Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Golddomedammerung: Notre Dame picks tradition over Big 10

The Big 10 hasn't even decided yet on whether to expand to twelve (or maybe even 14 teams) and Notre Dame is already turning the conference down. Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick has already put the kibosh on the notion. His reasoning: tradition.

"Our strong preference is to remain the way we are," Swarbrick told the Tribune. "Independence is a big part of the tradition of the program and our identity. We'd sure like to try to maintain it."

Translation: Notre Dame likes living in the past, and believes it can continue to do so.

"All of this has a lot more to do with our priorities than it does with business issues," he said. "Our independence is tied up in a lot of the rivalries we have. We play Navy every year and have the tradition of USC weekends. Frankly, it works pretty well to play USC in October at home and in November at their place."

Being in the Big 10 would stop Notre Dame from playing USC. Bull hockey. Being in the SEC doesn't stop Florida from playing rival Florida State (an ACC school) every year. The same goes for SEC school Georgia playing rival ACC school Georgia Tech. Besides, being a Pac-10 school hasn't stopped USC from playing Notre Dame, has it now?

There's enough room in a twelve game schedule for Notre Dame to play USC and Navy. If the Big 10 split the conference into two divisions, ND would face five teams in its division, and at most three or four teams from the opposite division. That's at most eight or nine Big 10 opponents every year. There's enough space left for USC, Navy, and one or two additional schools on the schedule.
Putting ND in the theoretical SWRT Big-10 East a possible Notre Dame schedule might look like this:

Michigan Michigan St. Ohio St. Penn St. Indiana
Wisconsin Purdue Northwestern
non-division opponent x
non-division opponent y

(theoretical east in bold, theoretical west in italic, non Big 10 normal)

So it is possible for Notre Dame to maintain it's traditional USC and Navy rivalries in the Big 10, and still have room for a couple of snuff games. Congrats, Swarbrick. You've been pwned.

(via The Chicago Tribune)

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