As the Fighting Irish sit down to watch the SEC Championship Game to discover who will be playing them for the BCS Championship they will have a lot on their minds. Players will be looking at their future opponents. Coaches will be deciding how they want to attack the opposition. Jack Swarbrick, the athletic director, will be making sure everything goes smoothly.
One thing no one will be thinking is that Notre Dame should join a conference.
The common myth that the Irish needed a conference to make the title game is officially dead. Dear naysayer, whose opinion was steeped in hate rhetoric, you can go away now. We don't need you projecting your, "How come Notre Dame gets to be Independent? It's not fair" attitude on a real situation.
The Fighting Irish are Independent and as we've said here at Your Best 11 many times, that's the way they should stay.
This summer, once the conference championship requirement was eliminated from consideration, it was clear the Irish had no reason to join forces with any league. After all, why would they? In the future all they needed to do was end up ranked in the Top Four to get a shot at a championship.
Still, some folks questioned if the Irish could get to the top without a conference affiliation. Hell, even this year Jack Swarbrick told Sports Illustrated that not having a conference was hurting the Irish from a poll voting standpoint. No voting bloc to support the Irish and many feared they would be left out.
However, after Kansas State and Oregon went out and laid the egg that Notre Dame never did, the Irish earned their first-ever BCS Championship Game appearance. In a season that many expected to feature tough losses to Stanford and USC, the Irish were able to finish the drill, go undefeated and are now being rewarded with a trip to Miami.
So, ultimately, it wasn't a matter of conference. Rather, it was just a matter of winning; as most of us had known all along. If the Irish win, the BCS berths and BCS Championship Game will come. The same can be said for the program in the next era: Win and you're in.
As the landscape shifts and conferences shuffle and reshuffle, the Fighting Irish should remain a constant. An independent entity on the college football landscape that commands their own audience, writes their own ticket and most importantly given the current climate, prints its own money.