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May 21, 2012

Madness in a Week

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Expansiopocolypse — Chas @ 2:31 pm

Last week, it seemed that things were beginning to slightly cool down from all the expansiopocolypse talk of Florida State and another ACC team (Clemson, Miami, VT, GT all being mentioned) fleeing to the Big 12. The FSU president put out a pointed statement talking down the Big 12. The details about media contracts were better explained.

Then this:

The champions of the Big 12 and SEC conferences will meet in a New Year’s Day bowl game annually beginning with the 2014 season, the conferences said Friday in a news release.

The five-year agreement calls for the champions of each conference to be in the matchup “unless one or both are selected to play in the new four-team model to determine the national championship,” the statement said.

“Should that occur, another deserving team from the conference(s) would be selected for the game,” the release said.

The style of the agreement will be similar to the one the Rose Bowl has with the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences.

This was a largely symbolic gesture, but one that was immediately treated with deeper meanings.

1) The SEC and Big 12 are looking for more money and found it by making what was simply the Cotton Bowl  a bigger thing over which they have more control, along with some more leverage.

As previously reported, BCS 2.0 will likely be a multigame television package centered around New Year’s Day and restricted to teams that meet a certain ranking. But a game like the recently beleaguered Orange Bowl will have to decide whether it’s willing to pony up for another go-around with the ACC’s champion, or whether it makes more sense to drop down and simply host a Capital One-type game between modestly ranked brand names.

Either way, BCS 2.0 will no longer require six games, as previously reported. With the SEC and Big 12 partnering up, it will need at most five if the anchor bowls serve as semifinals (Big Ten-Pac-12, SEC-Big 12, ACC and two open spots).

In reality, with this latest consolidation of conference power, two bowls will now trump all the others: Rose Bowl West and Rose Bowl East.

Roughly, the bowl system still has a place in college football. The SEC and Big 12 managed to get a new revenue stream and a little more attention on the New Years Day bowl games.

Not good for the ACC, but hardly the end of days. The fact is, outside of maybe 3 programs (Clemson, VT and FSU) there aren’t any other ACC (and we can include Pitt and Cuse in that list) programs that travel particularly well for bowl games. There’s a reason why the Belk (formerly the Tire) Bowl in Charlotte always tries to make sure that one of the teams is from the same state. Sure, not much for the hotels but at least there are tickets sold. But, then, the ACC bowl line-up has always been a step below the SEC, Big 10 and Big 12.

As an aside, take away the Rose Bowl and the Pac-12 bowl affiliations are worse than the ACC.

2) Then there were Four. Power conferences, major college football is now residing in just four conferences. Sure there is a 4-team playoff. Sure this will be a bidding war for the game between the Fiesta (traditional Big 12 BCS location), Sugar (traditional SEC spot) and Jerry World (big money out there from Dallas). The fact is that this deal has the top teams (that don’t make the BCS) from the Pac-12, Big 10, Big 12 and SEC pairing off against each other. That means while the ACC isn’t Big East bad, it is now on the outside.

Asked what he would if he were ACC or Big East commissioner today, Neinas, laughing, said: “Better get a good bowl.”

The Big East, ACC and whoever else is still playing in FBS don’t have war chests. They have become content farms for leftovers.

The Champions Bowl (working title) became a traveling road show that will be played at the site of the highest bidder. The Big 12 and SEC champions will play each year unless one or both champs are in the playoff. If that’s the case, a second choice from the conference(s) is picked.

It’s what the deal represents: If you haven’t noticed, the top level of college football is now narrowed to the Big Four – Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC. Those 48 schools control most of the influence, power, money and, most importantly, product in the Football Bowl Subdivision. That shouldn’t be a surprise but the announcement of the Champions Bowl put a face on college athletics’ latest study in Darwinism.

“Nothing’s changed,” one industry source said. “The Big East is diminished and the ACC is not the same as those other top leagues.”

And that means ripe for plucking.

If you’re not in the Big Four, you’re not big time. That means you, Miami and Florida State, who suddenly have a huge decision to make. Remain outside the Big Four with the ACC making $17 million per year in a league that can’t compete for a national championship, or take your valuable brands and petition for entry into the Big 12.

Based on Friday’s announcement – the two biggest football names in the ACC could soon be making $25 million a year in the Big 12.

And if that happens, the ACC becomes a whole lot less desirable to a Notre Dame that has to be thinking seriously about joining a conference. Put it this way: ND’s isn’t going to get better access when the four-team playoff debuts in 2014.

Why not just cut to the chase? Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame to the Big 12. Even the other members of the Big Four (SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12) would have take notice that potential earning power.

In other words, doom and gloom for the ACC. The conference is just a step above the Big East, at best.

Reality seems like this should be something else. The fact is, the Big 12 will have their TV deal officially wrapped up soon. That means if the Big 12 were to expand again. Even with FSU coming aboard, the whole contract isn’t renegotiated. There is merely adjustments.

A week ago, Frank the Tank was explaining how there were so many reasons that FSU leaving for the Big 12 was at best short-sighted.

