Notre Dame makes stunning switch to ACC

804118.jpg

Notre Dame makes stunning switch to ACC

From Comcast SportsNetSOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame has picked its conference. Now it has to decide which football rivalry games to keep.The announcement Wednesday that Notre Dame is moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports except football and hockey came with a provision that the Fighting Irish play five football games a year against league opponents. That's good news for fans who want to see the Irish play Miami more often, but may not be welcomed by some traditional rivals.The deal calls for the Irish to play each ACC team once every three years, which means traditional games against Pittsburgh and Boston College will end. Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Notre Dame will continue to play Navy, which bailed out the school in the 1940s when it was struggling financially by putting programs on the South Bend campus. The Irish also will keep playing Southern California and Stanford, to keep a presence on the West Coast.But what of Big Ten rivals Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue? Swarbrick wasn't ready to say immediately. He did say, however, the shift in scheduling wouldn't be as big as some people think."We're going to keep some traditional rivals and we're going to get around the country. We're still going to be in California every year and we're still going to find a way to get into the Southwest. And, of course, this gives us a great East Coast footprint and we want to make sure we keep a Midwest presence, too," he said. "We'll meet our mission and make sure Notre Dame is playing everywhere in the country."Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke expects the Boilermakers to continue playing the Irish."We have a long-time relationship with Notre Dame involving many of our programs, and we expect it to continue," he said.Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon hopes to keep the series against Notre Dame going after their contract expires in 2020, but said it will be Notre Dame's decision. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said the Spartans have a contract that runs through 2031 that calls for games against Notre Dame for four years and then two off years.But with five ACC games on the schedule, games against USC, Stanford and Navy, if the Irish played all three Big Ten opponents it would have just one other game on the schedule.Notre Dame will begin playing five ACC teams in 2014. It wasn't clear when it would join the league in other sports because the Big East has a 27-month notification period for any member that wants to leave, and a 5 million exit fee. The Big East has shown a willingness to negotiate, as it did with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who paid 7.5 million each to get out early. Swarbrick wouldn't say when Notre Dame would leave, but indicated he would try to work out a deal."My own philosophy is, it's in everybody's interests to do it sooner rather than later," Swarbrick said.One of the key reasons Notre Dame decided to move from the Big East, which it joined in 1995, was because the ACC's offer allowed the Irish to be part of its bowl rotation. For the next two seasons, if Notre Dame doesn't earn a BCS berth it must wait to see what conferences can't fill their bowl allotments to see where it can play. Notre Dame also could play an ACC team in the Orange Bowl in some years."We needed a soup-to-nuts solution for the postseason and we have achieved it," Swarbrick said.ACC Commissioner John Swofford said the deal helps the league as well because it will re-negotiate its recent ESPN contract worth 3.6 billion to account for Notre Dame's arrival. Notre Dame will keep its broadcast partnership with NBC and won't receive TV revenue for other ACC football games.Swarbrick said he thinks Notre Dame's move to the ACC might stabilize all the changes going on among conferences."I think this gives us a real chance that we are going to have a period ahead of us now in college athletics which is going to be pretty stable," he said. "That would be one of the nicest possible legacies if five years from now we look back on this deal and say, You know what, that ushered in a period of where we focused on what was going on on the field and not what was going on in the AD's office in college sports. I think it will."

Quick Links

Wizards at Cavaliers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Cavaliers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS at CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Start of a long road trip

The Wizards took care of business this week by beating both the Hawks and Nets at home and in doing so clinched a playoff spot. That was all great, but their road is about to get much, much tougher. On Saturday night they begin what is arguably their toughest stretch of the entire season with their season series finale against the defending-champion Cavaliers.

After playing Cleveland in a game that will also be the second leg of a back-to-back, the Wizards play at the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz and Warriors. Add it all up and they are playing four playoff-bound teams and last year's two Finals participants all on the road. It's a brutal stretch that will probably tell us a lot about the Wizards right before they enter the playoffs.

[RELATED: Kelly Oubre, Ian Mahinmi may be keys to helping Wizards snap out of defensive funk]

Still plenty to play for

Just because the Wizards have locked up their spot in the playoffs, doesn't mean there isn't anything to watch as they play the regular season out. First and foremost is the race for playoff seeding in the East. The Wizards currently sit third and 2 1/2 games behind Boston in second. The Wizards are just one game ahead of the No. 4 seed Raptors. With 10 games left, a lot of movement can happen as the Wizards hope to maintain top three status.

The Wizards also have a chance for history. The magic number is now three for the Wizards to edge the Hawks for the Southeast Division title. It wouldn't mean much for playoff seeding under the NBA's current rules, but it would snap the longest division title drought in the NBA. The Wizards haven't won a division in 38 seasons, since 1978-79, but look poised to buck that trend this year.

[RELATED: Wall on Cousins: 'He said he would come to D.C.']

Three-point line

The Wizards have already lost the season series to the Cavs by way of their two defeats at home. On Saturday they will be playing for the third and final time. In the first two meetings, the Wizards lost both games in large part due to Cleveland's ability to shoot the three. In the first game on Nov. 11 they hit 14 threes on 33 attempts, shooting 42.4 percent. In the second meeting on Feb. 6 they hit 19 threes on 38 attempts at 50 percent. The Wizards have had trouble defending the three since the All-Star break, so Saturday will provide a good test for them.

[RELATED: NBA Power Rankings: Movement in the East]

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Draft talk, Ihenacho out

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Draft talk, Ihenacho out

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 25, 33 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 23
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 48
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 60
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 112
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 160

The Redskins week that was

Ihenacho's Redskins career appears to be over—This is based on some tweets he sent out; the team has said nothing officially or unofficially. Duke Ihenacho started 10 games at safety for the Redskins and they still don’t have enough at his position to fill out a depth chart. But apparently, they believe that Ihenacho is not part of the solution going forward and they will not offer Ihenacho, an unrestricted free agent, a contract. I think he’ll get another shot somewhere; he turns 28 in June and when he’s healthy he can play a role on defense and do some special teams.

Will the Redskins shift to drafting for need? Scot McCloughan always preached drafting the best player available rather than drafting for need. However, no GM drafts purely BPA and none draft strictly for need. How will the Redskins go with Bruce Allen having the final say and with Jay Gruden likely to have a strong voice in the draft room? Check out the post.

2017 NFL Mock Draft 6.0—A good job by Ben Standig here although I’m kind of skeptical of his first-round pick for the Redskins for reasons outlined here. And I kind of like his second round pick but I’d think he would be better in the fourth.  

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Could Miami's Kaaya be the Redskins' heir apparent at quarterback? I think that some Redskins fans have their fingers stuck in their ears and are yelling, “I can’t hear you” when it comes to the quarterback situation. The reality is that there is a very good chance that Kirk Cousins will be gone in 2018. Why wait until he’s gone to start developing his replacement? You can argue that Kaaya is not the guy but there has to be a plan.

Setting the odds on the Redskins' first-round draft pick—Mock drafts are all over the place with the Redskins picks, which is to be expected with pick No. 17. While I respect any analyst who can do a full first-round mock draft, it’s just impossible for them to be up on every team’s depth chart and thinking. As noted, nobody is sure how the dynamic of Allen and Gruden (and we could throw in college scouting director Scott Campbell there as well) will work in the draft room. While things might clear up as April 27 approaches, a big surprise at No. 17 wouldn’t be a surprise, if you know what I mean.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it