ACC Commissioner John Swofford Calls Notre Dame CFB Schedule Deal a 'Win-Win'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2020

A Notre Dame helmet sits on the sideline during the NCAA Cotton Bowl semi-final playoff football game against Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Roger Steinman/Associated Press

ACC commissioner John Swofford said allowing Notre Dame to be part of the ACC for the 2020 college football season is a "win-win" on Friday. 

According to ESPN's Andrea Adelson, Swofford said the following regarding the decision:

"This simply—as it has been with other aspects of the ACC-Notre Dame relationship—is a win-win. We're in a difficult situation, all of us in this country and in sports, and in the ACC we're trying to find the best path. We've said over and over again, we're in it together. It was the best thing for the ACC, it was the best thing for Notre Dame, and that makes it pretty easy when you know that."

The ACC followed in the footsteps of other Power 5 conferences by announcing that it will primarily play a conference-only schedule in 2020 to cut down on travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Officially, the ACC will play a 10-plus-1 schedule, meaning each team will play 10 conference games and one non-conference game. Notre Dame, which is an FBS independent, will play the same schedule and be eligible to play in the ACC Championship Game should it earn a spot.

Swofford called the arrangement a "one-off for this year" and noted that it was an easy deal to finalize:

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"It was not hard for us to come to an agreement on that in terms of the television money. It was not hard for us to come to an agreement that if they were coming in, they were bringing their NBC games, they would play the same number of games as everybody else in the league, then they would be eligible to play in the ACC football championship game as well as the Orange Bowl, if they turned out to be our representative in the Orange Bowl ... and obviously the College Football Playoff."

Notre Dame is already a member of the ACC in all sports besides football and men's hockey, so it was a natural fit for the Fighting Irish to be welcomed in this season for football in an effort to give one of the biggest brands in college football a chance to compete for a spot in the CFP after many conferences have eliminated most of their nonconference games.

The Irish are coming off an 11-2 season that ended with a win over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl. They have won 10 or more games in three straight seasons and four times in the past five years, including a trip to the CFP in 2018.

Clemson has dominated the ACC in recent years, winning the ACC Championship Game in each of the past five seasons, but Notre Dame arguably becomes one of the biggest threats to interrupt the Tigers' string of success.

Last season, no ACC team won double-digit games aside from Clemson. The Virginia Cavaliers had the second-best record among ACC teams at 9-5.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in multiple Power 5 conferences pushing back the start of the season and most have gone to conference-only or conference-plus-one schedules, both of which should help to cut down travel and potentially limit possible exposure to the coronavirus.