As it turns out, the Big 12 may not be the best fit for independent Notre Dame. The better fit? The Atlantic Coast Conference.
However, the two coming together has nothing to do with conference realignment. Instead, it has everything to do with the future of the Orange Bowl.
With the ACC recently reaching a 12-year agreement with the Orange Bowl, the question has remained as to who would partner with the conference. It can officially be confirmed that Notre Dame has been in talks with the ACC over the league's anchor bowl game, per the Chicago Tribune.
"Since the development of the new plan for post-season football, the ACC and Notre Dame have had discussions relating to the Orange Bowl," spokesman John Heisler said Monday to the Chicago Tribune. "While presidents have been consulted, the discussions have been between ACC conference staff and Jack [Swarbrick]."
This is excellent news for the Fighting Irish, who have been on the hunt for a suitable partner in the new postseason landscape, as the Orlando Sentinel put it. The Orlando Sentinel also discussed what it would take for Notre Dame to make the deal with the ACC work.
"Notre Dame will most likely have to reach certain qualifications including number of wins as well as where they rank in the top 25. If the school fails to reach those qualifications, I imagine that an at-large team would fill the spot during those seasons," said Matt Murschel.
With Notre Dame's move towards joining the ACC in its tie-in with the Orange Bowl, the Big East is once again being put in a unideal position. Without a AQ, the Big East is on the outside looking in. This could ultimately give Notre Dame the push to move its Olympic Sports out of the Big East elsewhere. However, it would be safe to say the Irish would move to the ACC, not the Big 12 with the pending Orange Bowl agreement.
A move to the ACC for Notre Dame's Olympic sports wouldn't be a bad move either. The ACC is a strong conference, something Notre Dame is looking for, and it would offer more stability than the Big East. All around, from moving Olympic sports to the Orange Bowl pairing, Notre Dame cannot go wrong joining forces with the ACC.
It may all just be talk for now, but Notre Dame is working towards finding a new home within the new college football postseason. Where will the Fighting Irish ultimately land?
It looks like everything might just be coming up oranges.