Lots of news coming out about the attempted expansion plans of the Pac-10 and Big 10 (Big 11). The Pac-10 are considering courting Colorado from the Big 12, and also Utah and BYU among others. The Big 11 has had internal discussions about Texas and Missouri. This has led many around the game to wonder openly if now is the time for Notre Dame, smack dab in the middle of Big 10 country, to finally give up its proud independence and join up. This would make the Big 10 a twelve-team league and allow for a conference championship game.
Notre Dame has had a lucrative NBC contract for a long time, but the amount isn't as much as you might think. Notre Dame receives only $9 million annually from NBC, which televises all ND home games. So, 6 games a year for 9 mil. Jack Swarbrick by himself makes at least 3 million a year. You would think Notre Dame could have squeezed more out of that deal, which runs out after this upcoming season.
Notre Dame already plays Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue every year, so a conference schedule wouldn't be all that different. All in all, this would be a great move for the Big 11, but a stupid move for Notre Dame. The irish make more money scheduling who they want, when they want, where they want. It just came out yesterday that the Irish will play vs. the University of Maryland at FedEx Field in Landover, Md this year (the home field of the Redskins). That's a great move and the stadium will no doubt be full. Lots of ND grads/fans everywhere, and it will almost be a home game for Maryland. Another contest is scheduled against Army at the new Yankee Stadium, another classic in the making.
Stay classy San Diego. Stay independent Notre Dame.