Navy, after 130 years of football independence, will be joining the Big East as a football only school starting in 2015.
Some of you might not think much of this news; it's the Big East and Navy, not exactly known for being football powerhouses. But I find this quote telling,
Navy has been playing football since 1879 without conference affiliation, but academy officials said they believe independence will be too difficult to maintain as other powerful leagues grow. Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said scheduling games late in the season, landing desirable television deals and securing bowl bids will become a problem for Navy.
“Opportunities to exist as independents into the future are clearly in jeopardy,” he said.
(Note: if you don't want to read anything about ND then don't read anymore. The rest of this thread is me talking about the effect of this and other events on ND's slow roll towards a conference)
Can you think of another notable independent school? Perhaps one about 3 hours away from Ann Arbor? One that has been stuck in a state of perpetual ineptitude for about the past 20 years? If you thought of Notre Dame, well, you were correct.
I think the push for ND to joing a conference is getting louder and louder by the proverbial hour. ND's schedule breaks down like this: They play 3 Big Ten teams (Michigan, MSU, Purdue), 2 Pac-12 teams (Stanford and USC), Navy, and Pitt every year. Looking at their 2012 schedule, they fill the rest of their schedule with 3 more teams from the ACC (Miami, Wake Forest, and Boston College), Oklahoma, which is just a home-and-away, and then some middling team from a terrible conference, next year it's BYU.
With the B1G and Pac-12 entering into their agreement, the Pac-12 will play 9 conference games, on top of the B1G games, and while the B1G will only play 8 conference games, Delany wanted to go to 9 conference games before this agreement went into place and presumably he still wants to go to 9 conference games eventually. With Pitt going to the ACC, and the ACC going to a 9 game schedule, 4 of the teams on ND's schedule will soon be crunched for the space to schedule ND. With the Big East intent on becoming a super conference of incompetence, they'll likely be going to a 9 game schedule as well. It wouldn't be a stretch for the B1G, the ACC, and Stanford to drop ND from the schedule. I figure USC and Navy are two pretty "important" rivalries that will get preserved.
You think NBC will continue to shell out money for ND to play Idaho St. and Alabama Tech? NBC's already moved some of their games to Versus. With the money the BTN is making the B1G schools, I think the Big Ten is going to start to look pretty appealing to ND sooner, rather than later.