As for my opinion: if Florida State is seriously considering leaving the ACC for the Big 12, then that would be incredibly short-sighted.  This is the ultimate “penny wise and pound foolish” move.  Eight months ago, the world was discussing whether the Big 12 would even exist going forward.  Texas or Oklahoma sneezing gives the entire Big 12 pneumonia and that’s something that’s never going to change.  Regardless of how large and long the new Big 12 TV contract might be, the one thing that you know about the ACC is that its core of North Carolina, Duke and Virginia aren’t interested in going anywhere.  Maybe the ACC can be weakened on the football front by defections by the likes of Florida State, but the league is going to live on.  In contrast, the biggest flight risks in the Big 12 are the members of its core itself: Texas and Oklahoma.  A blue blood athletic program like Kansas was talking to the Big East back in 2010 for fear of not having a place to land.  As a result, any complaints from Tallahassee about the supposed power of Duke and UNC over the ACC ring hollow for anyone that can remember only eight months back to the primary example of what happens when a school truly runs a conference.  The Big 12 is a power conference that has cheated death twice in two years.

Now I’m seeing arguments that Pitt should see if they can get to the Big 12 instead of the ACC.

Yet, it does seem that there is a sense of inevitability that FSU will bolt the ACC.

One source went as far as to say, “at this point the move is inevitable.”

Important dates to watch will be: May 30th, the Big 12 will have its conference meetings. June 15th, the new commissioner of the Big 12 when Bob Bowlsby will take office and August 15th, the deadline for any institution to withdraw from the ACC.

Florida State leaving the ACC this summer will culminate a process that began with initial talks with an intermediary representing the Big 12 last November. Florida State did not officially reach out to the Big 12 until a week before the ACC’s most recent deal with ESPN was announced. Florida State has long been frustrated with the leadership of its current conference and in the Big 12 believes it has found a partner that is more focused, and in touch with the current economic climate of collegiate athletics.

Even those who didn’t believe it could happen are thinking otherwise now.

Florida State and Clemson aren’t leaving the ACC as much as they’re being forced out by the ACC’s refusal to adapt to college athletics’ changing landscape.  FSU is acting with a survival instinct.  Major college sports is currently experiencing the most tumultuous and revolutionary period in its history.  Fifty years of change is taking place within the span of months and the ACC has been mostly flatfooted responding to it.  This goes way beyond a perceptually bad TV deal.  This is about the ACC and its leadership at a fundamental level not being able to recognize and embrace college athletics’ changing landscape, which is increasingly driven by football and dollars, and then chart a course for itself and its member institutions to navigate those waters.

The ACC proactively expanded — twice within 10 years. For football and for the future. They have set very obvious bait  — Miami, BC, Cuse and Pitt — to make the conference as  attractive as the Big 10 to Notre Dame. The ACC will not give them the football independence/home in all other sports option; but they might concede to going back to an 8-game conference schedule.  The ACC has not waited to be raided. I admit to my viewpoint being skewed by what I saw from Big East actions that far exceed any claimed misses and late responses by the ACC.

Less than a year ago, the Big 12 appeared to once more be on the verge of collapse with Oklahoma and OSU poised to go to the Pac-12 without Texas if need be. And Texas sending out feelers to the ACC. The previous summer, it seemed that Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado and even Texas Tech were inevitably going to the Pac-10 to create the first 16-team super conference.

Both times, the deal collapsed late. Now the Pac-12 seems set, and likely to stay at 12 with no other candidates likely available.

The Big 12 was twice on the verge of collapsing into itself. Now they have stabilized themselves and have fans of name-brand schools look at them with eyes a-flutter — or at least like this:

You have fans at other ACC schools looking for liferafts. Even if the reality makes it unlikely.

I’m still not sure. Mainly because things aren’t completely shaken out. As much as it seems that these things move so quickly, they don’t.

There are still lots of questions about how much the Big 12 wants to expand just as they have stabilized. And, big surprise a bit of a split on opinion by Texas and Oklahoma. There is a frenzy because there isn’t real information yet. Just speculation fed by tangential stories that create a narrative. Everyone is racing to figure out the endgame, before everything is finished.

My personal opinion: FSU and probably Clemson might leave for the Big 12 at some point in the next couple years. You can’t say never at this point. It won’t be this year, though. Too many unanswered questions. Too many things up in the air. While there appears to be strong momentum from the fans and significant parts of the Board of Trustees at FSU, the academic side seems firmly opposed. Probably not enough to stop it, but enough to delay a while. Plus, despite the FSU-perspective that the ACC isn’t trying to keep FSU, the ACC will not simply roll over for FSU bolting.

Finally, what about Pitt? Not much. Pitt isn’t going to back out of the ACC for the Big 12. The school does not see itself as a mid-west school. The fit of the ACC is right. Pulling a TCU would mean coming up with $20 million for the ACC. Pitt doesn’t want to pay above the $5 million exit fee of the Big East. Don’t see them tossing $20 million to the ACC without playing a season there.

