ACC Expansion: Could Louisville And Notre Dame Join The ACC in 2013?

Andy Lyons

With the Big East teetering on the brink of extinction, the likelihood that both Notre Dame and Louisville join the ACC in time for the 2013-14 season has increased.

The CYO7 -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova -- have agreed to leave the Big East according to sources. All that remains is figuring out how they are going to leave. With the Big East teetering on the brink of extinction, the likelihood that Notre Dame and Louisville join the Atlantic Coast Conference in time for the 2013-14 season has increased.

If the Big East goes away, both Notre Dame and Louisville will be looking for a conference to call home in 2013-14. I'm sure the ACC is prepared to take in both the Irish and Cardinals as soon as they can fulfill their obligations to the Big East. It follows that if there's no conference, there's no more outstanding obligations to fulfill.

Irish basketball coach Mike Brey is already talking about that very possibility.

When the decision was made to jump leagues, Brey characterized the mindset as "be ready to play in the Big East two more seasons, most likely."

Brey wondered Thursday if that logic still held.

"When you look at the climate right now in the Big East, maybe that does get us there next year," he said.

Earlier when the conference was trying to set an entry date for Notre Dame, I recall hearing that the Irish would have to inform the ACC by January in order to have enough time to set conference schedules and give programs an opportunity to ink non-conference scheduling deals. Presumably that same timeframe holds true today, give a take a month or so, so the timing of the Big East's impending implosion is kind of important.

Should the Big East completely collapse following the departure of the basketball-only schools, Rutgers will also be looking for a conference to call home. The dissolution of the Big East could also hasten both Rutgers and Maryland's move to the Big Ten, which, all the better. Obviously the cleanest solution for the ACC is to send Maryland on its way, replace with Louisville, add Notre Dame's everything but football and hockey and move forward as a 14+1 conference.

If Notre Dame is able to join up for 2013-14, a sticking point to the deal will probably be the Irish's deal to play five games a year against ACC teams. Already with a full 12 game slate in 2013, Notre Dame has just one ACC team (Pittsburgh) on next year's slate. Though if I had to venture a guess, Notre Dame and the ACC will work out a deal that adds extra ACC games to future schedules, leaving the Irish's 2013 slate untouched. There's no way I can see Notre Dame canceling four of these games in 2013 to make room for the ACC: Temple, at Michigan, at Purdue, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State (Arlington, TX), USC, at Air Force, Navy, BYU and at Stanford.

If Louisville does get out in time for next season, let me be the first to welcome our new Yum! Brand overlords. Notre Dame? Meh.

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