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Question of the day: Will Notre Dame wind up in a conference for football?

June 17, 2010 | 10:57 am

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Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to leave a comment and tell them why they are wrong.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

I think Notre Dame is less likely to end up in a conference than it was on Monday, when it appeared the Pac-16 was going to happen and college football was on a fast-track to morph into four, 16-school super conferences. With all the schools in those leagues getting significantly richer, even the bad ones, Notre Dame might have felt pressure to be the 16th team in the Big Ten.

A lot of schools breathed a sigh or relief when the Pac-16 plan fell apart after Texas declined an offer and decided to stay in the Big 12, effectively saving that conference from extinction.

Notre Dame should take a deep breath, too. It appears now there will be minimal conference realignment, which should buy the Irish some time to reassess their future as an independent.

I think the next few years are the key. If the Irish can return to football glory under new coach Brian Kelly, the Notre Dame brand will command as much respect as it ever has and lead to enhanced revenue streams and even, perhaps, some new ones. The school's stand-alone deal with NBC may not appear as golden as it once was, but the Irish are still the only football school with that kind of network set-up.
If Notre Dame remains largely mediocre, things could deteriorate. NBC might even decide it has had enough at some point and send America's Team back to regularly scheduled programming.

Keith Groller, The Morning Call

You never say never in sports, especially in the backroom deal-brokering world of college football, but it’s still hard to envision Notre Dame football giving up its independence for conference affiliation.

Despite a decade of woes, the Irish are still the second most valuable program in college football — worth $108 million, according to Forbes Magazine — behind only Texas.

So, with all the money-grabs going on, Notre Dame doesn’t need to have its hand out to be part of a conference TV network or anything else.

The Fighting Irish are still much more relevant by themselves than they would ever be as members of a conference -- and they still like dictating their own terms. Until television networks and recruits stop bowing at the altar of Touchdown Jesus, the Irish will still be in a league of their own.

Updated at 12:17 p.m.

Andrea Adelson, Orlando Sentinel

Notre Dame will be forced to join a conference for football because of the eventuality of superconferences. We nearly saw the first one formed this week. Had a few things gone a different way, we would be staring at the Pac-16 right now.

Just because Texas spurned the Pac-10 this time around does not mean superconferences are dead. When one conference grows to 16 teams in the future, everybody else must follow. That would essentially guarantee the 64 biggest, most powerful programs would be lumped together. Notre Dame would be foolish if it wanted to staunchly hold onto its independence and be left out of this exclusive club.

The money would be too hard to pass up. So would the potential to break away from everybody else and have those four superconferences form their own governing body, leaving the plebeians of college football once and for all.

Photo: Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist throws a pass on April 24. Credit: Joe Raymond / Associated Press.  

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