For the Notre Dame’s gotta join a conference crowd, Thursday was like Christmas.
Until they realized it really was a lot more like Groundhog Day.
The first meaningful and seismic stride toward expanding the seven-year-old College Football Playoff from four teams to 12 — likely in 2023 — is neither a threat nor an enticement for Notre Dame to reconsider its independent status in football.
Beyond that, the proposal from a four-person committee that included Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick presents some give and take for the Irish in the new format, but ultimately a perceived net gain.
Now remember this is still in the proposal stage, with all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conference commissioners and Swarbrick meeting next week in Chicago to nudge it along to university presidents and chancellors. That group would then put it to a vote June 22.
A positive outcome at that level would bring on a period to study nuances, details and possible alternatives, with September the earliest a final decision would come.
The model is not without its flaws and legitimate concerns, especially in the areas of its perpetual shotgun marriage to the bowl system and the additional wear and tear on student-athletes.