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File | Associated Press
This July 22 photo shows Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford speaking to the media during the conference's college football kickoff news conference in Greensboro, N.C.

Domers, say hi to Tobacco Road

OK. So I guess this is about as logical as anything in a college landscape in which College Station, Texas can be a Southeastern Conference destination, and Boise, Idaho, can have a Big East and a Big West mailing address at the same time.

Which is to say: It's something straight out of Kafka, Notre Dame going to the ACC in everything but football. Well, sort of.

The "sort of" comes from the stipulation that the Irish will be playing five football games annually against ACC schools, reviving all those storied rivalries with the likes of Wake Forest and Duke. And who can forget that golden time when the Four Horsemen took on Choo Choo Justice down in Chapel Hill, N.C., and galloped into legend?

Why, every Domer in America can recite Grantland Rice's lead from that day: "Outlined against a Carolina blue sky ...."

Good grief. This makes even less sense, from a logistical, budgetary and tradition standpoint, than Notre Dame in the Big East.

But, as previously noted, this is college athletics now, where geography is just something you left behind in the fifth grade. It's all about expediency and mutual self-interest now, and in that context Notre Dame going to the ACC is as natural a fit as Elvis and blue suede shoes.

The ACC, first of all, gets the national brand that is Notre Dame football, even if the Irish are only kinda-sorta going steady with the conference on the gridiron. From a strictly football standpoint, of course, getting Notre Dame is kind of like getting Stanford now; from a marketing and sales standpoint, however, the Irish are still the Rockne Irish: a transcendent and reliable money machine.

So forget the added travel expenses for its non-revenue sports, and forget, too, that Notre Dame hoops fits traditionally into the ACC about as awkwardly as Notre Dame football. Expediency and mutual self-interest, remember?

Notre Dame gets out of the Big East, which is taking on water faster than the Titanic. The ACC gets Rockne and Leahy and the gold helmets, and don't forget Digger and Austin Carr and John Shumate 'n' them. It's a win-win.

Especially if you don't think about it too hard.

Ben Smith's blog.