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Notre Dame's Impact on ACC Baseball

Let me guess, you all heard the news yesterday morning about Notre Dame coming to the ACC and you all said to yourselves "YES, NOW WE HAVE ALL THE GOOD LACROSSE TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY!" Yes, it's true, the ACC will now have every single good lacrosse program out of the twenty in the country. WOO HOO!

I on the other hand said, "Well, that is cool. They were good at baseball about ten years ago....(hand wank motion)" Granted, they are going to be more competitive in the conference than Pitt will be and MUCH more competitive than Syracuse (because they don't have a team!). If you want to look at it this way, it is another team that the Cavaliers should take at least two of three from nearly every year.

The style that Notre Dame will play in the conference certainly won't be unfamiliar to the Cavaliers. Before coming to Charlottesville, Coach O'Connor was apart of Coach Mainieri's (now LSU's head coach) coach staff in South Bend from 1995-2003. Earlier this summer, former Cavalier graduate assistant and volunteer assistant Eddie "Cheeseburger" Smith was hired to be an assistant coach with the Fighting Irish. There is no doubt in my mind, the top shelf elbows of Coach Smith will make an immediate impact.

Most importantly, the current head coach of Notre Dame is Mike Aoki who is the former coach of the BC Eagles. Aoki was the head coach in Boston for the Golden Eagles for four years and lead them to two ACC tournament appearances and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1967. Aoki is certainly familiar with the ACC and has a proven record of turning a somewhat down program in to prominence. One thing is certain, Aoki is PUMPED to come back to the ACC

From a baseball perspective, this is obviously a very positive thing for our program. This is the second time that I’ve gone through this process, the first time when I was at Boston College. I’m excited about going to the ACC.... I just think it’s really a big move for our baseball program to compete in that conference. If you look at the ACC over the last 10 years or so, the ACC has either been #1, #2 or #3 in conference RPI. This is a major upgrade for our program.

As for Notre Dame as a whole program, they haven't been all that competitive over the last five years (yea, I was a bit overdramatic at first. Shocked?). Prior to 2007, the Fighting Irish had made the NCAA tournament every year going back to 1999. They even made the College World Series for the second time in program history in 2002 (first time was in 1957).

This past year, Aoki lead them to a 31-27 record which included a 14-13 record in the Big East. They ended up with the seven seed in the Big East tournament and came close to forcing their way in to the championship game.

The Big East is certainly not the ACC so I imagine Notre Dame will take a step back whenever they finally make their way in to the conference. It should certainly bolster their recruiting being able to tell young guys that they will be playing UNC, FSU, and UVa instead of UCONN, Rutgers, and St. John's.

In all, it is good for the conference to add such a nationally recognized name as Notre Dame, but in terms of baseball, I don't think it is going to be that big of a deal.