC will have far more televised games than Big 10 teams (I say teams because they don’t sponsor lacrosse). It is the same with both soccers that the ACC creates a far higher possibility for television appearances.

    Also, the Big 10 network’s value is overestimated since no one cares about the old games that consist of the majority of their programing. One game on a NBC or ESPN channel is worth more than 10 live appearances on Big 10 network since the most obscure NBC and ESPN channels have significantly more market penetration than Big 10 network.

    Sorry to write a blog post of my own but hopefully this can once and for all banish the weak arguments against the move to the ACC or that we are not maximizing our presence on TV.

    • trey

      You left out SC as part of your computation, but I see where you’re going. I really disagree that we wont see any powerful non-ACC matchups after 2014. You forget that we have Texas on for ’16-’18(?) and that Jack seems to be very eager to schedule huge name opponents. It seems like he realizes the value in playing every year in either Texas or Florida as well as Cali and the eastern seaboard. Personally, I love the strategy and selfishly want more than just the one game down this way. I’d love to see a renewed rivalry with the Aggies and maybe a few games against Texas Tech/Baylor.

      • Jason

        Actually, I think you misread his comment. He’s saying that we’ll only schedule *quality* non-ACC games, so we’ll be playing traditional powers like Texas, Texas A&M, Stanford, USC for our non-ACC games.

    • NDtex

      Damn, that is fantastic, well done.

      • Guest

        Thanks Tex that means a lot coming from you.

  • Ryan in Omaha

    If joining the B1G was as good for ND as the B1G pretends it would be, wouldn’t ND be begging to join and not the other way around?

  • http://johnlynchsdad.blogspot.com Moons

    Wischnowky’s article is a plea (beg) disguised in the form of an “argument.” I should know…I am a defense attorney. Pleas(begs) tend to be long, unsubstantiated, and unfocused. Arguments hit one or two big points and they harp on them. Wisch’s jumped from idea to idea (ND’s other programs might be orphaned for a year, the ACC is unstable, the B1G has a lot of money, ND must join a conference, ND will lose out with “super conferences” whatever that means, and “it just makes sense.”)

    Had he really had anything to say, it would have been accomplished in a more coherent fashion, but alas, no one forwarding the opinion “ND should join the B1G” actually has a good argument. So, plea (beg) it is….

  • Mitch in Michigan

    As a B1G fan, I couldn’t think of anything worse than having Notre Dame in the expanded conference. Go let them play in the Big 12 with Texas, and in a couple years just go back to the obscurity they enjoyed for the past quarter century.