February 15, 2012

Expansiopocolypse: Staying for 2012

Filed under: Big 11,Conference — Chas @ 6:57 am

Not a shock that Pitt appears to be staying in the Big East for 2012. $20 million without a Big 12-like $10 million subsidy to help is not going to be forthcoming from Pitt. Nor would it be likely that the Big East would be as compliant with the potential to see the conference down to 6 or 5 for 2012.

The only real news regarding the move to the ACC, is that Big East Stooge Commish John Marinatto is actually stating something everyone already knew.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto says his league “might be open to a discussion” about allowing Syracuse and Pittsburgh to join the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2013 football season.

The Big East reached a settlement with West Virginia on Monday that allows the school to become a member of the Big 12 in 2012.

Marinatto had previously said that the Big East intends to hold all three schools in the conference until 2014.

“But given the strength and speed of our expansion efforts, I think our board might be open to a discussion about 2013,” Marinatto said in a telephone interview.

No kidding. By 2013, for better or worse the Big East will have SDSU, UCF, SMU, Houston, Memphis and Boise St. to go with UConn, USF, Rutgers, Cinci and Louisville. There is no reality where the Big East wants to have a 13-team conference for one season. Fall to 11, then back up to 12 in 2015 when Navy comes.

The issue for 2013 is money. $20 million is the number for leaving immediately — and that does seem to be the going rate in all conferences. Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Mizzou all paid about that much to leave quickly. The speculation is that Pitt and Syracuse will be paying around $10 million to leave. Perhaps, but I think it will be less than that. More than the $5 million, but not $10 million.

First of all, that $20 million WVU is paying, is not just going to the remaining members. You can bet that even Pitt will see some of it in the form of money to help pay for another game. All 7 remaining Big East teams will need another game. Many of them, between either WVU or TCU need at least another home game. That’s on the Big East to help fix. Choices for 1-A options are limited. Considering that the Big East let the Mountaineers out for more money, that money has to be used to help the other seven schools.

As it stands Pitt is down two home games. They only have 2 conference home games and 4 conference roadies thanks to this mess. While the Big East may do some schedule rejiggering to give Pitt another conference home game, there are still gaps to fill. Pitt already bought out their UCF home game to accommodate TCU’s arrival. They will have to buy another home game — possibly 2 if the Big East doesn’t fix the schedule.

The Big East is going to help pay for that. That’s why AD Steve Pederson has stated that the Big East is actively trying to get Pitt another game. As well as for some other schools in the conference. That takes some money off that settlement. Say, $5 million to help the Big East football teams get some games (assuming they don’t use it to help pay for one of the future teams to come early). But either way, that $20 million buyout from WVU is not so much a complete buyout as to help pay for immediate scheduling corrections.

The Big East and Pitt don’t want to have to go messy lawsuit. If the Big East doesn’t help pay for buying a game (or even 2), then you can assume that it will come off the final bill Pitt pays for leaving after 2012.

As for WVU’s departure. WVU AD Ollie Luck, is now in the spin mode since he will have to deal with the end of the Backyard Brawl at his end. So, commence effort to placate Hoopies by suggesting it will be Pitt that won’t play.

This will also be the first time since 1942 that West Virginia won’t face Pitt in the annual “Backyard Brawl”.

The heated rivalry is over for now and they will never face again in conference play, but Luck said he is open to scheduling a match up down the road.

“It will be difficult to schedule,” stated Luck. “I certainly would welcome a conversation with Steve Pederson, my counterpart at Pitt, once Steve has a handle on what they want to do with their non-conference schedule.”

Quite a bit more diplomatic than his earlier claims of how much Pitt needed the game.

Bob Huggins is even spinning that the basketball side shouldn’t end.

Dixon does the basketball schedule on his own. He was noncommital on the WVu series when asked about it in October. He will speak with reporters later today after practice.

Huggins said he would be surprised if the two schools did not find a way to continue the series.

“I’d be shocked,” Huggins said. “We’ve been playing since 1904. We’re all looking for good non-conference games.”

To which Coach Dixon remains noncommittal it seems.

Dixon said most of non-league sked for next year is done. On WVU: “When things settle, we’ll go from there. No decision will be made today.”

Roughly translated: “We’re good, because on the basketball side, it’s the Hoopies not Pitt that need the ‘economic boost.’ “

Sorry, have to address,

@wbb, don’t remember your first three, but the rest I certainly do remember. Carson Long, money kicker, missed 3??? I think?? Wasn’t his wife in labor or something??? Cold as hell, at Three Rivers right??

@complit, great trivia question. I think I have heard that over the years, but, you would have stumped me at the bar!!!!

