Conference Realignment: Notre Dame Football Schedule Could Be in Limbo

Randy ChambersAnalyst ISeptember 20, 2011

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head Coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leaves the field after playing the Michigan State Spartans September 17, 2011at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 31-13. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
John Gress/Getty Images

If you've been living under a rock for the last month or so, you probably don't know that college football is going through an extreme makeover. Every team doesn't like their current conference anymore and wants out. It's a big mess and it doesn't look like it will end anytime soon.

There is one team that doesn't want to be involved in switching homes and that is Notre Dame. The Irish are happy with being an independent and if they have any say about it, that's the way it will stay.

Notre Dame already makes millions of dollars with their television deal with NBC. They make millions of dollars if they make a BCS bowl game and still make a pretty penny if they don't. They don't have to split the money with other teams within their conference because there aren't any.

They also don't have to join a conference just because it's the popular thing to do to gain exposure. Notre Dame will always remain Notre Dame, no matter what conference they're in or no matter how bad of a season they're having. The Irish are like the Yankees or Cowboys; we will talk about them regardless because they are just that big.

There is one thing that may force Notre Dame to join a conference rather than stay independent.

And that's if the Irish decide to be stubborn and stay where they are, they could end up with nobody to play.

The Big Ten just announced that since they're expanding. They will play a nine-game conference schedule starting in 2017. That leaves only a few possible openings for the Irish to schedule teams from that conference.

The Big East is another conference that Notre Dame likes to schedule games with. Well, guess what? From the looks of it, the Big East is going to collapse like a house of cards. Pittsburgh and Syracuse have already bolted, and UConn and Rutgers are trying to follow suit.

The Pac-12 is looking to expand to 16 teams, so you can bet that pretty soon they will do the same as the Big Ten and schedule more conference games. If Notre Dame is lucky, it'll be able to schedule the rivalry with USC but that's about it.

Notre Dame often has one of the top recruiting classes in the country, and a lot of it has to do with the schedule they get to play. Good luck trying to get top recruits when you're playing a Boise State-type schedule.

If you're a top recruit in the country, you're going to want to play top competition and big schools. If Notre Dame doesn't join a conference, they won't have that to offer to these kids.

The history and tradition of the school only does so much.

It's time for Notre Dame to give a little bit of that up and make the move.


Randy Chambers is a B/R Featured Columnist that covers College Football and the NFL. You can contact him @Randy_Chambers or