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The Independence of Notre Dame Football Hangs In The Balance

The college football world has been turned upside-down once again by conference realignment. The latest moves have all but sealed the fate of four prominent programs.

Oregon State, Stanford, Washington State, and Cal are the final four programs in the now-defunct...

"Conference of Champions."

These four schools will have to decide to become independent or join a group of 5 conference. Any option they choose will likely send their program to an endless football purgatory of irrelevancy.

This result has teams that have yet to land an invitation to join the two super conferences or the Big 12 scrambling to grab the last seats at the table. Florida State Trustee Justin Roth stated that any team that stays in the ACC until the current TV deal ends in 2036 is like "death by a thousand cuts."

Florida State has been openly trying to find ways out of the Grant of Rights deal. Scratching and clawing to find their way into the SEC, the Seminoles would start a mass exodus of teams to leave the ACC. If Florida State finds a financially sensible way to leave the ACC, one would believe Clemson, Miami, and North Carolina would jump ship, as well as any program that looks to maintain relevancy in the National spotlight.

This week, college football insider Pete Thamel reported, "Any potential changes in the Big Ten are not expected to impact Notre Dame’s view on independence."This is true because Notre Dame isn't following the Big Ten and their changes as the Irish have their eyes set squarely on the ACC's next move.

The University of Notre Dame has a happy marriage with the ACC, allowing them to maintain the importance of Independence in Football while maintaining a home for the other athletic programs. If Florida State cracks the Grant of Rights code, Notre Dame must join a conference begrudgingly.

Notre Dame will not wait until the ACC has drowned before striking a deal with the B1G or SEC.

Notre Dame athletics needs a home, and if signs point to ACC sharing the same fate as the Pac-12, the Irish will secure their spot in one of the two super conferences. It will be a hard pill for the leprechaun traditionalists to take; however, the added cash with a conference will help wash down any pill, regardless of size.

Unless James Phillips can somehow rework the ACC TV deal, it looks like Florida State will escape some way and that Notre Dame may be playing in Ann Arbor and East Lansing semi-annually again.

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