Comment by Dan 02.15.12 @ 11:14 pm

@Frankcan – my pleasure – proud father of two band members – trombone ’06 (also in the pep band), drumline ’10 (also a leader of the Zoo)

I know this has been mostly a football discussion and, while I did go to a game at the old Pitt Stadium in ’74 and I enjoy Heinz Field, I love the Pete and my best Pitt memories are the Big East Tournament at MSG.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.15.12 @ 11:27 pm

isnore and all you older fans, let’s put this in perspective by considering the young guys who may be reading this board: Back in 1960 if we heard some long time fan talk glowingly about games that he remembered seeing in 1910, what would your thoughts have been?

Comment by BigGuy 02.15.12 @ 11:40 pm

like most of you, my dad took me to games in the earlie 70’s and early 80’s. Priceless memories, even for a young kid. My dad would park 10 miles away and make us walk up cardiac hill. Still remember T.D. going for 199 against WVU before he was thrown out for throwing the ball and/or taking a swing at someone after he was tackled out of bounds..

Comment by goalie44 02.16.12 @ 12:39 am

This link may have already been posted. If so, I apologize. Interesting perspective from former Pitt basketball layers on this year’s troubles:
link to

Comment by Tonyinhouston 02.16.12 @ 2:55 am

I would have been very impressed. I think you underestimate the appreciation for history and culture many young fans have. When my dad talked to me about Pitt football, he was speaking about going to see the Jock Sutherland teams in the 1930s. Even now I remember the pride he had in his voice. Just like many fans on this board take each defeat to heart, he was torn up by what happened to Pitt football in the 1960s. It was really hard for him to go to games in the era. You are right in one way, though. College football has become more like arena football with no conference loyalties, rivalries coming and going, and clown costume uniforms. But any fans who annually go through the media guide and see all the past records, Rose Bowls, All-Americans, and those tough-as-nails schedules of the 1950s appreciate Pitt football for what is, what it was, and what it can become.

Comment by Tonyinhouston 02.16.12 @ 3:01 am

@wbb: I too remember and most of all, I remember Pitt beating Georgia for the National Championship in the Sugar Bowl in ’76 — I was there. I bought Pitt season tickets in ’72 and kept them until I moved south in ’96. I was there for all your “remember(s).” What a ride. HTP!

Comment by MariettaMike 02.16.12 @ 7:08 am

Time for a comic interlude compliments of Toad Graham:

link to

Comment by steve1 02.16.12 @ 7:15 am

@wbb, It was Navy (24-12, & Roger Staubach)that cost us a major bowl in ’63. I was at that game in Annapolis with my father. I still can’t believe Pitt did not get a bowl invitation with only one loss, admittedly, there were not nearly as many bowl games played in the ’60’s. BUT…

Comment by MariettaMike 02.16.12 @ 7:16 am

Speaking of the Pitt Band at old Pitt Stadium, remember Pitt’s herald trumpeter’s that you play a fanfare and the band members would double time out of the tunnel. As a kid, I though that was really cool.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.16.12 @ 7:32 am

Pitt is a football school, a basketball school, a baseball school… Pitt is It! HTP!

Comment by MariettaMike 02.16.12 @ 7:34 am

Guys, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard at a Pitt game as I did when DON IRELAND said there was a tractor in the parking lot with its light on. Here’s the new story:

link to

Or how about Roger Houston promoting the next home game and yelling…”BEEEEEEE THERRRREEE”

Kevin, Pitt ’87

Comment by KeyboardKev 02.16.12 @ 7:56 am

Win or lose, we are Pitt! Young or not young, we should support our school. Criticism is fine, we all have opinions, but in the end, we are Pitt! HTP forever!

Comment by MariettaMike 02.16.12 @ 7:59 am

BigGuy (11:40PM)

I am originally from Noo Yawk and did not have any Pitt connections. In fact, I had never been to a college football game and had only attended a few high school games (My high school had OUTSTANDING basketball and our football field was in the process of being torn down).

When I got to Pitt I had the opportunity to learn bout Pitt’s amazing football history. Stories were told about Marshall Goldberg and the Pitt/Fordham rivalry, etc. I learned that Pop Warner and Jock Sutherland had been Pitt coaches.
Entering old Pitt Stadium you could almost feel the past history of Pitt Football (remember please that our basketball team was awful in those days).
If a student enters Notre Dame, USC, Alabama, Ohio State, etc. believe me they hear about the glories of football. I did my graduate work at The University of Pennsylvania and it was not unusual to hear about the glorious Quaker teams that ran rampant in Franklin Field. The Penn/Cornell Game was still a big thing in those days. So, BigGuy the answer is YES…I believe that today’s Pitt students would be interested to know that Pitt has had a glorious history on the gridiron….I blame our athletic department for allowing much of it to drift away. Stevie has no interest in preserving anything from the past.