The ACC *is* an attractive fit for Pitt in many, many ways. I want us to go there and stay there. If the conference literally falls apart, then what? Can an urban, pro-town school like Pitt really try to become a Big-12 type, completely setting aside the whole fast-fading concept of “student-athlete” just so we can *attempt* to hang with the football factories and rake in the dough? I don’t see us being able to pull that off.

At that point you begin to ask yourself what the whole concept of “sports conference” really means. Is it just a delivery mechanism for TV bucks with not even a hint of academic integrity or recognition of sports other than football?

Comment by BATR 05.21.12 @ 2:55 pm

There is only one way to combat this … the Big East and the ACC announces 16 team double-elim post season tournament, and will not participate in the NCAA tourney

Comment by wbb 05.21.12 @ 3:00 pm

of course I was talking post season basketball tournamnet. Note that except for Kentucky Florida and Mich St, all other NCAA champs in this millennium are from the BE or ACC

Comment by wbb 05.21.12 @ 3:19 pm

Comment by wbb 05.21.12 @ 3:37 pm

I think this is bad news for the ACC, although it only formalizes what has already been in practice with the BCS. I do like wbb’s suggestion, although I think landing Notre Dame would be the better approach….but boycotting the NCAA and starting your own tournament might actually be simpler than landing ND for all sports….

Comment by CJK 05.21.12 @ 3:43 pm

The WVU move looks better everyday. They will double what they paid in an exit fee in the first year. But Pitt won’t pay more than the $5mil and is stuck in the BE this year and who knows maybe next. Nice move Stevie.

Comment by JP 05.21.12 @ 3:45 pm

Let me be clear I still think the ACC is 1 million times better for Pitt than staying in the Big East…I just think the ACC’s power move here is to land ND…make them an offer they can’t refuse…

Comment by CJK 05.21.12 @ 3:47 pm

Sorry to learn of Coach Stewart’s passing. He seemed like a genuine gentleman. I’m not sure about his replacement, who reminds me of another high-octane, overly ambitious jock. On another matter: must we go through another conference circus game? ACC. Big 12,SEC. Big Least—whatever. It all sounds sleazy from this corner. Has Pitt explored the Ivy League? At least, we knowthey are stable and affluent! Rev. George from Columbus where the big topic is whether or not to get a franchise in the NBA. Really!!!

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.21.12 @ 3:50 pm

just think … Pitt was actually the B12’s 1st choice last summer to replace Missouri. However, the conference looked to be unstable .. probably due to the threats that TX and Okla were going to bolt to the PAC12, and of course to TX favored status, Steve and Nordy apparently thought the ACC was the better choice.

Comment by wbb 05.21.12 @ 3:51 pm

What I don’t understand about the Big 12 is how is a conference with Texas, Oklahoma, and 8 schools in Cornfield County going to generate interest/TV ratings on the east coast? What am I missing here?

Comment by George 05.21.12 @ 3:52 pm

Or the West coast.

I only wish Big 12 for selfish reasons so I can travel to games via car.

But, the ACC is the better fit if Pitt values academics, tradition, geographic footprint of alumni and doesn’t want to become a football factory where it takes gross money, dishonesty and lack of morals in order to successfully compete.

Pitt is an Eastern school and not a Plains school.

Comment by TX Panther 05.21.12 @ 4:13 pm

I’m not too concerned. If the likes of FSU and VT bolt, so what? The ACC isn’t going away any time soon. It’s still a good fit in terms of geography, hoops, and academics. And it becomes more winnable in football. Maybe we take a slight hit in prestige and money, but we also would have the chance to do what teams like Boise and TCU did – dominate a lesser conference and wind up in the top 10.

Comment by Lollard 05.21.12 @ 4:19 pm

IMO, this is totally overblown chicken-little paranoia. For starters Virginia Tech is going nowhere without Virginia (UVA) since the commonwealth of Virginia will simply prohibit it. Secondly, the rest of college FB will not let those four conferences get away with shutting everyone else out of a legit shot at the MNC. The only way they get away with doing that is if they separate from the NCAA completely (football and basketball and all other sports).

All this being said, the ACC should create a bowl game where the highest rated ACC team not in the playoff plays say, in the Orange Bowl vs the highest ranked non-ACC team available.

Finally, I remain skeptical the Big 12 as presently constituted will actually get a bump in their TV deal since the TV viewer numbers don’t justify more money than the ACC’s deal and, in addition, because the current bad economy should be having a downward drag on the advertising dollars available to pay for it.

Comment by pitt1972 05.21.12 @ 4:26 pm

pitt1972 – you make rational arguments but these are irrational times. I’m pessimistic about things and indeed paranoid.

Comment by TX Panther 05.21.12 @ 4:40 pm

Coach Stewart was a rare old-school role model that was impossible to dislike. May God bless and comfort his family and friends.

Comment by Chuck Morris 05.21.12 @ 4:43 pm

I am just as happy with the move to the ACC now as I was the day Pitt made the announcement. Let those lower tier schools hold all the bowl games they want. It will never change the fact that they are a joke academically. I would hate to see Pitt become one of these Big 12 or SEC football factories that masquerades as an institute of higher learning. Pitt has made the right move. It would be foolish to question this just because some third-tier jokers are trying to hijack D-1 college football.

