Notre Dame can ride easy schedule to first-round bye in College Football Playoff in Big 12, though jump is unlikely

Brigham Young v Notre Dame
Brigham Young v Notre Dame / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Notre Dame is doubtful to join the Big 12. The SEC is reportedly an option, the Big Ten makes the most sense, and in many ways, the Fighting Irish are already an unofficial member of the ACC considering their schedule.

But the Big 12? That's an improbability. Still, One Foot Down's Matt Boomer made the case for Notre Dame to join the conference, and he came up with the best reason for the Fighting Irish to break the geographical and historical mold: riding an easy conference schedule to an early bye in the College Football Playoff year in and year out.

"The Irish would join a conference freshly bereft of a hegemon, and could quickly step into the big-dog role," Boomer prefaced before saying, "A relatively soft schedule in most years that would create an easier path to the playoff, and unlike independence this path would also give the Irish the ability to ride that soft schedule all the way to a first-round bye. If you are looking for the Irish to join a conference, and you want them to quickly emerge as a conference power, this may be the fastest way to do it."

Paul Finebaum: Notre Dame can't keep getting away with being independent

Whether or not it's the Big 12 or another conference, Notre Dame is likely to get in on the rising revenue payouts of the Power conferences. Paul Finebaum believes it's only a matter of time before the Fighting Irish relinquish their independent status.

"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.'"

The Big Ten or SEC would be the best thing for the program, but there's a case that joining the ACC could be the best thing for college football; keeping the Power 4 model alive and satisfying ESPN's desire to maintain a TV deal with the ACC.

There's not much of a case for the Big 12 other than the Fighting Irish taking somewhat of an easy way out to get to the CFP. So don't expect that to happen.