Soon, it will be football season again in South Bend. A year like any other – the Irish will again be over hyped, over glorified and fail to live up to unrealistic expectations.
The Irish have many reasons to cling onto independence in an era where the independent football team is forgotten and backwards as the cavemen. To survive in new environments, Notre Dame has received several advantages that put it above the competition.
The Irish rake in 10 million yearly from CBS for rights to their football games. This is on par with many BCS teams. For example, Florida recently received the same amount for their secondary sports package from Fox Sports Sun .
Due to the national fan base and the media circus that follows the Irish everywhere, any 9-win Notre Dame team is pretty much guaranteed to qualify for a BCS bowl. Notre Dame gets a 4.5 million dollar BCS half-share every time it reaches the BCS. Plus, the program receives a cool million just for showing up!
The Irish are a dominant force in one of the biggest markets in the United States for three months of the year. Chicago is home to 10 million people. Notre Dame also has many followers in the 20 million New York City metro area, which doesn’t have a dominant college football team.
The beneficiary of this mad rush is not the Big Ten or Notre Dame, but the Big East. Publicity from the Irish’s football success or failure will eventually come around to their home conference, the Big East.
Notre Dame gives the Big East a spot in the hearts of Notre Dame Followers worldwide Instead of being seen as an independent football program, the Irish are seen as a Big East affiliate that happens to play independent football.
If the Irish were to join a conference, be it the Big East or the Big Ten, they would be unable to play traditional rivals. Also, Notre Dame would be unable to butter up their win totals with foes like Navy or San Diego State.
The golden domers would have to finish first in their conference, or miss out on the BCS. No longer would a nine-win Notre Dame be a lock for a prestigious bowl.
Notre Dame would instead have 8 or 9 conference games with annual matches against teams like Southern Cal, Michigan and Michigan State. This schedule on steroids would serve as a season-long death sentence for any program.
Once again, Notre Dame would have one of the toughest schedules in the nation every season.
Slowly, Notre Dame Football would fade into mediocrity. The once-proud program would be subjected to third-place finishes and multiple 6-6 seasons.
The Big East doesn’t benefit from Notre Dame’s suffering. If the Irish were to decline in football prowess, the Big East is the party with its chips on the table.
The Big East already lags behind several other conferences when it comes to the size of their fan bases and TV contracts. Losing Notre Dame would be a major blow to the Big East’s fan base. If the Irish are to decline in national prowess, the Big East would take a hit, too.
Plus, it’s not like the Irish have done nothing to help the Big East football wise.
The Big East and Notre Dame have a perfect marriage. Notre Dame can continue its football prominence and national schedule. The Big East can gain exposure through the huge Notre Dame fan base and international footprint along with reaping the benefits of Notre Dame’s solid non-revenue sports programs.
It’s a win-win no matter which way you look at it.