Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/12/12

The Big Ten always sounded good in theory.

And there was a time and place where if the University of Notre Dame were to join a conference it would have been the Big Ten.

That time has come and gone. A long time ago.

When the Big East slowly began to disintegrate as a major conference, the ACC was the only really option for Notre Dame. It was also the best one.

The Big 12 made overtures similar to the one that landed Notre Dame for the ACC.

But the Big 12 would have NEVER worked for Mike Brey and the Notre Dame men's basketball team.

And though it's not the major consideration, it definitely played a part in this. Brey loved the Big East and did not want to give up his program's presence there.

Plus, Notre Dame would have always been second fiddle to Texas in the Big 12.

The ACC is not only the best move for Notre Dame football, it's the best move for Notre Dame period..

Don't misunderstand though. This was mostly about football.

The ACC provides the desired landing spot for Notre Dame for a variety of reasons. First of all it provides Notre Dame a recruiting base in along the eastern seaboard and the entire southeast part of the country. This is crucial when it comes to recruiting.

The last six BCS winners have come out of the SEC. And at least for the time being the Big Ten is no match for the SEC. THE ACC isn't either, but it provides a better landscape for Notre Dame to become a national contender again.

Be honest. Who is more likely to break the SEC grip when it comes to football superiority. Ohio State and Michigan? Perhaps. It certainly seems more viable with Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke in charge. Or will it be a suddenly revamped Florida State and Miami with Al Golden in charge?

The point is debatable but what's not debatable is where the best players are. The most fertile recruiting ground in the country is in the South. Brian Kelly has already started to make hay recruiting in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. Playing five ACC opponents every season only enhances the recruiting effort. 

Think about it. Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has committed to five games a year for his football team against ACC opponents in exchange for football independence. Nearly half the schedule.

That sounds like a lot until you consider they already play Miami, Boston College, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh this season.

So they keep natural rivalries with teams the they play every year anyway in Pitt and BC. When you factor in Notre Dame's renewed relationship with the Hurricanes and you're nearly to the five games you've committed to. 

Now throw in a trip to California every year to play Stanford or USC and the Irish have guaranteed themselves a national schedule, a more defined national presence and a better recruiting base.

This would have never happened had the Big East not come crumbling down. One by one teams like Miami, BC, Syracuse and Pitt among others have vacated the once proud basketball conference.

So when it became inevitable that the Big East was no longer viable for the rest of Notre Dame sports it was time to move on.

And as much sense as the Big Ten used to make, it doesn't anymore. Notre Dame considers itself and eastern school didn't want to be confined to the Big Ten conference. As an institution of higher learning or as an athletic program.

That feeling seems to go both ways. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney has not hidden his ambivalence towards Notre Dame in recent years. Put bluntly, these two didn't want each other. The Big Ten was long ago fed up with Notre Dame's perceived arrogance.

And Notre Dame had gradually decided in the last few years that their ambitions had outgrown the geography of the Big Ten.

Plus the Big Ten would never give in to Notre Dame staying independent as a football program. The ACC did. Irish fans should be smiling.

 



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