Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pitt Sees Writing on the Wall, Likely Headed to the ACC

By Finesse

Depending on what you're reading, Pitt's move to the ACC is either confirmed or a very very strong rumor.  [Update: Definitely confirmed.]  It's regrettable that the Big East is going in this direction, but if the move goes through, Pitt AD Steve Pederson should be applauded for being proactive.

For a school like Pitt that is competitive in both football and basketball, the current state of the Big East is unacceptable.  The basketball is incredible, but the football is abysmal.  Pitt is situated in an absolute hotbed of football recruits, but why would any of the best ones want to go to Pitt to play against Connecticut, Rutgers, South Florida when they could go to Penn State, Michigan, or The Ohio State Corporation?  ACC football isn't great, but it's better than the Big East.  And the Big East has built itself into a league that has no choice but to shrink -- it can't go poach a Maryland or North Carolina from the ACC because there is simply no room to bring them into an already too-big 16 team basketball conference.  As awesome as Big East basketball has been for the past few years, bringing in Louisville, South Florida, Depaul, etc. may ultimately mean the demise of the conference as we know it.

"I'll still have the best basketball-coach-hair in the ACC, so I don't really care."
It will be unfortunate to watch the Big East dissolve into a true (almost) basketball-only league.  (There is no way that West Virginia football can stay in the Big East without Pitt.  The ACC should welcome the Mountaineers with open arms).  But this is a necessary move for the Panthers.  Pitt, to even the most ardent supporter, is not a driver on the college sports landscape.  It's not Texas or Oklahoma.  Those are the dominoes -- Pitt is just the collateral damage.

So while it will be tough to watch Pitt (and Syracuse, which is also reported to be moving to the ACC) have to pay lip service to the already self-congratulatory "Tobacco Road" contingency, this is a move of necessity.  The train was leaving the station -- kudos to Pederson for hopping on before it was too late.

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