Tim Brando of Fox Sports has reported that Notre Dame is having conversations about joining the Atlantic Coast Conference for football. Already a member in all other sports, the Fighting Irish would become the 15th full-time member if this were to happen.
Should the ACC be looking for a 16th, surely the University of Connecticut would be a leading candidate.
The conference has already announced plans to launch a television network in 2019, a move which seems to be a necessity to keep up with the NCAA’s other major conferences. Currently, the Big 10, Pac-12, and SEC have their own networks and are slated to rake in massive revenue gains as a result.
In a world where cable network revenues are declining, live sports has emerged as the some of the most commercially viable programming out there because of its DVR-proof nature. ESPN’s highly-publicized financial woes shouldn’t affect the ACC network’s development.
With a rabid, regionally relevant fan base and multiple successful, high-profile athletic programs, UConn would provide a full slate of programming assets across the academic year guaranteed to draw great ratings and keep subscribers from the highly-coveted New York City market through the #30 Hartford-New Haven DMA and into Boston.
Along with its excellent academic reputation, our fairest white and blue would appear to be the snuggest fit of any school available if the ACC looks to the “Group of 5” to even things out after adding Notre Dame. The ACC may even see UConn’s greatest weakness in the realignment beauty pageant, tackle football, as less of a factor given the new variables involved.
As Husky fans know all too well, however, it is never this cut and dry. First of all, nothing may come of these reports. But even if Notre Dame does join in full, UConn is hardly a shoe-in.
UConn may have the best résumé, but will also have opposition from within the ACC. Remember, and never forget, they wanted UConn instead of Pittsburgh but BC was able to successfully block the move by campaigning the conference’s football powers against it. The leadership at BC did it to protect their regional turf.
This time around, Syracuse and Pittsburgh may feel the same way and for all we know Duke or UNC may be hesitant to throw a lifeline to a potential hoops powerhouse. Additionally, the ACC could snag a 16th member from elsewhere in the “power five,” such as an Oklahoma or Texas from the vulnerable Big 12.
It is still so very early, but these are not the tweet thread ramblings of anonymous, oddly-named Twitter accounts. Notre Dame wants better access to the College Football Playoff and joining the ACC accomplishes that. The money may even be a secondary issue, believe it or not.
Brando also added that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly (18-minute mark) is in favor of conference affiliation.