March 7, 2012

I’ll hit on the disappointing, but frustratingly predictable loss to Georgetown later. For now, the spectacle that is Big East, um, growth.

I don’t think anyone really thinks John Marinatto is a good commissioner of the Big East. The only debate really seems to be whether he is thoroughly incompetent or merely completely overmatched. The addition of Memphis — without even making them come to the Big East for the 2012 season — should have resolved the issue into the category of thoroughly incompetent. But in case anyone had any lingering doubts, the press conference today should be the clincher.

Temple joining is not the issue. It makes sense. Heck it is more reasonable than elevating Villanova at this point. Er, what?

The BIG EAST Conference Board of Directors also unanimously voted to continue working closely with Villanova University regarding its FBS football future and, in doing so, take into account its longstanding relationship and many contributions to the Conference over the past three decades to give all due consideration to a football membership application.

The Conference also fully supports the extensive, thoughtful and thorough process that Villanova is utilizing to evaluate its football program. To validate the BIG EAST Conference’s support of Villanova and its potential admission as a football program, the Conference has committed to offer financial assistance to cover future costs incurred by Villanova to exploring BIG EAST football membership.

In addition and to further demonstrate its support and consideration, the Conference will pledge to waive the football entry fee if Villanova is admitted within the next three years into the Conference as a football playing member, provided that it satisfies the Conference’s requirements for membership and the NCAA’s requirements for membership. We are confident that Villanova’s process will result in an outcome that’s in the best interest of the University and its accomplished athletics program.

I suppose it may be the cost of getting Temple into the Big East and resolving the schedule problems for the football schools in 2012, but given the money the Big East is giving up to help Villanova, then maybe it would have been cheaper to just pay Boise State’s exit fee from the MWC?


Well, at least Temple will pay their way into the Big East and out of the MAC and A-10.

Wait, what?

The MAC was particularly ornery, given that it would be losing a member about six months before the start of its gridiron season, and demanded the standard exit fee of $2.5 million be increased to $6 million.

“It’s been no secret that Temple has wanted to be in the Big East across the board for many, many years,” MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher told the Associated Press.

Temple will share that cost with the Big East, which will foot half of the bill and provide an interest-free loan for the remainder, which Temple will pay off over three years.

And apparently the Big East will also help pay off the exit of the A-10. You have a school that even the conference they are leaving knew how desperately they wanted back into the Big East. And Marinatto’s best deal was to pay half their enhanced exit fee and provide an interest free loan for the other half?

This on the heels of taking an equally desperate Memphis program — that has the backing of Fed Ex money — but failed to negotiate to get them into the Big East for 2012 despite everyone knowing how necessary that was.

Hell, by the time Pitt and Syracuse leave, the Big East could very well be paying their way into the ACC. Not that even Marinatto would tip his hand that badly after all the posturing about keeping Pitt and Cuse for 2 years. Right? Right?

Asked when he would have those conversations with Syracuse and Pitt, Marinatto told, “Hopefully, soon. Our membership is very pleased with where we’ve landed…so I hope to engage in conversations with both Pittsburgh and Syracuse very soon.”

Marinatto had previously maintained that both schools wouldn’t be able to depart until June 2014, 27 months from when they announced they would leave.

“We really haven’t had detailed conversations [with Syracuse and Pitt] but at this point in time we’re ready to have that conversation,” Marinatto said

Good, god. This is to the benefit of Pitt, and I’m offended by the level of incompetence and idiocy he demonstrates.

Who let the Owls out…Hoot…Hoot-Hoot-Hoot. Don’t like this one? How about: WE ARE…GARDNER-WEBB! Gives me chills!

Comment by HbgFrank 03.07.12 @ 10:19 pm

our home schedule is sooooooo bad..reall bad

Comment by pitt-for-life 03.07.12 @ 10:36 pm

Our home slate is so bad we should win every home game. The if we split away games that means we go 8-4. That would not be a bad first season for a new head coach.

Comment by Justin 03.07.12 @ 10:58 pm

to Justin,
It’s sooo sad…but true, although a VT blowout at home would certainly mess things up.

Anyway, we had 2 open spots on our home schedule (the TCU mess) and the Brawl, which i assume is filled by Temple. Who is filling in for the TCU game? I haven’t heard anything

Comment by ClarkLotTgate 03.07.12 @ 11:06 pm

Just saw the home slate and as those above have stated…WOW. It is flat-out awful. Is there anything else you can even say about it?

