The time is right for Notre Dame to give up its independence and head to the Big Ten
Now that Texas A&M has officially been accepted into the SEC, the college football realignment talk is starting to hit a fevered pitch, and as you would expect, rumors are starting to swirl around the Internet, linking different teams to different conferences.
The latest hot topic is the possibility that both Notre Dame and Texas could be looking to join the Big Ten.
As of now, there are no official reports to substantiate the claim, but it is certainly an interesting nugget to digest.
With the Big 12 likely on the verge of implosion, we know that Texas will probably be looking for a new home and it’s quite possible that the Longhorns could follow old conference counterpart Nebraska to the Big Ten, instead of heading out west to join Oklahoma, who is rumored to be making a move to the Pac-12.
I personally think Texas would be a great fit for the Big Ten Conference, and it would be a much better option for them than the Pac-12, but what about Notre Dame, the king of the independents?
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly made it clear when he first took the job last year that he believes the best option for his team is to stay an independent.
"From my standpoint, being the head football coach at Notre Dame, there's nothing better than being an independent football school."
“Let me tell you one thing, the history, the tradition of Notre Dame football is steeped in that independence."
However, in these times of chaotic conference realignment, it may be time for coach Kelly to reevaluate that stance.
It looks more and more likely that college football is headed to a superconference structure at some point in the near future and being an independent team in that kind of environment just sounds like trouble.
That’s why it would make sense for the Irish to join a conference, and the Big Ten is exactly the right place for them.
Geographically, it’s a great fit, much better than the Big East, the conference that all the school’s other athletic teams compete in.
It’s also a conference with a strong academic foundation, something that should be appealing to Notre Dame board members.
Having established marquee names like Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State, along with an up-and-coming powerhouse program such as Wisconsin, helps to give the conference instant credibility, and Notre Dame should be intrigued to join that type of strong competition.
Independence has its perks, especially when it comes to revenue, but in the rapidly changing climate of college football, a team like Notre Dame has to start thinking about sacrificing a little short-term gain for long-term stability.
So, should the Irish give up their independent status once and for all and join the Big Ten conference?
Yes, I thought they should have last year when all those talks were going on and I still hold that same belief.
If the Pac-12 does indeed become a superconference by snagging Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, it would be in the Big Ten’s best interests to invite a nationally recognizable name like Notre Dame in order to keep up in college football’s new arms race.