Most of the ACC’s coaches and administrators were largely in the dark about Wednesday’s announcement that Notre Dame would be joining the conference for all sports except football and hockey. But by and large, their reaction to the news was overwhelmingly positive, and it was no different at Virginia Tech.
Athletic Director Jim Weaver had long been in favor of allowing the Fighting Irish to maintain their football independence and become a partial member of the ACC because of the benefit it will have for Virginia Tech’s fans.
The Hokies have never faced Notre Dame in football.
“I think it’s very exciting for football because our fans now know that we’re gonna play them once every three years,” Weaver said. “Notre Dame’s gonna come to Blacksburg and we’re gonna go to South Bend, and I think that’s really exciting for Virginia Tech and the Hokie nation.”
How Notre Dame figures into Virginia Tech’s future football schedules remains to be seen. Weaver said he was largely in the dark about Wednesday’s announcement. ACC Commissioner John Swofford said Wednesday that the plan is for every ACC team to play Notre once every three years.
Weaver has said previously that with the ACC moving to a nine-game league schedule, his plan for scheduling nonconference games when college football adopts a four-team playoff the 2014-15 season was to have the Hokies face one marquee opponent, one mid-major foe and a Football Championship Subdivision school.
During a year in which Notre Dame is scheduled to face Virginia Tech, the Fighting Irish would presumably count as the marquee opponent. But Weaver wasn’t sure yet if that could potentially conflict with future home-and-home series scheduled with Ohio State (2014-15) and Wisconsin (2016-17). He will hold off on making any future nonconference agreements with other schools until he knows more.
Weaver did say, however, that he was not in favor of playing Notre Dame at a neutral site.
Coach Frank Beamer added that bringing Notre Dame into the selection process for the ACC’s non-BCS bowl tie-ins could potentially be a boon for current league teams, even though the Fighting Irish could be chosen ahead of the Hokies. He believes other bowls might want to add the ACC as a tie-in to have access to Notre Dame.
“I think it’s great for the ACC and great for Notre Dame,” Beamer said. “Both of us benefit.”
On the basketball front, the ACC becomes a 15-team league. Swofford said the league would likely maintain the 18-game league schedule that it’s instituting this season, and that each team will have two partner schools.
The ACC tournament will likely feature three Wednesday games and four first-round byes once Notre Dame joins. Under Coach Mike Brey, the Fighting Irish have qualified for the NCAA tournament five of the past six years.
“I think the addition of Notre Dame to the ACC is a great move,” Virginia Tech men’s basketball Coach James Johnson said. “This strengthens the best basketball league in the country even more.”