In a season that was beginning to get a little bit dicey, it is fair to say that Notre Dame football owes a small debt of gratitude toward the ACC.
Come on, and sing it in unison, “Independence is dead! Long live the ACC!”
Ok, that might be a little bit over dramatic. Admitted. Still, I think we can all agree that the ACC deserves a firm handshake and maybe even a ‘thank you’ card for letting Notre Dame tag along for the pandemic shortened season. After all, we may not like to admit it, but things were starting to get dicey.
Two of Notre Dame’s best rivalry games were lost in USC and Stanford. Meanwhile, the showcase game against Wisconsin was already gone. Now, as rumors swirl that the SEC is headed to a conference only schedule, the Irish would be down to eight opponents — aslong as the ACC counted them as a conference opponent. Otherwise, the schedule would be light — Navy and Western Michigan light.
Without the ACC, Notre Dame would have had to get creative, with ideas as strange as playing UMass multiple times being thrown around.
So, at least consider one, “All Hail the ACC!” You don’t have to say it loud, or proud. You can even say it was only a joke, or that you’ve matured a lot since saying that. Maybe you were taken out of context.
No matter what, Notre Dame owes the ACC one, and no one can deny that.
Put aside arguments about how Notre Dame deserves a bigger chunk of the ACC’s money. The truth is, the ACC didn’t have to help Notre Dame. They could have left the Irish out to dry, and no one would have blamed them. They could have tried to strong arm Notre Dame into joining permanently. They’re not. Instead, they’re still sending Clemson (among others) to South Bend. They’re giving Notre Dame a chance to win a conference championship, while being Independent.
That’s not nothing. It’s not enough to give up Independence, but it’s worth something. We all know Notre Dame pays back those who do the program and university favors. Just look at the Navy rivalry.
So, what favor will the ACC end up asking? That’s truly the question of the hour, because we know Notre Dame feels they owe the conference one now.
Maybe the ACC will settle for Notre Dame fans telling them how great their conference is, and how, if we really had to, theirs would be the conference we’d join.