What Does Notre Dame's Exit Mean for the Big East?

What Does Notre Dame's Exit Mean for the Big East?

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Wednesday morning that it
has accepted Notre Dame
as a member for all sports excluding
football, although the school will now play five football games per season against ACC members. According to the release, the move will be made official as
soon as ND can go about negotiating its exit from its current
conference.

That conference, the Big East, officially
requires a 27-month notice for all departures, although West Virginia,
Pittsburgh and Syracuse have worked out deals within the last year that
expedited that process in exchange for larger exit
fees.

So, back to our age-old question, what does
this mean for the Big East?

Almost exactly 11 months
ago, in reviewing doomsday scenarios for the conference before it added
seven new members, I
mentioned this move
-- Notre Dame to the ACC -- as a
possibility, and tied it to the future of Big East stalwart UCONN.
Specifically, that if Notre Dame did become the ACC's 15th school, UCONN
would be a natural fit as No. 16.

Back then, the
scenario actually revolved around the implosion of Big East football,
but UCONN to the ACC really made sense regardless of the future of
football. This speculation followed reports that suggested UCONN
was aggressively seeking
a move to the ACC and that the
conference actually wanted UCONN
before it settled for
Pittsburgh.

A few months later, in Feb. 2012, the
Hartford Courant (via the BC
Interruption
blog)
published:

"Sources told The Courant recently
that the ACC has a 16-team model in place with its first choices being
Notre Dame and UConn, but with Notre Dame maintaining its independent
position there is no rush to go to 16. If the ACC can't convince Notre
Dame, Rutgers could get the call with UConn, but sources say there is no
rush there, either."

Well, the ACC nabbed
Notre Dame. It has 15 schools for basketball (and 14 for football), which it could live with as balance in basketball isn't as important as in football. That said, you'll also notice the wording above reads,
"if the [ACC] can't convince Notre Dame," as if UCONN is a forgone
conclusion. Joe Giglio of the Charlotte Observer (via VUHoops) reports that there are no plans to expand to 16 as long as Notre Dame remains independent for football.

Bracket further ACC expansion for a second, and here's what we're looking at: the Big
East has lost a member in Notre Dame, leaving it with 17 schools for
basketball (this number includes the 2013 arrivals of  UCF,
Memphis, SMU and Houston). The move, on its own, does not impact
football, which will have 13 schools by 2015.

As Big
East commissioner Mike
Aresco stated over the weekend
, a 14th school would make
sense for football. Well, now it would make sense for basketball, too.
Should the Big East accept a next new member for all sports, it would
set the football and basketball totals at even numbers -- 14 and 18,
respectively.

Of course, the Big East might not be the only
conference looking to add.

The ACC
-- who has already taken Virginia Tech, Boston College, Miami, Syracuse, Pittsburgh
and Notre Dame from the Big East in the last eight years -- could always come
calling for one more down the line.

Regardless of what happens with the ACC, Notre Dame's exit is another loss for the Big East. And, on it's own, it's really not so bad. But if it paves the way for another departure, then it's substantial.

*

Follow The700Level on Facebook and Twitter.

No. 10 Washington dominates No. 7 Stanford in rout

usa-washington-christian-mccaffrey.jpg
USA Today Images

No. 10 Washington dominates No. 7 Stanford in rout

SEATTLE -- Jake Browning threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Myles Gaskin added 100 yards and two scores, and No. 10 Washington was dominant on both sides, overwhelming No. 7 Stanford 44-6 on Friday night.

After months of hype that Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was on the verge of a breakout, the Huskies showed they were ready for their return to the national stage.

And they did it emphatically, handing Stanford (3-1, 2-1) its worst loss since a 41-3 setback against Arizona State in 2007.

The Huskies raced to a 23-0 halftime lead, scored early in the second half to go up 30-0 and coasted to their biggest victory over an AP Top 10 team since beating No. 5 Southern California 31-0 in 1990. That game 26 years ago announced Washington as a national contender and the Huskies went on to share the national title a year later with Miami -- taking the coaches' version while Miami topped the AP media poll.

Browning was the leader of an efficient offense that scored on six of its eight drives. He threw touchdowns of 3 yards to Dante Pettis, 19 yards to John Ross and capped the night with a 3-yarder to Aaron Fuller with 5:30 remaining. Browning was 15 of 21 and did not commit a turnover.

