- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Mention Notre Dame to any Big East football fan, and wait for the grumbles.
What sticks in their craw most is the way they are a part of the league. Any Big East fan knows if Notre Dame ever decided to join for football, the league would be saved. Instead, there is a quasi-partnership that does the Big East absolutely no favors in football. Notre Dame just sits out there on the horizon, taunting football -- in more ways than one.
That includes the bowl partnership that allowed Notre Dame to be taken over a Big East team for the Champs Sports Bowl last year.
That may now also include a bowl partnership with the Orange Bowl, allowing the Irish to secure a tie-in to one of the six major bowls in the new postseason format beginning in 2014.
Notre Dame confirmed it was in talks with the ACC and the Orange Bowl about a potential matchup, should the Irish qualify for one of the elite bowl games without making the four-team playoff. That has got to sting the Big East, the only one of the major conferences without a tie-in to one of the high-level bowl games.
While interim commissioner Joe Bailey has been on a media blitz the last week, saying he was not concerned about access to the elite-level games, it seems pretty clear there are not going to be many opportunities for the Big East to be guaranteed a spot. A league that has had some excellent Top 10 finishes adds in Boise State -- the only team to finish in the Top 10 in the final BCS standings the last four seasons.
Yet it is the ACC that automatically gets into the Orange Bowl with its recently secured guaranteed tie-in. Or maybe even a qualified Notre Dame, a team that last went to an elite bowl game in 2006.
That was the last time Notre Dame posted a 10-win season. Just for fun, let's take a look at all the Big East teams that have won 10 games between 2006 and today, with the number of times they have hit double digits. I am including the new members.
Boise State: 6
Navy: 1 (football only in 2015)
Those stats should speak for themselves. But they don't. The Big East has to continue to sell, sell, sell.
Mention Notre Dame to any Big East football fan, and wait for the grumbles.What sticks in their craw most is the way they are a part of the league. Any Big East fan knows if Notre Dame ever decided to join for football, the league would be saved.