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Notre Dame helps ACC Network, even without football membership

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They’re not joining, so let’s just get that out of the way.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

With the ACC Network launching in August, talks about how valuable the ESPN-run network actually will be for conference members are ongoing. And of course, while commissioner John Swofford was discussing the network at media days, Notre Dame — and how much the network would be worth with the Irish in the fold as well — came up.

Swofford was diplomatic, but also shot down any potential speculation they’d join in the future. That makes sense. After ND made the College Football Playoff this past season without a conference affiliation, I’d be shocked to see them join any time soon as well.

He also made the point that Notre Dame’s still valuable as a partial member — something that potentially holds water depending on where games actually appear.

While Notre Dame home football games are still on NBC, road game broadcast rights are subject to the other teams’ agreements. In the case of the ACC, that could mean the ACC Network, or it could mean ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU/ABC. Given the average age of Fighting Irish fans — which I’d bet is older than that of many other fan bases — something tells me that those Notre Dame games would not wind up on the ACC Network, and rather, would be showcased on ESPN or ABC. So it’s debatable how much those games actually impact the ACC Network.

Where I think ND is more valuable is with regard to non-football sports, where they’re a full ACC member anyway. Of course football moves the needle most, but there’s still a lot of value in quality men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, and the various other non-revenue sports where the Fighting Irish do excel. Notre Dame’s a fixture in the top 20 or so for the Director’s Cup (17th this year), which makes their non-football sports a major draw and a potential staple of the live sports programming the ACC Network plans to broadcast for most of the year.

How much that inventory’s worth (relatively) won’t be known for another year or so. But it should at least move the needle a little bit, further justifying the ACC’s arrangement with the school.

That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:

How ACC Network deal impacts Notre Dame’s football future (Sporting News)

“It’s been a win-win for the ACC as well as for Notre Dame,” Swofford said. “Their membership in the league has been everything that we would have anticipated. It’s fully met expectations for us, and I think Notre Dame would tell you it has fully met expectations for Notre Dame. Institutionally it’s just a really good fit.

What will Syracuse football’s starting o-line be? ’I honestly have no idea’ (Syracuse.com)

And with pocket passer Tommy DeVito taking over for Eric Dungey, the team’s leading rusher last year, the play of the front five will be more important. The question is: how will Syracuse’s coaching staff assemble its big bodies? If head coach Dino Babers and Co. have an idea of what that five-man unit will look like for Week 1, they certainly haven’t made it clear to the players.

ACC Network deals with cable companies ‘very close’ (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Disney and ESPN have not secured agreements with Comcast/Xfinity, Charter-Spectrum and Dish Network, which are three of the four largest providers of cable television in the country in terms of subscribers. “We’re very close with the deals that are going to this point,” Swofford said. “I don’t think there’s any question there’ll be more coming, and maybe even more right after the launch itself, before a game is played.”

Ranking the ACC’s toughest college football schedules in 2019 (Athlon Sports)

The Cuse begins the season by playing two road games, including one against a dangerous Maryland team. Pittsburgh should take a step back this year and the Orange should be able to handle Duke in their other game against the Coastal. At FSU and NC State will be battles and the Dome will be rocking when Clemson comes in on Sept. 14.

How do other ACC players view the Florida State program after the last two seasons? (Tallahassee Democrat)

“I think they’re really good. I actually know a bunch of guys on that team. Me and James Blackman are fairly close. We talk once in a while. So I have a lot of respect for them and their coaches and their whole program, especially with the historic being that they are. I do not think they’re sleeper at all. They’re one of the bigger teams.”

The way-too-early men’s lacrosse top 25 rankings for the upcoming 2020 season (NCAA.com)

Syracuse football raises over $7,000 with 2019 Lift for Life (Syracuse.com)

Boeheim’s Army will make a visit to Syracuse Mets game (Syracuse.com)

Dave Doeren will do your beer drinking for you if you stay in the stands at halftime (Backing the Pack)