In several earlier threads, ND is generally listed as the most desireable expansion option on all counts, but then obviated due to:
-previous spurn of an offer to join
-NBC TV deal.
But do these really disqualify them?
If they were joining tomorrow, yes, except they wouldn't be. The earliest prediction for officially adding a new school is 4 years, which might be optimistic, but we will go with it for now.
ND's NBC deal runs 6 more years, if I am not mistaken. Do they expect it to get extended? In my opinion, NBC signed the deal expecting that Weis & Co. would be nationally relevant during that time period and provide them with compelling games that factor somehow into the BCS picture. I would expect they have been disappinted thus far in that respect and would not be salivating to renew that arrangement at the present time. Pending a major turnaround by Kelly that is not likely to be immediate, I would look at an extension as anything but guaranteed.
With regard to the previous spurn of an invite, it was done in a wholly different environment than today, when ND was more a national power and much more optimistic about getting/being elite. There was not nearly the fragmentation in broadcasting and parity between teams that exists today. Were I ND, I would consider a long term reurn to elite status as possible, but like a contract extension, not guaranteed, and certainly not guaranteed to last forever.
If I were ND officials looking 6 years into the future, I might be a bit more humble and pragmatic about where my revenue comes from. Given the over-expenditure on the Weis experiment, they might not be as likely to gamble as heavily on Kelly being the Second (actually, perhaps 3rd or 4th, depending on how you look at it) Coming and put them in a position where NBC would want to renew.
I think that the conference and ND could work something out for whatever overlap there might be in reaching the end of their NBC deal. NBC might be amenable to dropping a year at this point, big 10 network, I'm sure, would be happy to take away games only for 1-2 years.
If ND were to not join, Kelly turns out to be a bust, or even if he is successful, but in today's environment this doesn't translate into an elite status that would warrant a one-team exclusive broadcasting deal, they could very much be left out in the cold, staring into an abyss where they can't drive enough revenue to stay competitive and that would be a pretty scary situation for them. Big 10 would have no room at that point, where do they go? Big East?
I'm just sayin'