RIP Coach Stewart.

Comment by CBC 05.21.12 @ 4:58 pm

Still love the ACC move. Let’s be honest, hard for Nordy or Steve to see this coming. I think most of us loved the move.

I just hope they can keep it together. I don’t even mind if we aren’t in the “Big 4”, so what, it’s the “Big 4” and the ACC, then the rest.

Would hate to lose a couple teams though, before we even get a chance to play them.

Comment by Dan 05.21.12 @ 5:09 pm

How about this. How about the ACC Champ vs. Notre Dame, if they have 9 wins or more or something like that.

If there is a slot at the table open for everyone, i.e. 1 out of 4, ND really won’t have to join a conference.

Allthough, makes you wonder what they’ll do with their olympic sports if BE falters.

RIP Bill Stewart. Seemed like a good guy, that got crapped on by everyone in Hoopieland.

Comment by Dan 05.21.12 @ 5:12 pm

ND will hold out from joining a conference for as long as it can because it still has big TV $$$ for football. The Big East provides an excellent oulet for basketball, especially with so many “Catholic League” teams.

NDU’s primary fan base is on the East Coast with the exception of Chicago leading one to believe that the Big East makes sense for the time being with the ACC coming in to play once a decision is forced upon the Irish because of Bowl consolidations.

I still, however, can see ND joining the Big 10 (11) because of travel expenses and the simple fact that the TV Networks will fall all over themselves with megacash for a Big 10(11) which includes ND. Remember, ND can always play USC as one of its non-conference games and can rotate Pitt on the schedule two years on and two off, etc. ND gets the chance to play in the Rose Bowl and has a wide open field to compete in for Olympic sports without having to fly to FSU, Miami
or Atlanta. Don’t assume that the ACC is the “next best” option to the Big East for ND.

Comment by isnore 05.21.12 @ 5:37 pm

What I don’t understand is why there is not an alliance between the B10, PAC12 and ACC to combat what the SEC is trying to pull. There is strength in numbers and the B10, PAC 12, and ACC all stand for academics as weel as athletics.
Why raid the ACC by the B10 and have to split the money more ways. If the academic conferences bind together then they can establish a playoff format that gives everyone a fair shot at the football national championship.
The alliance by the B10, Pac 12 and ACC would have more voting members for a new BCS system than the SEC and B12.

Comment by spindler's spirit 05.21.12 @ 6:00 pm

Because academics don’t matter anymore. The scholar/athlete is a myth. What kills me is that these Presidents and AD’s are calling the shots and we’re talking about best case $30M per team for the athletics. This is when many schools face budget shortfalls from the state on the academic side of $100M+. This is quickly becoming a minor league system for the NFL. There is no honor among thieves. I’m proud of my alma mater for more than just sports. However, I’d like to have my school stand a chance of playing for a national championship in football. I just hope Pitt doesn’t get left out after all this and Pitt doesn’t have to become a football factory to compete.

Comment by TX Panther 05.21.12 @ 6:08 pm

I’m interested in two college sports: football and basketball. To me, the ACC is below the BE in basketball. New rivalries will have to be developed, but I suppose that I can live with ACC basketball although I no longer will be able to attend Pitt games.

In football, we haven’t heard about an anticipated penalty for Miami re: their recruiting violations. Worst case (but possible) scenario: the death penalty. FSU and Clemson moving? Possible. FSU’s program has been down. The assumption is that it will rise to the top again, but there is no guarantee. If both schools bolt, we still will have VT. Wow!

To me it was a real shame that John Marinatto didn’t move to add UCF, Houston and SMU more quickly. The BE could have stayed together with a 12 team league: Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn, Louisville, Cinci, WVU, USF, TCU, Houston, SMU, & UCF. Given the market and tossing in basketball, the BE would have received a sizable TV contract, larger than the contract that the ACC just signed. But Nordy and Steve cast the die.

Comment by BigGuy 05.21.12 @ 6:12 pm

Will there be interest in a cotton bowl where okstate plays florida. Look, everyone is looking at this as bad news and separating the alleged big four conferences. TV sets are power and there are more tv sets in the east and northeast than in any other place. Who watches all these secondary bowl games anyway?

You can put as much window dressing on the non-playoff teams from each conference playing each other, but at the end of the day, you have a 7th rated team playing an 8th rated team. It should be a good game, but who really cares?

Society is about crowning a champion. That is what we care about most. Quick quiz, who finished in seventh place last year in the final rankings? Who gives a rat. At the end of the day, they are hyping this like a new world order, when in reality, it is a 7 vs. 8 matchup. The paranoids need to chill.

Finally, I proposed about a month ago that the ACC , Big East and others seceed from the NCAA, especially in bball but beter for the ACC’s and Big East’s. The main reason is that the big four conference would no longer play against their typical cupcakes and we would see football teams with 3 losses going for championships. It would diminish that playoff system if all four leagues were forced to play each other. Where it would be crippling is in basketball. Who would those teams play and who would want a tournament full of 19-16 teams.I do have a rant about the ncaa and where they get their funding, but also includes walking away from that organization, if done right!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.21.12 @ 6:52 pm

I don’t know BigGuy. I think the only thing that could have saved the BE was ND coming in as a full member. That was never going to happen…Now, ND joining the ACC, that is possible. Adding Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC in basketball certainly puts them on a par with the BE.

