New Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly mentioned the Big 12 a couple of times during an interview Monday with a radio show with ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
Kelly said that if Nebraska had held on for a victory over Texas in the Big 12 title game, he likely still would be the coach at Cincinnati.
With the BCS rankings after the conference championship games, a Texas loss would have catapulted the Bearcats into the national championship game against Alabama rather than Texas.
"Who knows what would have happened if Nebraska wins that game," Kelly said on "The Afternoon Saloon" on ESPN 1000. "I might not be here at Notre Dame because we don't know if they would have waited for me, because I was going to play in the national championship game."
On several occasions in the past several weeks, Kelly has mentioned Adi Kunalic's critical out-of-bounds kickoff that preceded Hunter Lawrence's game-winning field goal. He mentioned it again Tuesday on Dan Patrick's national radio show.
"The kickoff specialist from Nebraska will not be getting a Christmas card from us," Kelly said.
Kelly also mentioned that he'd consider playing Texas as he builds his Notre Dame program.
"When you look at the teams that carry the same mission [as Notre Dame], Texas does that obviously," he said. "Those kinds of schools really are attractive to me.
"[Athletic director] Jack Swarbrick and I will sit down and look at our schedule as we move forward. I want to be around the best, because we're asked to be the best. And that's the kind of schedule I want."
The Longhorns and Notre Dame last played in 1996 in the first season of Big 12 play. Notre Dame has not played a Big 12 school since 2001 when it played Texas A&M and Nebraska. The Irish also met Baylor in 1998, Kansas and Oklahoma in 1999 and Texas A&M and Nebraska in 2000 and 2001.
They have future games against Baylor in New Orleans and at Oklahoma in 2012, at home against Oklahoma in 2013.
Is there any other Big 12 teams that would make an ideal matchup with the Irish and Kelly in future seasons?
How about a reprise of those classic Colorado-Notre Dame bowl games from the early 1990s? Or natural rival Missouri? Or Mike Leach and Texas Tech or Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State taking their teams to play in South Bend, Ind., in future seasons?