There was one topic that filled the mailbag this week: The Irish. Here we go ...
Jon in Charlottesville, Va., writes: Do you see the ACC getting a better bowl line up with Notre Dame in the mix? Have to imagine bowls like the attendence/ratings Notre Dame brings, but it didn't seem to help the Big East much.
HD: Well, Notre Dame will definitely benefit from it because it's coming into a better bowl lineup than what it had in the Big East. The potential for a better ACC lineup has greatly increased because of Notre Dame's presence, combined with some of the relationships that are already there. It's not just the addition of Notre Dame, though. With the playoff and contract bowls, the potential for an elevation across the board exists.
Jim Colman FSU 78 in Elkhart, Ind., writes: Hi Heather;Trying to get excited about Notre Dame and the ACC, but I have a question regarding the bowl affiliation. I think I understand that ND will not play for the conference championship or get the automatic assignment to a BCS bowl game but, what happens if a 7-5 ND is invited over a 8-4 NC State to a bowl game because the bowl committee decides that ND is a better draw? Will the ACC lose the revenue all to ND? What happens when ND elbows a full time football team completely out of the bowl lineup? Thanks for your input.Jim
HD: If they are competing in the ACC bowl lineup, those dollars still go to the ACC. Notre Dame would share in that part of the revenue. It would be 1/15th of the bowl revenue for anything other than non-BCS bowls.
Howard Corbett in Anderson, S.C., writes: Heather,How is the revenue shared should ND fall below BCS bowl status and, in fact, bumps another ACC team? Do they share equally ( 1/15th) or does ND keep all their share?
HD: Yep, 1/15th for all non-BCS bowls.
Chris in Roanoke, Va., writes: Hey Heather, with all this excitement about Notre Dame joining the ACC except football, why are they bringing up talk about a 16th member? if I understand correctly, since they are technically not part of the conference in football, that means that they are not eligible for the ACC Championship right? so there would be no need for a 16th member untill their contract ends to see if they join fully right?
HD: Let me have John Swofford answer that for you:
"There is no need to add a 16th team to the league, and there's no intention of doing so," Swofford told reporters this week. "In fact, from a practical standpoint, it really is illogical.
"And by that I mean we'll be 15 members. In basketball we'll have a 15-team playing lineup. We're not in divisions in basketball. In football we'll be 14, with two even divisions. Obviously if we brought a 16th member in, then that causes an imbalance in our football divisions. So we will be a 15-team league."
The Clemson Tiger in Clemson, S.C., writes: HD, question regarding Notre Dame and it's new deal with the ACC, particularly football. How will the 5 ACC games per year rotate (if at all)? My question pertains to three schools: Clemson, FSU and GT. If the conference stays at it's proposed 9-game conference schedule and those three schools play their in-state rivals (SCar, Florida and UGA, respectively), will they also have to face ND, making 11 games out of the 12 set in stone? Doesn't seem fair to those three in any given year that they will have that extra game with ND while other teams get to schedule the Savannah States of the world. Of course, there have already been rumors that the ACC may scrap the 9-game schedule and go back to 8 games, which would seem to be better. What have you heard, or what's your take? Will ND rotate ACC teams or will there be a set (ie-BC, Pitt, Cuse, etc.) that they will play yearly?
HD: Again, John Swofford addressed this issue on Wednesday:
"Well, I think the schools in our league that have a rival such as Clemson has South Carolina and a few others in our league that are outside the conference that they play every year, it is a little more of a challenge," Swofford said. "But I also think that those schools are very excited about the opportunity to play Notre Dame in addition to those rivalry games at least once every three-year period, once we get started with the rotation.
I think also when you consider the BCS going forward and how strength of schedule is going to be evaluated and monitored, this arrangement is good for our teams as well, and I think it will be good for Notre Dame because that will be more of a factor in a team's ability to get into the semifinals.
Q. John, to follow up on that question, would the ACC since you're renegotiating your contract with ESPN, do you go back and revisit that nine-game conference schedule?
JS: Well, we may. That's really up to the athletic directors, and if they want to revisit it. If enough of them want to revisit it, it will be revisited. I don't say that to suggest that it's likely that we would go from nine back to eight. But if the ADs want to rethink that and retalk about it, that certainly could happen.
David on the USS Kentucky in Bremerton, Wash., writes: HD,technical question you may have to forward: How will it be treated if an ineligible team ties for a division chamionship, e.g., UNC, GT, and VT all end up 6-2 in the league? Would UNC be a part of the tiebraker process, or would it be treated like a two way tie between VT-GT?
HD: Yes, all of North Carolina's games count, and are a factor in the race, they just can't play in the postseason. North Carolina could very well have the best record in the Coastal Division this year, but the second-best team could wind up playing in the title game.