Head coach Mike Brey of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will likely be making this face in disgust at the BUC sometime in the near future.
Grab anything green, magical clovers, pots ‘o gold, and a few pints of Guinness – the Fighting Irish are coming to the ACC. The situation is a little strange when it comes to football as Notre Dame isn’t fully committing to the Atlantic Coast. For lack of a better explanation, Notre Dame is using the ‘pullout method’ for football, while accepting the full Monty of ACC gloriousness in all other sports.
Interestingly, Notre Dame, in some respects isn’t all that different than Miami. Both schools have storied football histories, reasonable success in baseball, and basketball programs that are more like red-headed stepchildren than full-fledged family members. Both are private, smallish institutions with excellent academic reputations.
But there are some glaring differences. Notre Dame is a deeply religious institution and the magnificent architecture of the campus reflects it. UM is an aesthetically ultra-modern school. Notre Dame has a Leprechaun – a mythical fairytale creature as a mascot. Miami uses the Sebastian the Ibis. The ibis is a real bird that actually lives in South Florida and other habitats. Coral Gables is a short drive to the Atlantic Coast, while South Bend is several hundred miles away from the ocean.
What effect will Notre Dame’s Midwestern entry into the ACC mean to Miami? Aside from what comes down to a geographically blind decision, Notre Dame is a marquee name in college sports – with a much higher profile than UM. At the least, the addition of the Fighting Irish to the ACC will help with exposure. Based on its massive football following, ND has gotten some decent major network basketball coverage over the past few years. They also field a competitive team which will slot in the upper half of the conference. There seem to be Notre Dame fans in every state and city in the country. When Miami plays the Irish, expect some more fannies in the seats at the BUC and better coverage on the tube.
Aside from that, Notre Dame is just another roundball opponent for UM hoops to hopefully vanquish. It's probably a positive for Miami and the conference as a whole, but with Syracuse and Pittsburgh also joining the fray, expect ACC hoops to rebound from some recent top-heavy years.