We know what you are, we’re just haggling over the fee.

It’s tempting to read too much into yesterday’s news that radical conference expansion/realignment might force Notre Dame’s hand, primarily because it’s not clear that such a level of change is about to happen.  If all that happens in the near future is that the Big Ten does in fact pull the trigger and add one team to its membership, is that really enough to make the Irish give up their vaunted independence?

On the other hand, if things do start getting crazy, Notre Dame doesn’t want to be the loser in a high stakes game of musical chairs.

Staying with the Big East could be a concern as the other leagues possibly take teams for their expansion.

“What if realignment impacted the shape of the BCS?” he said. “Also, the Big East has been a great home for us [in other sports], but if there are fundamental changes to the Big East as a result of realignment, what does that do? What if a few conferences further distinguish themselves from the field? What are the competitive ramifications of that?

In the end, Swarbrick is signaling that Notre Dame can be bought for the right price under certain conditions, admittedly a somewhat startling admission.  Call it Charlie Weis’ final legacy.

It’s just that nobody’s offered enough – yet.

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16 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

16 responses to “We know what you are, we’re just haggling over the fee.

  1. Tom

    You know what would be the best thing for ND keeping their lofty (yet falling) status in college football?

    Winning.

  2. Macallanlover

    I respect ND’s past contributions to CFB lore, you just have to, but they are rapidly becoming irrelevant. They need to consider joining a conference, either the Big 11 or Big East logically, because if the BCS deal is ever restructured they are no longer “so big they cannot be allowed to fail” to use a current political term. The special consideration may have been warranted in the mid 1990s, but when you remove the religious weight they represent, what is left?

    I lived in the northeast for two years and am well aware of the base of viewers they still have, but those are not serious CFB fans, just staggering population numbers so large that a small percentage can accidentally provide significant Neilson ratings. I would like to see what the viewer ship of NBC’s ND football telecast gets when you remove Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and the states of New York, New Jersey, and Conn. Yes, I know that is a huge chunk of the population, but they are all wearing NFL jerseys as their primary wardrobe item and most do not follow CFB closely enough to even know ND has not won a single meaningful game this century! How long can it be before even those fly-by fans tune them out to watch Jersey Shore reality shows? Unfortunately, the WWL is headquartered in that geography so we continue to see the Irish get so overrated that Granny can pick them to win it all and still keep his job.

  3. The Realist

    Notre Dame’s independence is a large hindrance to any momentum toward a playoff… so playoff advocates should be clamoring for ND to join a conference.

    Being a believer in preemptive strikes, I think the SEC should make a pitch to nab Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. Add them to the SEC West, move Auburn to the East, and add someone like Louisville or Florida State or Miami to the East.

    Imagine LSU, Texas, Alabama, & Oklahoma existing in the same division. And Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, and Auburn in the other division. ESPN would soil themselves if that happened.

    • Phocion

      Spliting Alabama and Auburn is unlikely…after all, by including a much. much weaker Texas A&M and sending Auburn to the East in your scenario you are giving more respect to that rivalry than one of the biggest in the SEC/country.

      • Phocion

        You might have an easier time realigning such a conference into North and South along the I-20.

        But that would split Florida and Georgia…and Ole Miss and MSU. Simple enough to trade one set for another. Florida to the North with Oklahoma and Ole Miss to the South with Texas.

        14 team conference –
        North: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, SoCar., Georgia, and Florida.

        South: Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, MSU

        18 team conference:

        North: Vandy and VT

        South: FSU and Miami

      • The Realist

        Alabama & Auburn could still play every year. They just wouldn’t be in the same division… kinda like how Georgia & Auburn play every year.

        • Phocion

          You think Alabama is going to be okay with BOTH of their traditional rivals being in the other division?

          Remember, Georgia keeps the Auburn each year because it is their permanentEast/West game.

          That wouldn’t work for Alabama if Tennessee and Auburn are both in the East. One of those rivalry games would get demoted to the rotating basis.

          Do it as I proposed andthe permanent cross divisional rivalies are as follows:

          Alabama – Tennessee
          Auburn – Georgia
          LSU – Florida
          Ole Miss – SoCar.
          MSU – Kentucky
          Texas – Oklahoma
          Texas A&M – Arkansas (thus reinstating an old SWC match-up)

        • NCT

          After Arkansas and South Carolina were added, I became a little numbed to disruptions in tradition, but I’d help organize a major noisy protest if the conference messes with Auburn-Georgia, Alabama-Auburn, Alabama-Tennessee. Preservation of those three series as annual games is more important than any benefit that might be gained from conference expansion/realignment.