Comment by HbgFrank 05.21.12 @ 6:57 pm

The ACC is the better fit yes but if the ACC
falls apart like if 2 teams leave say FSU and
VT then we are in the same boat we were in the
big east.
a conference that is known for BB with no push in football we will be just like we were.
we will have gained nothing on the football side
and if the ACC would than add ucon and rutgers
we would just be big east 1 and big east 2 or acc 1 or acc 2 how ever you want to say it.
It would suck.
if it happens we are screwed face it only hope is know one leaves and that the acc starets playing better football becuse if we all win more games that changes every thing.

Comment by Frankcan 05.21.12 @ 6:58 pm

Fuck it. Let em go. Grab Rutgers and UCONN to get back to 14 to keep the TV contract, take Nova, Gtown, ND and St. John’s along for the ride in basketball. Drop the tourney back in MSG and do our thing.

Comment by Chris 05.21.12 @ 7:36 pm

I long for the days of independence.

Comment by TX Panther 05.21.12 @ 7:50 pm

Think of this the travel in the big 12 would have been a bitch but we could have had home games with texas home games with oklahoma and tcu and would have still had ND to play and the year that it worked out that way none of us would have missed a game we would have been back in major college football how well we would have done i dont know
but that is how we should be playing football
agenest the best and tell me that wouldent have been fun and dont forget we were there first pick
but the ACC is a better fit but i know i will be
envious when WVU plays a home game agenest oklahoma this year and next year when they play a home game agenest TEXAS and we play who NCS OR DUKE or who ever we cant compare we will be left in the dust as far as football goes like you have said FSU is no body now and vt is the only good team in the ACC clemson was beat bye WVU what 70 to 21 or something so while we play scrap they play the royalty of football i know we were a better fit in the acc but if you love football you have to say maybe we screwed the poch agein

Comment by Frankcan 05.21.12 @ 8:06 pm

wbb–I doubt that stabiliy of the B12 was ever much of an issue for Nordy and Steve in making their decision. I doubt they ever wanted to go to the B12 because of its geography. I doubt it would have been seriously considered even if it hadn’t had the stability issue. In other words, even after all that has transpired, given the choice to make again, I think it would still be the ACC over the B12–irrespective of fan opinion.

Comment by pitt1972 05.21.12 @ 8:08 pm

Why would vt leave the acc? The acc has been so good to them. Theyve now had, what, 12 strait 10 win seasons? They wont have that success in the b12 and its a down grade in basketball. That would be a very irrational move. I still dont think the move is worth it for fsu, either. Its amazing that wvu could end up benefitting from their move more than pitt. Its just amazing. With that said, this is still NOT a done deal. Relax fellas

Comment by Pk 05.21.12 @ 8:23 pm

Agree with Chris. I’ll stay positive and say that if FSU and Clemson leave, we have an easier road to the playoff. Before you laugh that off, remember, the “U” built its reputation in the Big East, and it was bad then too! Also, I happen to be a fan of college basketball, so adding UCONN would be a big gain for ACC basketball.

Comment by HbgFrank 05.21.12 @ 8:26 pm

Academics reign supreme in the Big 12

link to

Comment by giveitarest 05.21.12 @ 8:27 pm

Somehow, I don’t think LBJ would mind. He might even be proud.

Comment by Pitt Dad 05.21.12 @ 8:55 pm

It cost 20 million to leave the ACC. FSU better start saving now. Pitt fans will watch Pitt, Syracuse fans will watch Syracuse. We will not watch another game if Pitt is on TV. TV networks know this and there is only so much TV money. To get more TV money you need more TV eyes and where do they come from? Big 12 annexes FSU so they get FSU eyes but how much more do the B12 teams get?

Comment by Frank 05.21.12 @ 9:54 pm

@give it a rest…”Pubic Affairs”, LMAO!!!

Comment by Dan 05.21.12 @ 10:03 pm

PITT has a great fit in the ACC (with or without FSU and Miami).

B12 is like a bad marriage that just went through counseling. It is just a matter of time before the problem (Texas) resurfaces and the PAC 12 becomes the PAC 16 (OU, OSU, TT, Baylor or TCU). B12 is too unstable and the Texas problem is real.

My guess is that FSU and possibly CLemson or Miami jump but Rutger and UConn fills the void.

Remember, the BIG EAST conceptually was not bad. In fact the basketball was the best conference ever created. What it lacked was basketball and football symmetry. The ACC (NEW BIG EAST) solves this problem and don’t forget one important media fact. More TV’s on the eastern seaboard than any place else. So the ACC will always be fine. Especially with the departure of FSU and Miami (or clemson) and the addition of Rutger and UCONN.


