The saying goes that when it rains, it pours. And it is certainly pouring on the Big Ten right now.
Sports Illustrated's Michigan affiliate Wolverine Digest came out with a report quoting several anonymous Big Ten insiders who shared some information which sheds a little more light on why the conference finds itself in the middle of its biggest PR nightmare in recent memory.
Reportedly, the Big Ten expected not only the Pac-12, but also the ACC to join it in canceling a fall football season. And when you think of the academically prestigious schools in the ACC — Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Boston College, etc. — and the decisions one would think those presidents would come to, that seems to make a bit of sense. The sentiment seemed to be all along that if three of the Power Five conferences nixed fall football, it would be nearly impossible for the other two to keep going. So the ACC's reported decision could have ended any football season at all.
But all it may have taken was one phone call from non-football member Notre Dame to apparently change everything.
Sports Illustrated — "Notre Dame really wanted to play and was willing to enter into an agreement that could lead to something down the road ... at the very least, more games every year against ACC teams," an insider shared. "They're adamance about playing was the ace-in-the-hole a group, led by Clemson, needed to really push for a season and turn the tide in favor of ignoring the Big Ten.
"I mean, if Notre Dame, with their academic reputation and their national brand, was willing to go forward ... it sort of just sealed the ACC's fate."
Wow. Do we need to thank Notre Dame? Because it sure sounds like the Irish pulled out their once-large, swinging dick and dangled the carrot of playing more ACC football games and got the conference to reverse course.
If this really is how it went down, I can only imagine how enraged people within the Big Ten are. They're currently facing a mountain of backlash for a decision that I think even they would now admit was made too early, but they wanted to be first. And sometimes when you go first, not everybody follows you.
This whole saga is going to make an incredible book once everybody involved finally talks in 20 years.