Equally important was Washington's ability to establish a running game. The Huskies rushed for 214 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, Stanford star Christian McCaffrey saw his Heisman Trophy aspirations hit a major speed bump. McCaffrey was held to 49 yards rushing on 12 carries, five catches for 30 yards and continued his streak of never scoring an offensive touchdown in a road game.

It was McCaffrey's fewest yards rushing since 2014 at California when he had 19 yards on three carries.

Stanford's only TD came late in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Ryan Burns to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.

Burns was 15 of 22 for 151 yards, but Washington controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. Stanford quarterbacks were sacked eight times, six in the first half. Stanford had allowed only four total sacks in the first three games combined.

Stanford was playing short-handed without starting cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder, starting wide receiver Francis Owusu and starting fullback Daniel Marx. Starting right tackle Casey Tucker limped off with an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter.

Takeaways
Stanford: The Cardinal were unexpectedly sloppy. Stanford committed 11 penalties after entering the week as the least penalized team in the Pac-12. There were communication issues in part due to the roaring Washington crowd, but also a lack of sharpness not normally seen from David Shaw's team.

Washington: The defense was up to the task of keeping McCaffrey under control and forcing Burns to beat them through the air. McCaffrey had 34 yards on 10 carries in the first half and forced the Cardinal into numerous long third-down situations. That allowed Washington to bring extra pass rushers to get to Burns.

Up Next
Stanford: The Cardinal head home after two straight weeks on the road to host Washington State.

Washington: The Huskies travel to Oregon looking to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Ducks.

Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

usa-darvish.jpg
USA Today Images

Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

ARLINGLTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish looked playoff-ready with a season-high 12 strikeouts in six innings as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Friday night and clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

The Rangers can be tied by only the Cleveland Indians and they own the tie-breaker by winning the teams' season series. The AL owns home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to its win in the All-Star Game.

Darvish (7-5) allowed one run, three hits and one walk. His 28th career game of double-digit strikeouts is the second-most in a pitcher's first 100 major league starts, topped only by Dwight Gooden (31). Darvish will likely start Game 2 of the Division Series following Cole Hamels.

Shin-Soo Choo returned to Texas' lineup after missing 39 games with a fractured left forearm. Choo pulled a single to right in his first plate appearance since Aug. 15 and went 1 for 4.

Matt Andriese (8-8) gave up three runs and seven hits, including solo home runs to Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor (see full story). 

Cabrera hits 2 HRs, Tigers move up in playoff race, beat Braves
ATLANTA -- Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton also connected and the Detroit Tigers moved up in the playoff race, beating the Atlanta Braves 6-2 Friday night.

The Tigers won their third straight and pulled within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot. The Blue Jays lost at Boston 5-3.

The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday, but the Tigers might need to play beyond that. They were rained out against Cleveland this week and would have to make up that game if it impacts their playoff chances.

Daniel Norris (4-2) gave up one run, five hits, two walks and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.

The Braves, playing their final series at Turner Field before moving north to the suburbs next year, had won 10 of 11. Matt Wisler (7-13) was chased in the fifth when James McCann's RBI single made it 5-0 (see full story).

Trumbo hits 47th, Schoop 5 RBIs as Orioles top Yankees 8-1
NEW YORK -- Mark Trumbo hit his major league-leading 47th home run, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones also went deep in a six-run fifth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 8-1 in steady rain Friday night to maintain their AL wild-card lead.

Baltimore began the night tied with Toronto for the AL's two wild cards at 87-72, with Detroit 1 1/2 games back and Seattle trailing the Tigers by a half-game.

Trumbo and Jones homered off Michael Pineda (6-12), who started with 3 2/3 hitless innings and suddenly became ineffective.

Schoop tied his career high with five RBIs, hitting a go-ahead, two-run double in the fourth and adding a three-run homer in the fifth against James Pazos -- Baltimore's big league-high 250th home run this season.

Yovani Gallardo (6-8) won for just the second time in nine starts since Aug. 5, allowing two hits, three walks and Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly in six innings (see full story). 

Ortiz delivers another HR, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 5-3
BOSTON -- Opening his final weekend with yet another game-winning homer, David Ortiz lined a two-run shot into the right-field stands to break a seventh-inning tie and help the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Friday night.

The AL East champion Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed one game ahead of Cleveland in the race for home-field advantage for the playoffs.

The Blue Jays fell one game behind Baltimore in the wild-card race and are now within range of Detroit and Seattle in the fight for the AL's final postseason berth (see full story).