Comment by isnore 02.16.12 @ 8:08 am

I hear a lot of fans stating (because of the potentially weak schedule) that they won’t waste their time on going to the home games.
Well that is exactly the reason Pitt is in the position they are in. You should support the team no matter what if you want the school to provide a good product.
If we all (Pitt fans) show support no matter what then better coaches will want to come here, better athletes will also.
Poor fan base, look at BB now, people jumping ship already.

Comment by frankarms 02.16.12 @ 8:29 am

@mariettamike -The Herald Trumpets still lead off the Pre-game.

Next trivia… Ass’t Band Director under Robert L. Arthur was a volunteer Pitt Dentist (Prof.) “Doc” Anderson…. wait for it !!

Father of Jack Anderson (who also was in the band and is now Director)

Benny Benack scored a lot of the music. Frankie Gustine was a great financial supporter of the Band.

Comment by CompLit 02.16.12 @ 9:19 am

Being the Pitt Band director may, in fact, be the best job in the world because Jack Anderson is certainly the happiest man I have ever met.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.16.12 @ 9:22 am

Pretty awesome stories. I’m a younger fan (12-0 PSU game was my freshman year), but still good to read. I know years from now I’ll still be talking about Pitt football like the 2002 game I went to in Blacksburg where I saw Pitt beat #3 Va. Tech, or watching Larry Fitzgerald etc., etc.

@frankarms It’s absurd to criticize people for not wanting to attend those horrible home games. Games against FCS teams are like preseason NFL games. Are Steelers fans bad because they don’t pack Heinz field in August? No. Pitt could potentially play 3 HORRIBLE teams home (maybe 2 FCS teams and another FBS bottom feeder). If the schedule looks like that, why would anyone buy season tickets. I know I won’t. I will buy a ticket for the Va Tech game and then scalp tickets for the other games. People basically give away tickets for those FCS games.

Also, could you please explain what “bad” position Pitt is in right now? I’m pretty sure Pitt athletics have top facilities, a top basketball program, a rising baseball program and a football program that has been close and could get over the hump with good coaching. Plus, Pitt is going to the ACC soon a top conference. Such a “bad” position indeed.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.16.12 @ 9:36 am

A Pitt Band story-

The Varsity Marching Band was chosen to play The National Anthem at Forbes Field for the opening game of the 1960 World Series. The Anthem was sung by Pittsburgh’s own, Bille Eckstine (for the youth who post here he was a very popular singer and band leader in the 40’s, 50′ and 60’s.

Forbes Field’s sound system was nothing comparable to today’s hi-tech audio systems and the words Roberto Clemente sounded like///Roberto Erto//Clemente Ente.

The band started to play the Anthem and poor Billy started to sing, however, the notes and his words were rebounding throughout the ballpark.
I was standing fairly close to the microphone and could clearly see the panic on his face as he struggled to keep up with the Band. The Band was perfect, however, Billy looked like he was going to trash his pants.

After the Bucs won the Series the Band did a halftime tribute to the Champions with one of the Band managers pretending to run the bases after Maz hit the winning home run. The Stadium erupted with an enormous standing ovation…quite possibly the loudest cheering ever heard for a Pitt Band halftime show!!

Comment by isnore 02.16.12 @ 9:38 am

Dan and outhers the game with eric crabtree and
garrett ford was in 1965 ford had 356 yd
crabtree 206 yd there was a total of 1071 yd in the game WVU won the game 63 to 48 but you were on the edge of your seat for whole game.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.16.12 @ 9:48 am

One more thought… Jack Anderson grew up around and in the Pitt Bands (he probably has 60 yrs. of Pitt in him. His “right-hand” is Lou Rusiski (around band 40 yrs.) and Ass’t Director Dr. Mel Orange (Pitt 26+ years).

One place where tradition runs deep.

Comment by CompLit 02.16.12 @ 9:49 am


We play the Hoopies tonight (9PM) for what could be one of the last encounters with the couch burning nation for quite some time.

Pitt basketball is down so far this year that I almost forgot about the game. The NCAA is not going to see Pitt this year and the NIT (who cares) could be our destination.


Comment by isnore 02.16.12 @ 10:03 am

Pitt -3

Comment by Yup 02.16.12 @ 10:26 am

@Wardapalooza, your are correct. I think Pitt is in one of the best positions it’s been in awhile.