1) BC
2) Syracuse
4) Rutgers
6) Maryland
7) VT
8) UVA
9) NC St
10) WF
11) UNC
12) Duke
13) GT
14) Clemson (or Miami)

If the ACC goes to 16 then look for UC and UofL to come on board. ND is an outsider but I still believe that they end up in the B10 to round it out to 12

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 05.21.12 @ 10:09 pm

ND won’t go to the Big 10 – their Alumni head East. What markets make the Big 10 intriguing to ND? Not Chicago – ND already owns that market. I’ll give you Minneapolis and Indianapolis but those aren’t markets that give you much exposure. Iowa? Detroit? Cleveland? Nebraska?

The ACC delivers Florida, Atlanta, Charlotte and Boston. If ND joins, either UCONN or Rutgers will also come aboard giving them NY – people will say Syracuse but they deliver NYC like Pitt would deliver Philly (they don’t).

The Big 10 can’t compete with those markets when you are talking about ND grads. ND is a private, Catholic institution that has a less regionalized alumni base than typical Big 10 schools. It’s not a good fit and they can get as much $$ elsewhere.

I can’t see ND going to the Big 12 because Texas would always loom over them with the deal they got…unless they gave ND the same privileges.

IF ND joins a conference the ACC is the best bet – otherwise, they keep going at it solo.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.21.12 @ 10:32 pm

…and I forgot DC in that list of markets.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.21.12 @ 10:32 pm

Regardless of how the NCAA football “playoff” championship game ends up, Pitt belongs in the ACC and I hope they stay there. If the “playoff” scenario excludes the ACC, so be it.

For those Pitt Blathers thinking that Pitt will ever vie for a football national championship, forget about it. That does not mean that Pitt can’t be competitive, it can, to some degree. We Pitt fans should be happy joining the ACC. Overall, Pitt can be competitive in all ACC sports and travel to away games are all within driving distance for Pitt fans to most of the ACC schools.

What conference Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Notre Dame eventually end up playing in should be of no concern to us Pitt fans because we can’t control the eventual outcome.

Hopefully, next year, Pitt and Syracuse will be in the ACC for all collegiate sports and I, as a Pitt fan, will be elated.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by MariettaMike 05.22.12 @ 12:29 am

It seems to me we’re jumping off the Titanic, only to be found that we are now onboard the Lusitania.
In fact I believe there was an old Rod Serling’s Night Gallery episode just like that.

Someone mentioned if FSU & Miami/Clemson bolt for the Big 12, we replace with them with Uconn/Rutger
Seriously, yea those are equal football schools.
NOT. I gotta believe if FSU & one leave for Big 12, another 2 will leave for the SEC. What next for the ACC to replace those 2, USF & UCF. lol

Start negotiating with the Big 12, they are known to want a neighbor for Wvu. Make a lot of noise, that PITT is serious, so that the Big 10 takes notice. Would the Big 10 want a Big 12 team right in the heart of the big 10, that being PITT. Maybe, just maybe if the cards were played right, we could parlay Big 12 interest into a Big 10 invite. It’s at least worth a try if PITT is going to stay relevant in college football.

Because everything is pointing towards the Big 4 conferences in football. And at this point, PITT is not part of the Big 4 !! When the music stops, we need to be in the one of the Big 4 deck chairs

Comment by Emel 05.22.12 @ 2:07 am

As the Conference Turns… What a waste of digits.

Let’s talk Tino!

Comment by PittofDreams 05.22.12 @ 6:58 am

Pitt fans pine to vacation in sunny Florida. They will travel to Miami, Orlando and even Jacksonville rather than Charlotte,Birmingham or Dallas. Thus the ACC is more sensuble for the Panthers than Big 12 country. N.D. will do what is best for N.D. Always have, always will. So, Bloggers quit fussing about what MAY happen with the ACC and start dreaming about the Orange Bowl in January and scenic Carolina in October. For Steve and Nordy, academics and ticket sales are what count. That, my friends is NOT ABNORMAL. Rev. George from Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.22.12 @ 7:05 am

Or we can talk Todd.

Not that anyone cares… but seems Mr. Napoleon Complex is back to work building relationships.

“I (Emperor Todd Graham) want to do things no one else is doing. That’s one of the great strengths we have. There are 70,000 students on four campuses, or something like that. We’ve got power in numbers. This has got to be a place that’s difficult to play in. I know we had 10,000-11,000 students at the (games) last year. I want that to double.”

We’ll see.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.22.12 @ 7:15 am

I was away all weekend… what I don’t get is why some think the FSU leaving rumors are baseless or don’t matter. If anything, the rumbling of FSU and Clemson leaving get louder every day. And Pitt fans who say who cares about FSU and Clemson leaving arent’t seeing the big picture. If FSU and Clemson leave, then the TV contract goes down which will lead to other teams leaving like UNC, VTech and Miami. I don’t buy the whole V-Tech won’t leave cause of politics thing. If SEC offers V-Tech then they are gone.

Also, you can’t replace FSU and Clemson with UConn and Rutgers, unless you like Pitt being in the Big East part II.

@Emel you are spot on. If Pitt wants to be even close to relevant in football, then Pitt needs to be in one of the Big 4. Better now than later.

