Notre Dame, one of three FBS independents, has been pressured over the last couple months to join a conference, but have yet to budge.
Since 1887, Notre Dame has kept its independence. Over the years, the idea of the Irish remaining Independent has been a controversial topic. Now that the College Playoff was introduced last season, the topic continued to be a hot topic over the last several months.
Notre Dame critics out there, have suggested that all teams that make the playoffs should have played at least 13 games prior to the playoffs. Currently, Notre Dame only plays 12, while other teams, not including other independents, or the Big 12, play 13.
“I don’t think any program should be treated differently,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer stated in an interview with ESPN. “Notre Dame is a great school, but we all need to be in the same boat [having to play a conference championship game] as far as the playoff.”
Critics are not only arguing that they should play a 13th game, they are also critical that Notre Dame football games get aired weekly on NBC. Because Notre Dame is not in a conference, they have the ability to have every game of theirs be aired on television. This helps promote their program and bring in a lot of revenue. In fact, they are the 2nd richest college university behind Texas.
The opposite side of the argument begins with Notre Dame head football coach, Brian Kelly. When asked about it on The Rich Eisen Show, Kelly had a clever way of handling the argument.
“Our situation is that we don’t play any I-AA teams, I think that when they decide not to play any I-AA teams then maybe we could be on an equal footing. We’re gonna play teams that give us a quality schedule and that’s all really we can control.”
Clemson has already played 2 FCS schools this year. In comparison, Notre Dame plays all FBS schools.
Former head football coach Lou Holtz was on Brian Kelly’s side. “I don’t think they need to be and I don’t think they ever will be.” Holtz referring to whether Notre Dame should join a conference. “They don’t need to be in conference they don’t want to be in,” he added.
Notre Dame has an agreement with the ACC that they must play at least 5 ACC teams each year.
Holtz stated, “When you have Notre Dame on the schedule it really helps recruiting. I can’t tell you how many players would come to me and say ‘I chose this school because I had a chance to play against Notre Dame. The only thing better playing against Notre Dame is to play for Notre Dame.’”