  4. Phocion

    “I respect ND’s past contributions to CFB lore, you just have to, but they are rapidly becoming irrelevant.”

    Give me a break. Go back and look at USC in the 80′s and 90′s and you could have said the same thing. And then USC hired some guy that didn’t fare so well in the NFL and things turned around.

    Same could be said for Alabama and their recent decade in the wilderness.

    Let’s not throw dirt on ND’s grave just yet.

    ” I would like to see what the viewer ship of NBC’s ND football telecast gets when you remove Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and the states of New York, New Jersey, and Conn.”

    And just what tv numbers do you think a Florida, Georgia, or Alabama gets in that part of the country?

    The BigTen adding another team won’t phase Notre Dame. Right now it is the TV money that matters. And, even though their aren’t what they used to be in CFB, NBC has nothing else to offer since ABC/ESPN/CBS has the meaningful leagues already wrapped up with contracts. When ND’s contract is up NBC can try to pay them less but ND will have a trump card in those negotiations…without ND, NBC will have nothing to offer on Saturday’s in the fall.

    Only ‘Super-Conference’-type realignment will put ND in jeopardy…and there will be no way they get left out of such a realignment.

    • Normaltown Mike

      I think you’re missing a valuable point on ND, to wit: they don’t attract enough warm weather athletes, specifically black players from the South, Texas or So Cal.

      Because of climate and desegregation, USC, Texas and big deep South schools have a distinct advantage over the rest of the country. If you disagree, go count the number of NC’s by warm weather teams since 1970 (when integration began in the deep south). Its not a fluke. HS athletes from Texas, Florida and SoCal (as a group, I know exceptions exist) are eons ahead of cold climate kids when they arrive on campus.

      If you accept that fact, you have to ask: “Can ND start to attract these kids with consistency?” . I’ll answer that with a question: How many Baptists kids from Flea Hop, Alabama named Demarcus Mayweather enroll in ND each year? Not many. If you’re Demarcus, would you rather go to Bama or ND?

      • Dog in Fla

        And if what Bleacher Report says is true and it must be because they are now part of Hearst Communications, apparently it’s harder to get accepted at Notre Dame despite the horrible winter weather if you believe what the Domers have always said:

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/296044-notre-dames-next-coach-will-demand-lower-academic-standards

      • Phocion

        This may be an incomplete list because I am just going off the top of my head but…

        Northern Teams to win NC’s since the 1970:

        Washington, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Colorado, BYU, and Pittsburgh.

        And Tennessee and Oklahoma aren’t exactly “warm weather” places.

        By Comparisson, the Southern Teams with Titles:

        Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Clemson, Texas, and USC

        Looks like you got yourself 9 Northern teams and 9 Southern teams with 2 in the middle.

    • Dog in Fla

      “And just what tv numbers do you think a Florida, Georgia, or Alabama gets in that part of the country?”

      I was trying to find that but couldn’t. These with no geographical breakdowns were the closest I could find so I quit.

      http://blog.taragana.com/e/2009/12/11/television-ratings-grow-for-college-football-especially-for-sec-69068/

      http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/media_entertainment/sports-wrap-ncaa-football-season-review-heisman-preview/

      • Normaltown Mike

        I’ve heard Cowherd say that SEC schools don’t do that well outside the south (obviously excepting the NC). This may explain ESPN’s obsession with broadcasting the Ol Ball Coach who has so much national recognition.

    • Macallanlover

      Bama and USC’s “droughts” were neither as long lasting, nor severe as what ND’s is. They are not competitive with any big school, and their bowl history when they get away from their patsies is much more pathetic.

      My point about national interest is no one watches ND games outside that area when they aren’t playing Michigan or USC. College football fans everywhere watch Ga/Fla, Bama/Auburn, LSU/Fla, Ohio State/Michigan, Texas/OU, Miami/FSU, etc. If passionate college football fans don’t choose to watch you, you are becoming irrelevant. I watch as many CFB games as I can possible squeeze in, including every Thursday night game and late night games from the West Coast, but I haven’t watched ND regular season more than twice in the past several years, there are lways better options. If I am one the West Coast, some of the featured TVs are always on major national matchups but ND’s non PAC10 is relegated to the small TVs or not on at all.

      No one is throwing dirt on ND yet, but their leverage and bargaining power is declining. It would be possible to see a new contract that did not have the special ND provision in it, and that was the point.

  5. Ausdawg85

    ..and let’s not overlook one of the best uses of a phrase evah for a headline. Nice work, Senator!