Notre Dame AD sends definitive message on Fighting Irish's stance on realignment

Notre Dame v Stanford
Notre Dame v Stanford / David Madison/GettyImages

Notre Dame AD Pete Bevacqua sent a definitive message on the Fighting Irish's future in the college football landscape: joining a conference isn't on the table because of how attractive it is to be a college football independent.

"We are now in as good of a position as we've ever been in the modern era of college football to be an independent," Bevacqua told ESPN (h/t College Football HQ). "You see all the conference realignment, you see everything that's happened, I think our position as being independent in football quite frankly in certainly more unique than ever, but also more valuable than ever."

As College Football HQ's James Parks points out, staying independent means playing more College Football Playoff opponents en route to any potential championship.

"By not being eligible to win a conference championship, and thus not being able to take advantage of a first-round bye afford to league champs, the Fighting Irish would have to win four straight postseason games in order to get a crack at the natty," Parks prefaced before saying, "And that's after playing a 12-game regular season schedule."

Then again, playing in a conference championship game would mean playing a CFP-level opponent anyway.

Paul Finebaum believes Notre Dame football will have to join a conference at some point

Paul Finebaum, based on past comments, probably isn't buying what Bevacqua is selling.

"I ultimately believe that Notre Dame has gotten away with this for a long time," Finebaum said during his appearance on WJOX in Birmingham (h/t College Football HQ). "I can't imagine, long term, that they will, and I'm talking five, six, seven years down the road. At some point, they're going to have to make a decision.

"Five to 10 years from now, I'm not sure the exact number. I strongly believe that Notre Dame will finally say, 'Enough is enough. We're getting into a conference.'"

Joining the Big Ten along with Texas A&M has been floated for the Fighting Irish by longtime college football analyst and radio host Greg Swaim.

"Who are the next two teams to join the B1G and make it the Big 20? Our terrific Chicago source tells us that he's hearing it'll very likely be Notre Dame (who has a perpetual invite) and TAMU, as the B1G wants to get into Texas and the Aggies are very unhappy with the addition of the Longhorns (duh?)," Swaim prefaced before saying, "Once again he reiterates there will not be any invites to non-AAU member teams, so doesn't believe FSU nor Clemson will get invitations.

"Certainly not expecting it soon, but the TAMU to the B1G rumor does have legs. More money, no Longhorns and Aggies being told if they make this move will have veto power if Texas tries to move again."

From the sounds of it, though, Notre Dame may hold out as long as possible -- something it can probably get away with given the value of its television contract with NBC.

Who knows? The Fighting Irish may never end up bound to one conference. It's seemingly too big to fail regardless.