Well folks, it looks like the Hokies are getting a new opponent: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame is joining the ACC in all sports, with the exception of football and hockey--which doesn't affect Virginia Tech anyway. However, Notre Dame will play five football games per year against ACC opponents. Notre Dame not joining as a full member allows them to retain their independent football status, a point of discussion during the conference expansion frenzy of recent years.
The time frame for the Fighting Irish to join the ACC is unclear right now. These are the stipulations for Notre Dame to leave the Big East:
The Big East contends ND must pay $5 million and give 27 months notice— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) September 12, 2012
However, they probably won't have to wait that long given Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia's early departures. This will probably play out over the next few weeks as to how soon the Hokies and Irish will begin playing one another.
Follow the jump for some more on the newest member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Notre Dame will bring quite a bit to the ACC with high quality programs in both men and women's basketball, men and women's soccer and of course, the academic programs are some of the best in the nation. They also bring a seemingly national fanbase and solid financial backing to the ACC.
Given their tradition of playing football games against Big Ten opponents like Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, Notre Dame will essentially be the first member of two different conferences. Even though Notre Dame will only play five football games against ACC opponents, given the prestige of the Hokies football program, they make for a more attractive opponent than oh say...half the other ACC teams.
I can't help but wonder if Notre Dame will be eventually eased into the football side of things. As of now, Notre Dame has a long-standing contract with NBC for exclusive TV deals, something that the ACC wouldn't let fly. Also, the aforementioned Big Ten opponent traditions are unlikely to disappear, leaving the schedule very difficult to organize. As of Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the ACC, the conference has 14 members and adding Notre Dame as a football member would mean that an uneven 15 teams would disrupt the football championship game. Seems unlikely at the moment.
The Big East has lost a big time member after this, with Notre Dame bringing a lot of money to the table. After losing Pittsburgh, Syracuse and now Notre Dame to the ACC, the Big East is down to maybe two marquee full member schools (Connecticut and Louisville).
Weigh in below.