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.

*

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Joel Embiid has some dope slippers

Joel Embiid has some dope slippers

Joel Embiid won't play in the next few games after banging up his knee on Friday night in the Sixers win over Portland. This is a bummer for Sixers fans hoping to see the most exciting athlete in Philly in action.

But don't fret too much. Embiid was seen after practice on Monday looking pretty limber, getting up some shots in some sweet slippers.

Hopefully we'll see Embiid back in some Adidas on Friday when the Sixers host James Harden and the Houston Rockets at the Center.

Stay or Go Part 9: Jalen Mills to Wendell Smallwood

Stay or Go Part 9: Jalen Mills to Wendell Smallwood

In the ninth of our 12-part offseason series examining the future of the Eagles, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro give their opinions on who will be and who won't be on the roster in 2017. We go alphabetically — part 9 is Mills to Smallwood.

Jalen Mills
Cap hit: $559K

Roob: Mills has all the tools to be a capable cornerback except world-class speed. He’s fearless, he’s cocky, he’s smart, he’s a hard worker. He just doesn’t have that make-up speed you want your top outside corners to have. I’ve seen enough positives from Mills that I definitely want him on my team. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a starter, but I definitely want him around.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Mills really got thrown into the fire as a seventh-round rookie, didn’t he? It wasn’t all good, but it wasn’t all bad either. It’s pretty obvious defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s loves Mills’ competitiveness. He doesn’t have top-end speed and that’s probably going to prevent him from ever becoming a top-of-the-line corner in the league. But there’s no reason he can’t stick around for a long time. He certainly has the right mindset to be a corner in the NFL and that’s a part of the battle. The Eagles really need to upgrade the corner position, which could greatly reduce Mills’ role, but he should still have one. 

Verdict: STAYS

Aaron Neary

Roob: Neary is a guard who spent the year on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: I’d say there’s a fair to good chance most of you have never heard of Aaron Neary. He’s an undrafted O-lineman out of Eastern Washington who was on the practice squad in 2016. I’d be lying if I told you I knew a lot about him. 

Verdict: GOES

Jason Peters
Cap hit: $11.7M

Roob: Cut Jason Peters at your own risk. You want the $9.2 million cap savings that the Eagles would gain by releasing the perennial Pro Bowler? Find it somewhere else. Because some guys simply should never be released. Peters is an all-time great Eagle and unless his level of play drops off dramatically, he should be allowed to decide when it’s time to go. Only Chuck Bednarik has been picked to more Pro Bowls than Peters in Eagles history. Peters rebounded from a subpar 2015 with a vintage Peters season this past year. Considering that the Eagles have a promising young quarterback who has to be protected and considering that Lane Johnson is one more positive test from a two-year suspension, Peters has to stay. I don’t care what the cap savings would be by getting rid of him. He’s too good and means too much to cut him. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Sure, the Eagles could save over $9 million in cap room if they cut Peters, but who would they get to play? While they’d be fine moving Lane Johnson to left tackle, they’d then be relying on Halapoulivaati Vaitai to play right tackle. And while that might be the plan in coming years, it would weaken the team in 2017. Peters might not be the dominant force he once was, but he had a very good season and he was able to play 97 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, which is huge. He gets paid a lot, but he’s still worth it. 

Verdict: STAYS

Isaac Seumalo
Cap hit: $764K

Roob: I asked Jason Kelce about Seumalo back in training camp and Kelce said he thinks the third-round pick will one day be a Pro Bowl center. Pretty clear Seumalo is the heir apparent to Kelce, it’s just a matter of when the transition occurs. Kelce wasn’t as awful as some people seem to think. He actually finished the season strong. But I think Kelce goes this offseason and Seumalo is your opening-day center in 2017. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Seumalo’s rookie year was a really interesting one. It started with a pec strain in training camp that slowed him down, but eventually ended with his getting some real experience. In all, Seumalo played six different positions in 2016: right tackle, right guard, left guard, left tackle, fullback and tight end. He didn’t even play center, which might be his most natural spot. I think he’ll have a real shot to be the team’s opening-day starter at left guard. 

Verdict: STAYS

Aziz Shittu

Roob: Rookie defensive tackle spent the year on the practice squad. Depending on what happens with Bennie Logan in free agency, the Eagles could be on the prowl for defensive tackle depth this offseason, and Shittu is an interesting guy. He had a good training camp last year coming off a solid career at Stanford and it’s fair to say he has a chance, depending on what the Eagles do in the draft and free agency. Going with my instincts on this one.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: I actually really liked Shittu coming out of Stanford and not just because I giggle like a schoolgirl every time I hear his name. For an interior defensive lineman, he has some real pass rushing potential. I think he would have been the undrafted guy to make the team over Destiny Vaeao had he not missed the spring because of the silly college graduation/quarters rule. I’d like to see him get a legitimate shot to stick here. It’s a longshot, but I’m going to take a chance with this one. I think he can make the roster. 

Verdict: STAYS

Wendell Smallwood
Cap hit: $601K

Roob: We spend so much time talking about the Eagles’ desperate needs at cornerback and wide receiver that it’s easy to forget they're just as desperate at running back. Assuming Ryan Mathews isn’t back, the Eagles will have a real need for a No. 1 back. You can’t draft or sign every position. So Smallwood could get a real shot at the lead back role. Can he handle the role or is he best suited to be a No. 2? Not sure yet. I like how Smallwood responded when he got double-digit carries against the Steelers, Falcons and Seahawks. Averaged 4.2 yards in those three games. And he had nine runs of 10 yards or more out of just 77 carries. I know Smallwood is a player. I’m just not sure where he’ll fit in. Maybe it’s the No. 28 jersey, but at worst I see him as a Correll Buckhalter-type, a solid No. 2 back who can fill in once in a while as a lead guy. At best? We’ll see. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Smallwood might not be the true answer at the running back position, but he proved enough to earn a roster spot next year and a role in the offense. I’m not sure if his ceiling is very high, but he got better throughout the year, specifically as a blocker. He’ll be back for Year 2. 

Verdict: STAYS