ND is on the way back. However, without a conference attachment, they could go 12-0 and not play for the title. Not to mention that the schedule strength is diminished when you play the service academies.
Seems to me that a few years back, an undefeated Auburn team did not get the nod for the big game.
Looks like ND is getting ready to take their seat at the conference table when they need to in the future with the ACC. Special ND rules for bowls are going to bite the dust in the next few years.
That was caused by the fact that Auburn started WAY down in the polls and the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the preseason (USC and Oklahoma) never lost a game that season. That season was a good reason why a Plus One four-team playoff had to be implemented.