Time for Big Ten to Play Hardball with Notre Dame

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Is the Big Ten done expanding? Let’s hope not. Is the conference going east? Let’s hope not. Do the expansion plans involve Notre Dame? They’d better or I’d say it is time to kick the Irish completely to the curb. No, I’m serious. It is time to band together as a conference and punish Notre Dame. If they really think they are an independent, than I say take keep them in isolation.

Ask yourself this; could Notre Dame exist without the Big Ten teams that schedule them regularly? Sure they could, the MAC and the Big Least would love to fill the gap, but what would it do to their independent revenue? I for one think it is time for Notre Dame to get on board and join the Big Ten or become irrelevant. They are almost irrelevant already.

What is Notre Dame afraid of? Are they worried about becoming a Big Ten doormat? I suppose that is a legitimate concern. If we scheduled the armed forces every year, I’d worry about MSU’s ability to compete too. Brian Kelly is the real deal. He should, by all reasonable indications, turn the Fighting Irish around. I don’t know that he can put them in the top ten annually, but he will make them respectable again.

Culturally, Notre Dame belongs in the Big Ten. It is a great geographic fit. It is also a great fit because of traditional rivals like Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan. It is time for Notre Dame to find its rightful place in the conference it should have joined twenty years ago. It would do wonders for their basketball program. Midwesterners would care about Notre Dame again because they would have meaning in conference standings. It is nice to beat the Irish, but it isn’t much of a coup anymore.

The Big Ten needs to look seriously at TV markets because the Big Ten Network is powerful. It is the gold standard of college sports networks. Every other major conference is going to copy it. It is only a matter of time. Lost in the TV discussion is the aspect of the conference’s culture. Make no mistake about it; the culture that resides among a conference’s residents is important. This is precisely why I hope that Jim Delaney doesn’t go east.

Nobody on the east coast cares about college football. Some of you will make the argument for BC. Some might try to bring up Maryland, but nobody really believes that any east coast school really belongs in the Big Ten. Nobody cares about Rutgers or Syracuse football. New York / New Jersey residents care only about the NFL. They don’t care about college football. Don’t even bring up Connecticut. It is not a Big Ten fit.

Nebraska was a great get for the Big Ten. No, Omaha is not going to boost Big Ten Network living room head count. It will have minimal impact from that standpoint, but it will have huge impact on the conference championship and the legitimacy of Big Ten football. Nebraska fans love their Cornhuskers. They show up. If Northwestern wants a sellout in Evanston, just wait until the Huskers hit the schedule. Illinois has empty seats? Not during Husker week. The same would happen for the Big Ten if Notre Dame were added. It is time to play hardball with Notre Dame. It is time to get this done.