Comment by Pitt Rob 03.07.12 @ 11:08 pm

Our home schedule is so bad that the Big East should pay Pitt for letting TCU and WVU exit early making our schedule crap and causing the university lost money from ticket sales for those games. I can’t see how Pitts replacements on their schedule are considered equivalent to tcu and wvu.

Comment by PittFan28 03.07.12 @ 11:12 pm

@ClarkLotTgate, that would be something called Gardner-Webb. Posted above by HbgFrank, but, after glancing over it, you probably thought HbgFrank was cheering for an accounting firm or his stock portfolio!!!

All kidding aside, a Division 1AA school in North Carolina. Yes, I said Division 1AA, I refuse to use the FBS and FBS subdivision nonsense.

It is awful, but can’t blame this on anyone. We’ll be in the ACC soon enough!!! Yes, I know, not soon enough!!!!

Comment by Dan 03.07.12 @ 11:15 pm

Are fans of a team that’s lost 12 games the past two seasons really complaining about a weak schedule? Comedy. With all thats happened, its comforting to know we Pitt fans still have our short memories. We’d make great relief pitchers.

Comment by Cnorwood 03.07.12 @ 11:53 pm

This proves without a doubt how much we should thank our lucky stars we are leaving this “BCS”??? league for the sanity of the ACC. It cannot happen quick enough.

Comment by John In South Carolina 03.07.12 @ 11:55 pm

I guess this is the way the BE commissioner gets even with Pitt — Gardner-Webb… This is a lose, lose situation for Pitt. Can you imagine what this blog will be like if Pitt loses to GW? Ouch!

2013 can’t come fast enough.

Comment by MariettaMike 03.08.12 @ 6:52 am

Pitt Athletics is a national punchline right now.

Gardner Webb??? Gardner F’ing Webb????

Nice. Lets see how Stevie markets this catastrophe. Well at least the basketball team is good….er….never mind…

Comment by Coach Ditka 03.08.12 @ 7:03 am

So what we are saying is our 2012 schedule will have a Rutgers-esque feel to it. Big deal.

If you want to go to the games, go. If you don’t want to go, don’t. I’m tired of the caterwauling and woe-is-me attitude that is gaining volume around here these days.

Comment by ECH 03.08.12 @ 7:50 am

The schedule is horrible and the fault lies with the Big East. They let TCU go for nothing and then replace WVU with Temple, such a fair trade.

In regards to Gardner-Webb, the options were either do a random 1 game away or 1 game at home against a FCS team. Pitt couldn’t really do any home and away because the scheduled is booked for years to come. I personally would have went with the away game at FSU, but it’s not such a bad thing to have an easier schedule for the first year for coach Chryst.

Besides this is the last year we have to deal with such nonsense as fans with the ACC moving to 9 conference games the schedule is packed with quality opponents.

Comment by Wardapalooza 03.08.12 @ 8:00 am

I can handle Gardner-Webb. I can’t handle GW (or any other team) on a Wednesday or Thursday.

Comment by Yeti 03.08.12 @ 8:28 am

What’s worse is that ticket prices have increased for this crap. I’m demanding a price reduction for the crap product both on and off the field that I have been subjected to over the last 2 years!

Comment by Marco 03.08.12 @ 8:56 am

Plenty of problems and blame to share here. If the BE football schools had fought harder for improvement years ago then this mess wouldn’t exist. You must admit that bailing on the BE really didn’t help matters in the short term either. (don’t forget about the “non-revenue” sports. The soccer teams are going to lose a lot of games for a while in the ACC) But I’d like to throw some blame at Notre Dame and their unwillingness (selfishness) to become a full member of the BE. If they had, we’d still have Miami, VT and BC and none of this would have happened.

Water under the bridge now. We’ve made our bed so we can’t complain about the bed bugs.