Seriously, if you care about the legitimacy and future of Pitt football, then you have to be worried about the ACC.

Comment by Wardapalooza 05.22.12 @ 7:56 am

If they decide to take the four conference champions and put them in the playoff, there will be lawsuits. I suspect that they will take the six conference champions and two at-large. Everyone wins and all of this conference nonsense goes away.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 05.22.12 @ 8:50 am

Can we be realistic? Pitt will never be relevant in football. Pitt is never going to win a national championship in football. No, those are reserved for just a few teams: USC, Texas, OK, Alabama, Florida, OSU. We will never ever compete with those schools. Can we put it together for a few seasons and beat those teams on occasion? Sure. But why jump through hoops to be part of a system that doesn’t fit your personality.

The ACC is perfect for Pitt. The conference values academics and doesn’t require that the women’s volleyball team travel to Manhattan, Kansas. I personally don’t care if FSU and Clemson think the grass is greener in Tornado Alley. The bubble of this college football nonsense will eventually burst and schools will wish they had used more logic than greed.

And yes, I would be happy returning to the Big East of before Miami, VT, and BC left.

Comment by Denny 05.22.12 @ 9:02 am

@ Wardapalooza

I have to differ with you. The FSU/Clemson rumors ARE primarily baseless. Hence the term “rumor”. The only thing said by a principal within either organization that could be considered feeding into those rumors, the emotional comments by FSU BOT Chair, have been not only retracted by Haggard himself, but largely publicly refuted by FSU’s President. Even the stated comments from the BigXII’s acting commissioner point to a lack of consensus within its membership in regards to expansion. The rest of the firestorm is being fed by the blogosphere and college football “experts” who are loving the fact that they can get paid by their respective publishers for their comments during what is historically a blackout time in the college football year. Yet, everyone who is fixated on the impending doom of the ACC, is latched on to the conjecture like it is some sort of overwhelming definitive evidence.

Look, in this environment where San Diego State can be legitimately connected to a conference called the Big East, anything is possible. Could FSU/Clemson/VT/Duke/NC State, et al switch to another conference? Sure, they COULD. But, when the current ACC landscape and the complexities of its member institutions are examined without the cloud of emotion veiling the view, the course of predicted mass exodus doesn’t seem quite so reasonable or inevitable.

It is entirely possible a meteor could scream out of the sky and land squarely on my head. Yet somehow I get past my impending demise and leave my house every day and go about my business. What we know is what is true: Pitt will be an active member in the ACC sooner than later, in the ACC Pitt will be competing with similar like-minded institutions, and Pitt’s football success will be based entirely on the staff and the players winning games.

Comment by ECH 05.22.12 @ 9:32 am

Several people make good points, that kind of clash with some others good points, but, I think it wraps up into one thought for a lot of us.

1). Yes, I think %99 of us are happy we’re in the ACC. Yes, it is where we belong. Yes, great road trips, great hoops, good football, great olympic sports, great geography, great academics.

I don’t think any of us are arguing about that.

2.) If the ACC would lose Florida State and Clemson, and just for arguments sake, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State.

This is a totally different animal, from what I and most thought we were getting into.

To just say replace those four with UCONN, Rutgers, S. Fla, and Central Fla. is really like being back in the ol’ Big East discussions.

Here we go again!! And to say replacing them won’t take a lot of the luster off of, what was going to be a fantastic move, is a bit naive, or possibly, being a bit defensive. (I understand this.)

I also understand, that is what they may have to do, not questioning that. The excitement of the ACC will definitely be knocked down several notches.

Still better than the BE, yes, but not the ACC I thought we were going to be in.

Comment by Dan 05.22.12 @ 9:37 am

Also, I don’t know how many of us really have delusions/illusions of a National Championship, maybe a few do, personally, I’m hoping for a regualar top 20 team, and some good bowls.

However, if the new playoff format would shut out the ACC, or make it harder for them to qualify, or harder to have two teams in the top 5 or 6 bowl games, then it does hurt the ACC is prestige.

When you’re playing a game, any game, even if you may not be able to win, there has to be a chance and a thought, that if you do things right, you can win.

Not at the table, just an also-ran conference, that resembles a bit of what we just got out of.

***Last point. Yes, lots of rumors and speculation. Only time will tell, but, this is a sports blog, about Pitt, and this is the hot topic of the past couple weeks. So, we’re bs’ing about it.***

Let’s hope FSU and Clemson decide to stay, or possibly never were going in the first place.

Comment by Dan 05.22.12 @ 9:42 am

I understand FSU and Clemson, but why and where would Georgia Tech and and NC State go? There’s no way they go to a trashy academic conference like the Big 12 or SEC. I know football money is important, but not every university is myopic enough to only chase football dollars.

Comment by Denny 05.22.12 @ 10:21 am

I too think there is too much hand wringing going on over this. Speculating and debating the future possibilities is one thing, but why actually worry about it until there is really something to worry about?

