Notre Dame AD: “I’m bullish on the ACC” … and is LSU over confident?

NORTHWESTERN COMMAND caught up with Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick this week who had some interesting things to say about the ACC.

Despite speculation of the ACC’s demise over the last two years – and the Big Ten’s recent raid of Maryland – Swarbrick likes the ACC’s future.

“I’m bullish on the ACC,” Swarbrick said. “The ACC story still works, and the rivalries are great. That’s what you’re going to have to have with that future.”

As we’ve stated before in this space, there are reasons to be bullish on the ACC.

If it were a stock, it would be a buy-low opportunity as Florida State, Miami and until recently, Clemson, were under performing. Miami and Florida State should be top 10 programs year in and year out. Clemson should be a top 20-25 program every year with upside for more.

Swarbrick is also bullish on its revenue potential, and the ACC is trying to monetize its digital network.

A source told that “The ACC is not hurting (financially)… [FSU] would have to take a pay cut if they went somewhere else.”

It’s true ACC is not far behind the Big XII and Pac-12 in terms of television revenue. And that’s important because the ACC and Big 12 seem like the most vulnerable conferences.I still think the Big 12 is more vulnerable because of its geography, it has three powerful conferences bordering it, Clemson really has one — the SEC, which has little interest in most ACC markets outside of perhaps North Carolina and Virginia.

Third-tier rights value has been overstated unless a program can form its own Longhorn-style  Network, and few programs, outside of Notre Dame and Texas, have such a reach. If FSU left for the Big 12, it would face a huge increase in travel expenses, particularly if fuel should skyrocket in price.

There is another reason to be bullish.

There is speculation that the realignment game will slow now as the Big Ten will become bogged down in trying to land the Big Ten Network in the DC/Baltimore and New Jersey television markets and assimilate those schools into the league. It’s not believed any other conference – at the present – is interested in going beyond 14 teams.

Still, for further stability, if I’m Swofford/ESPN, I offer Notre Dame its own Longhorn-style network plus a full share of ACC TV revenues in exchange for full membership.

That would be about a $35 million per year payday and make the country, not just Swarbrick, bullish on the ACC, ending speculation about the ACC’s viability once and for all.


It sure sounds like it.

Said LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger recently after watching film of Clemson’s secondary:

“They give up a lot of big plays in the passing game. I think the least amount of passing yards I’ve seen them give up is like 300 something,” Mettenberger said. “If we have the opportunity presented, we’re going to do that – pass the ball vertically against them.”

Granted Mettenberger has good reason to be confident after watching Clemson make Dylan Thompson look like Dan Marino.

But might Mettenberger’s comments be telling of LSU’s overall mindset?

But perhaps LSU is taking Clemson too lightly. Perhaps they are buying too much into the “ACC stinks” narrative. This could bode well for Clemson.

LSU might be disappointed it slipped to the SEC’s No. 5 bowl game. LSU might be disappointed it is not playing Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. LSU might sleep walk into the Georgia Dome and this might give Clemson a better chance at a perception-changing win. We’ll see.

If any team has an over-confidence problem on Dec.31 it figures to be LSU.

2 thoughts on “Notre Dame AD: “I’m bullish on the ACC” … and is LSU over confident?

  1. This game definitely has the potential to turn out like 2004 Peach Bowl against Tennessee. They were 8th in the BCS, 7 in the Coaches’ poll, and 6 in the AP. Both Georgia and Florida leaped them to go to the Capital One and Outback bowls. So they were feeling slighted as well. And they were favored by 5 against an unranked Clemson team.

    I’m still not sold on Clemson winning this game, since their gameplan against ranked teams with stout defenses has yielded an 0-2 record this season. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the upset.

    On a somewhat related side note, USA Today has released their coaches’ salaries article here: Clemson’s assistants tops the list at $4.2 million. In second place? LSU at $4 million.

    Bragging rights for the Tigers name, Death Valley rights, and highest paid coaching assistants.

    • Matt, good historical context. No. 8 LSU is the highest ranked bowl opponent for Clemson since No. 6 Tennessee in 2004. History often repeats itself ….

      Clemson’s commitment to assistant coaching pay is pretty remarkable.

      I saw the USA Today piece … we wrote something very similar article earlier this year

      Of course the commitment is only possible is because Dabo Swinney takes home one of the lowest percentages of football staff compensation relative to total staff compensation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>