Football- Coach Chryst, moving to ACC

Basketball- When you take a step back, and look at it, c’mon, 10 years of the tournament. Coach Dixon has one of the top, if not top player coming in next year, with another big recruit to go along side him. Moving to ACC.

I think we could we heading for some great rides in football and basketball the next couple of years.

Comment by Dan 02.16.12 @ 10:34 am

Rev George – I bow to your lore sir!

I remember the Eric Crabtree game. I had the privilege of having season tickets just in front of Anderson’s wife and met him on occasion. My life has been devoted (other than Pitt) to choral music so I followed the Pitt Band. For years they would come out and play with the best local high school bands in a concert. I still cannot get over how good the HS Bands were in WPA and most 200 members. I used to dream about the Pitt Band coming out of the tunnel at quick step after the trumpets played their flourish. The opening number was “The Conquerer”. Does anyone remember that the Pitt Band always played the other team’s fight song as a salute! Will never forget my first Pitt/ND game at the stadium. When the Pitt band played the ND Fight song the entire place went nuts! Does anyone remember Alan Popsack sp? the long time drum major?

Comment by Dan 72 02.16.12 @ 10:35 am

With all the talk about walking up Cardiac Hill. I have some memories as well. I remember parking at the gas station on Forbes Avenue, yes there was a gas station there then. The owner would close up on Game day making his station a parking lot. We would stop at a cigar shop where my father’s friend George would pick up a few cigars before the game. Then we would start up Cardiac Hill. On the walk up, I always wanted to buy a penant, but my father would tell me, “They’re a waste of money.” The same for pretzels “They’re just bread.” Hotdogs and peanuts at the game were ok. One time on the walk up the hill, for a game against Penn State, I wanted to buy a Penn State penant, but I got a no. Good thing,….. because it’s important to instil the proper values in your children.

Comment by Justinian 02.16.12 @ 11:11 am

@Dan 72 – Remember Alan – I think I was a fresh or soph when he was DM!

Comment by CompLit 02.16.12 @ 11:17 am

Rev. George, an integral player on that ’63 football team was Rev. Bob Long who would become a Presbyterian minister. In fact I believe that he was a starter at end.

BTW, my recollection is that Pitt was scheduled to play Penn State the weekend after JFK was assassinated. The game was postponed as a result; however, the Orange Bowl committee had to make a selection before the postponed game took place. They gambled that Penn State would beat Pitt and chose them. Wrong decision/selection.

Comment by BigGuy 02.16.12 @ 11:27 am

Nice trip down memory lane.

My time with the Pitt Band made me a Pitt sports fan. I witnessed 2 years of Dave Hart and 2 years of Carl DePasqua without the benefit of alcohol.
Does anyone remember pep rallies on Friday nights in front of the union? The band would march down Cardiac Hill, play H2P at the Union, then march single file thru the Cathedral and then the Towers and then march back up Cardiac Hill. I get chest pains just thinking about that march today. The echo of the drum line in the Commons Room was awesome.

The elder Jack Anderson is still the most friendly, upbeat person I have ever met. And Jack the younger is right up there too.

Lets take one last victory over the hoopies.
Hail to Pitt!

Comment by dinosaur 71 02.16.12 @ 11:37 am

This was nice but were the hell is the RB coach
wisconsin has only 8 coachs is he in fear that if he names one wisconsin will take him also like thay did the last one. name a RB COACH

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.16.12 @ 11:51 am

This was good stuff good times but were is
the RB coach wisconsin has 8 coachs is our HC in
fear that if he names a RB coach that wisconsin
will take him like they did the last one.
name a RB coach .

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.16.12 @ 12:00 pm

Dan: Would REALLY be interested in your dad’s name since he plated centuries ago and I encouraged him. Incidentally, I would gladly trade some of the “yore” back for a few winnin g seasons. And to Big Guy: Yes, Bob Long was also a Presnyterian cleric. Chuck Rhinehart. RB from <t. Lebanon also qualifies. One would think with all that "holiness around the Panthers would have a better over all record. Not compAINING. WE do have a proud tradition!! Rev. GEORGE FROM Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 02.16.12 @ 12:00 pm

@dinosaur71 – And broken windows in the towers (courtesy of drum line) and marching (snaking) single file through busses on Fifth Ave. The friday pep rally was not a good time to be driving down Fifth !!!

Comment by CompLit 02.16.12 @ 12:12 pm

“One would think with all that “holiness around the Panthers would have a better over all record.”

Rev. George, Bob Long and Chuck Rhinehold tried their best, but I think that Pitt’s hellraisers overwhelmed them.

Comment by BigGuy 02.16.12 @ 12:33 pm

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