ESPN broke the news yesterday that Notre Dame is joining the Atlantic Coast Conference for all sports except for football starting next year. That got some here in the Midwest gnashing their teeth and wailing because the Golden Domers have rejected the Big Ten yet again. "Why won't Notre Dame play with the Big Ten?" they ask. "The rivalries are already established, it would be a perfect fit!" declare others. But as far as I'm concerned, Notre Dame could never play another game against a Big Ten team and I wouldn't care a lick.
It is time for those of us over the age of 30 to accept the fact that Notre Dame (once referred to as the University of College Football in America) is next to meaningless in the world of sports now. Sure, they have their own TV contract--but that's only due to an amazing sales job by university officials, and desperation by NBC to have some football presence back when it was shut out of the NFL. When was the last time a Notre Dame game was "appointment viewing" for even the most die-hard college pigskin fan?
I mentioned the age of 30 before because anyone under that age will wonder what's the big deal about Notre Dame football? Those fans have never seen Touchdown Jesus celebrate a national championship--or anything more than 2 BCS bowl games. Notre Dame is nothing more than the school that is always ranked in the top 10 or 15--and then loses early to fall out of the rankings for the rest of the season.
Long gone are the days when every Catholic High School Football star was destined to head to South Bend. And the chances that the best prep players in Florida, Texas and California are going to Indiana to play in the cold at a religious university with higher academic standards is even less likely in today's recruiting atmosphere. Plus, as far as every other sport is concerned, Women's basketball has made title runs in recent years--but there are no other Notre Dame powerhouses to boost a conference's profile. So let the Fighting Irish play Duke in hoops twice a year. Believe me, there are no winners in that game.
Would it be nice to watch the Badgers pound the Irish into the turf every year? You bet. But my brother-in-law went to Brigham Young--and Wisconsin just added them to the schedule for the next two seasons--so I can get my secular ground and pound bragging rights that way.