- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our series looking at the pros and cons of each conference for Notre Dame concludes today with the ACC, which we feel is the Irish's best option.
To read previous entries from this series, click here.
Headquarters: Greensboro, N.C.
Schools: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Future members: Pitt, Syracuse
Reasons for Notre Dame to join: Have we mentioned that Notre Dame is an East Coast school that happens to be located in Indiana? OK, good. The ACC is a great cultural and academic fit, with several elite private schools. The additions of Syracuse and Pitt would strengthen Notre Dame's presence on the East Coast, the football program has already established a strong recruiting connection to the Carolinas, and, of course, there's that talent-rich state of Florida. Both basketball teams would benefit from what is shaping up to be the nation's best hoops conference, and the rest of the Irish's athletic teams would fit right in with other ACC schools, particularly the lacrosse programs. Whatever perceived weakness this conference had among the rumor mill this past spring would be shored up with the addition of a brand as strong as Notre Dame's.
Reasons for Notre Dame not to join: Right now it looks like an all-or-nothing deal for Notre Dame and the ACC, meaning the football program would have to surrender its cherished independent status, something it probably does not have to do just yet. Could that change? Never say never. Notre Dame will once again face three ACC teams this year on the gridiron and has been in discussions with the conference about a potential Orange Bowl tie-in. Could the Big 12's public acknowledgment of presenting Notre Dame's Olympic sports a safe haven -- provided a football scheduling agreement -- force the ACC to reconsider its stance? Could other ever-changing factors amid the collegiate sports landscape? All worth keeping an eye on, though the status quo remains likely for the Irish for now.
15dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf