After yet another season of mediocrity, a Chicago Sun Times columnist has taken an interesting tack to the question of whether or not Notre Dame ought to swallow their pride and join the Big Ten.
The argument in many ways makes sense, and it's what you've heard before. It's better for the non-football sports - especially men's and women's basketball. It's better for academics.
But as veteran writer Herb Gould points out, the best incentive for joining the Big Ten is that it would reduce the pressure on Notre Dame. "At Notre Dame, having no conference pretty much puts the Irish on a jittery tightrope from the opening kickoff every season. The Subway Alumni need to realize the days of Rockne and Leahy and Ara -- and even Holtz -- are over. Everybody's on TV. Everybody can recruit and play a national schedule."
Gould said the money issue with NBC could be worked out, and there's a really sensible way to do that. Give NBC the option on taking the #1 Big Ten game every week that Notre Dame is at home, and first choice of Big Ten games that don't involve the Irish when they're on the road. NBC would pay more and, in return, get the occasional Michigan-Ohio State, Penn State-MSU or Iowa-Wisconsin, big games that drive national ratings.
That said, Gould also calls for ND to fire Charlie Weis and hire Cincy's Brian Kelly (the guy MSU would have hired had it not been for one M. Dantonio). And that would make sense - so don't worry about that happening. Still, we can dream can't we?