FORT WAYNE – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told reporters after practice Thursday that he sees no downside to the Irish joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in everything but football and hockey.
The move from the Big East to the ACC was announced Wednesday.
“I think it’s a great relationship,” said Kelly, whose No. 20 Irish (2-0) travel to play No. 10 Michigan State (2-0) at 8 p.m. Saturday.
“Obviously as it relates to football the tradition of independence was important. A lot of those things started to take place when we had access. In other words, when football was going to get access to the playoff it then becomes how do we solidify our postseason opportunities. We’ve solidified our postseason opportunities with the ACC as it relates directly to football.”
The Irish will schedule five ACC opponents every year starting in 2014, and Notre Dame will also be part of the conference’s non-BCS bowl package that year.
The alliance with the ACC and Notre Dame’s desire to keep USC, Stanford and Navy on the schedule every year could change the Irish’s rivalries with Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State.
“We’re going to try to make it work with the entire Big Ten,” Kelly said. “There are some great schools I’d like to see us play as well. Michigan and Michigan State’s been a great rivalry.”
Kelly also provided updates on a personal matter involving linebacker Manti Te’o and personnel matters.
Te’o suffered two tragedies this week as his grandmother and a friend, who had been battling leukemia, died, according to reports. Kelly said Te’o will play against the Spartans.
“He wants to be with his teammates,” Kelly said. “He wants to be with people that care about him. He is a strong man. He’s going through a tough time, but he’ll rise to the occasion.”
Kelly said kicker Kyle Brindza will handle place-kicking duties Saturday as Nick Tausch continues to recover from a groin injury.
Brindza kicked a 27-yard, game-winning field goal against Purdue last Saturday.
Kelly is undecided on who will start at one of the outside linebacker positions.
Danny Spond, who missed the first two games after dealing with migraines, or Ben Councell could start, Kelly said.
Kelly also said receiver DaVaris Daniels recovered well from an ankle injury he suffered against Purdue and will be available Saturday.