Conference Realignment: Addressing the Issue of Notre Dame

How Much Longer Will Notre Dame Be Held Up By College Football’s Power Conferences?

With the college football playoff off the agenda, we now return to our typical offseason programming: conference realignment. But of course, the playoff and realignment are sort of related now, aren’t they? Especially when it comes to the fate of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, college sports’ most valuable property in many opinions. As such a property, no one was all that surprised when the school’s athletic director, John Swarbrick, was in attendance at the playoff meetings while other independents (such as “Notre Dame of the West,” BYU) were not invited to the proceedings at all. But how much longer will that be the case?

Under the old BCS system, Notre Dame would receive $4.5 million in payouts whenever it made it to one of the big-money bowls (which it did three times in 14 seasons) and $1.3 million in seasons it wasn’t good enough to qualify. The team also got preferential treatment compared to the other teams: an automatic bid if it finished among the top eight in the rankings. There’s no word yet on how much the school will make in the new playoff format, but obviously, their chances of participation in this event have diminished considerably versus the BCS. While on the other hand, it would appear their chances at a big-money bowl just went up. Since 1998 (the first year of the BCS), the school never finished the regular season higher than ninth, and would have been ineligible for a BCS game in all but two seasons (2000 and 2005). In the new system though, there would be no qualifications for a big money bowl, meaning as long as the Irish went at least 9-3, they’d probably still get an invite. Sounds like a good deal on paper, right? Continue reading

College Football Playoffs Are Finally Here!

With a College Football Playoff, Fans Have Scored the Biggest Victory of All

Somehow, THIS happened yesterday. From years of moaning and complaining, to best-seller “Death to the BCS,” and an all-SEC title game — suddenly, everyone in charge came to their senses. All 11 conference commissioners, plus Notre Dame‘s John Swarbrick, got in a room together and actually (for once) listened to the fans of their game. We wanted a playoff. Well, we finally got one… or at least, the beginnings of the one we’d really prefer.

Believe me, I’m not going to be an ingrate about this. I understand that it’s taken well over 100 years for the sport to adopt the same system of determining a champ that literally every other athletic organization in the world has used since day one. But, I can’t deny how much I’m holding out hope for bracket creep, and the eventual growth of the tournament out to at least six or eight teams. I’ve always been of the mindset that asks, “What’s better than one of the things you really like? Two of the things you really like,” so it’s only natural that I (along with most college football fans) would want to watch even more nerve-wracking, late-season football. Continue reading