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Friday, May 28, 2010

Notre Dame's snubbing of Big Ten hurting conference recruiting efforts?

In the recent days and months there has been plenty of talk surrounding the Big Ten's effort at conference expansion, with the University of Notre Dame being among the targets.  Much of the talk has centered around how Notre Dame's refusal to join the Big Ten could make them a nonfactor when it comes to the BCS.  But could it be that the reason the Big Ten is pushing so hard for Notre Dame to join, despite the university's stance, is that Notre Dame is actually hurting Big Ten recruiting by not joining the conference?  If you look at how Notre Dame has fared as an independent recently, then you might say no.  Look a little deeper however.  Notre Dame travels to USC and Stanford(two geographically enticing locales) every other year, almost all of their games are nationally televised, and with the rise of service academies they play one of the toughest schedules year in and year out.  These are all great reasons to go to Notre Dame. And even though Notre Dame has not been in the BCS discussion for quite a few years, they have still been competitive.  Ohio State has had trouble recruiting in the Cincinnati area in large part due to ND, and things should not change with the hiring of Brian Kelly as head football coach.   Which all leads us back to bringing Notre Dame into the Big Ten.  Certainly Notre Dame would still get a certain number of recruits even as a member of the conference, but no longer would prospects who have verbally committed to one Big Ten school change their mind and sign with Notre Dame because they like the program's independence.  And that could go a long way to bring the Big Ten back as a major player when it comes to the BCS.

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