Comment by jts 03.08.12 @ 8:58 am

The Gardner Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs

This year we also entertain Penguins, Hokie Bird, Cardinals and Owls

Comment by wbb 03.08.12 @ 9:00 am

PITT Fan28 Perfect summation! Big East should be forced to subsidize PITT. PITT is already forcing season ticket holders to purchase tickets other than end zone seating & i understand that seats behind visiting team (camara shot) are being reduced. For goodness sakes give me a MAC team. PITT owes Ohio Univ. a beating!(still not over that loss)===

Comment by DC33 03.08.12 @ 9:05 am

With Temple leaving the MAC, all those MAC schools loose a game. Won’t they be looking for someone to fill out their schedule? Couldn’t Pitt schedule a MAC school? I know its not the ideal scenerio but its better than the alternative one, Gardner-Webb.

Comment by pittdiser 03.08.12 @ 9:12 am

Also, Boise State and Nevada both play Hawai’i at home this season but only have 12 games scheduled. NCAA allows schools that play @ Hawai’i a 13th game. Can’t we talk to Boise and Nevada, throw them a few bones, and get a quality opponent?

Comment by pittdiser 03.08.12 @ 9:13 am

The MAC has so many teams that not everyone plays each other … thus, those who lose a league game would just reschedule with others in the league

Comment by wbb 03.08.12 @ 9:42 am

The fault for all this ultimately lies with the greed of the schools, and the conference jumping / realignments are only going to get worse as the money and insanity around CFB increases. We’ve got schools in different conferences for different sports now, and more ridiculous travel distances for all of them. It’s becoming absurd. Certainly the BE is the poster child for what’s wrong with it all.

As far as Pitt goes, hopefully the ACC will be more stable, but I wouldn’t bank on it being completely stable forever. I wouldn’t fret too much about this years schedule, as it’s a rebuilding year, and there’s enough good competition there for this year’s team to chew on. After all the chaos of the last couple of years, it’s unrealistic to think that we are going to be able to handle better competition that this in the fall, and a couple more lower level teams bodes well for a more positive first year for Chryst – and we sorely need that IMO. I don’t want it to become a habit, but this year it’s probably a good thing.

Comment by Steve 03.08.12 @ 9:46 am

@pittdiser, the MAC has 12 schools. So losing Temple isn’t that big of a deal and doesn’t affect the number of conference games. They will just replace Temple with another conference opponent. I’m sure Pitt tried hard to get a quality opponent, because they know it is going to be a hard sell. It was just nearly impossible on short notice with few opponent dates in the future.

Comment by Wardapalooza 03.08.12 @ 9:47 am

Which game is Homecoming?

Comment by TX Panther 03.08.12 @ 9:58 am

The MAC actually had 13 teams with Temple. The subtraction of Temple makes the schedule more balanced and also creates balanced divisions. That’s why it was so easy to get them.

Comment by Pitt Rob 03.08.12 @ 10:11 am

Quit complaining about the schedule. It is what it is….The BE screwed the pooch big time. I will take one year of this and then we’re off to the ACC!!!!

Comment by George 03.08.12 @ 12:59 pm

I agree. A throw away year followed by the jump to the ACC. Hopefully, with nice, bright, shiny Pitt script helmets!

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 03.08.12 @ 2:15 pm

Pitt Rob: The MAC added U Mass for football only to get to 14 teams, now they are back to 13. But my letting Temple out early they get $6million instead of the $2.5 if they waited 2 years. Not bad, for a team everyone knew would not be inthe MAC for long

Comment by dtf3 03.08.12 @ 5:05 pm

Just keep saying we will be in the ACC soon we will be in the ACC soon.
there now dont you feel better.

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.08.12 @ 6:06 pm

Sounds like Nova prostituted the vote for Temple to join the BE by getting their own guaranteed for free admission (with all expenses paid)to join the BE in football.

The BE commissioner must be smoking crack if he really believes that he has any leverage on PITT.

So glad to be looking at the BE through the rear view mirror. It is a shell of what it used to be. Poor leadership has ruined a once proud league.

On a final note, once again the BE basketball semi-finals involve four football playing schools. So much for those obstrutionist small catholic school believing that they are relevant…

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 03.09.12 @ 12:37 am

We can win our Last big least bcs with this lineup good for Coach Chryst to start and steal payday

Comment by 63Team 03.09.12 @ 3:04 pm

It could have been worse. If Temple had been an away game, it would have drawn fewer fans than a driving range in a hail storm and fewer viewers than a Joan Rivers home made sex tape.

Purgatory for a year…win the damn conference!!

Comment by SFPitt 03.11.12 @ 7:13 pm

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