What does Notre Dame joining the ACC mean for Big East football?
The initial news was certainly a shock. And people predicting the end of Big East football are already accepting bows. But it’s a little premature to count out Big East football, at least for now.
Sure, Notre Dame’s basketball programs (men and women) have both thrived. And losing both will hurt the conference’s basketball product. But the Fighting Irish didn’t play football in the Big East. In fact, the only Big East school Notre Dame is scheduled to play this season is Pittsburgh. So Notre Dame bolting for the ACC doesn’t really do any damage to Big East football. That damage was done when Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia decided to bid the conference adieu.
Notre Dame taking its basketball product to the ACC couldn’t have been good news for schools like Rutgers, Louisville, Cincinnati and Connecticut, which also have FBS football programs. Reports have surfaced over the last couple of years that Rutgers, Louisville and Connecticut have all had contact with other conferences or have contemplated moving.
But even if all of the aforementioned Big East schools have decided they want to leave, where are they going? Rutgers leaving for the Big Ten, a hot item a couple of years ago, hasn’t come to fruition. Penn State’s dubious situation could change that line of thinking in the future, but that’s only speculation.
Boston College has blocked Connecticut’s move the ACC for several years and might continue to do so. And it’s not known if the Big Ten has any interest in adding Connecticut. Chances are Connecticut would make the move if the Big Ten came calling. But again, that’s merely speculation.
Louisville reportedly doesn’t meet the Big Ten’s academic criteria, while Cincinnati doesn’t appear to fit in the Big Ten mold on or off the field.
So Big East football is safe. For now.