If FSU and/or Clemson leave the ACC, do we really think that is the only domino that is going to fall? Pitt and college football do not exist in a vaccuum. For every domino that falls, 2 or 3 more will fall with it. And so on. Look at how this started. A&M was moving the the SEC. NOW look where we are! Back when that was just speculation, was Pitt and Syracuse jumping to the ACC, and WVU to the Big 12 even a whisper of a thought?? Nope. How about a college football playoff becoming reality? No, again. There are far too many variables to consider to really know how one move will affect the rest of the field.

I look at it this way. I was more or less happy in the Big East as it was if none of this conference hopping ever happened. I had no illusions of it ever becoming the SEC or even the Big 12. It was a conference Pitt could compete to win on an annual basis, and if they did win it on occasion, they’d compete against the best of the rest. The ACC as currently composed presents a slightly greater challenge to win it. If FSU and Clemson leave, the odds of Pitt winning it become more like they were in the Big East. EXCEPT — they are still pulling in triple the money from TV than they were before. So, to me, no matter how you look at it, the move is still an upgrade.

What is the important thing here really. Having the most bestest best conference? Or having a good football team that we can get behind? And taking it a step further, how many people here went to Pitt because of the football team? I know I didn’t. I went because of the excellent education it offered, and my degree is the most prized thing Pitt will ever give me regardless of how many football games are won. I would not want Pitt to compromise its academic integrity in any way just so we can say “hey look at us and our awesome football conference”!

Comment by JCE 05.22.12 @ 10:25 am

If Pitt somehow goes undefeated and has no shot at a playoff to determine the national champ, that would be a travesty. That could happen if the ACC is left out. But nobody knows how this playoff system will eventually work.

I still think if no schools get poached that the ACC could become the 3rd best football conference and the best basketball conference. The Eastern seaboard has the TV sets, the right demographics and growth, and it’s where the vast majority Notre Dame alum reside.

I hope the FSU’s see this and have patience instead of going for the quick buck.

Comment by TX Panther 05.22.12 @ 10:26 am

JCE – I had the choice of Pitt and Penn State. Both solid academic schools but at the time Penn State was significantly better. However, what sold me on Pitt was the vibrant city atmosphere and Pitt football. I grew up watching Marino and Hugh Green. I just didn’t see myself rooting for another team particularly a JoePa coached team. Football is part of a healthy college experience.

Nonetheless, I also don’t want Pitt to compromise its academic integrity, but I do want Pitt to have every opportunity as the Bama’s of this college landscape to be successful in sports. Pitt’s brand is powerful due to the right balance between academics and athletics.

Comment by TX Panther 05.22.12 @ 10:39 am

TX Panther — totally understand. Didn’t mean to say that football should not be a consideration. Just that it should not be the primary or only one. Athletics certainly has a role to play in the identity of a school.

Comment by JCE 05.22.12 @ 11:02 am

Unfortunately, for many kids these days, football and sports is the primary reason for selecting a school or the choice is made based on the school’s party and social life qualifications.

It looks like conference affiliation now has everything to do with football and very little to do with 95% of the other scholie sports and the academic side.

Comment by TX Panther 05.22.12 @ 11:14 am

@Denny, just using those two as examples.

@JCE, good points. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree a little bit.

Part of the fun, excitement, enthusiasm for me, is who the opponent is when Pitt plays.

Having FSU and Clemson coming to Heinz, and going on road trips to those places are part of the excitement for me in joining the ACC, along with the many other schools in the new conference.

For me, losing those two would definitely take some of the shine off of the move.

Lose a couple more, would really be disappointing.

Start replacing with old BE re-treads, would plain suck.

I’ll still support them, no matter what, as I’m sure most on here will. Would definitely be a downer though, relative to the move we thought we made.

No worries, just gabbing.

Again, hopefully nothing happens.

Comment by Dan 05.22.12 @ 11:14 am

I went to Pitt because of the basketball team. It is a basketball school, right?

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 05.22.12 @ 11:24 am

Worth a read….

link to

Comment by CJK 05.22.12 @ 12:11 pm

@ TX Panther:
I have to defend our alma mater’s honor.
PSU significantly better back in the day?
When we opted for Pitt, PSU may have been SLIGHTLY better regarded academically, at least by US News and the like.

Most of us recognized the shell game PSU plays to boost their rankings, and their “selectivity” in terms of who gets into Main camups as freshmen: PSU has always shuttled off lots of applicants to branch campuses for two years, thereby officially rejecting them from Main campus; but then tons of those kids are allowed them to come to Penn State Main and finish up with the same degree as the supposedly superior kids who got into Main campus as freshmen. Quite the little scam, and it works to boost their rankings – but the PSU degree is carried around by lots of folks who didn’t get in to Main Campus, and probably wouldn’t have gotten in to Pitt either.

Lately, Pitt’s “selectivity” rating has become even tougher than PSU’s. Schools that receive a lot of throw-away applications often have falsely inflated selectivity ratings – they can sift through the tons of applicants, figure out who has no intention whatsoever of attending, reject them, and make themselves seem more exclusive in the process.

Incidentally, schools with successful sports programs get more and more applicants because more kids, at least, have heard of them before. My theory is that Pitt’s rise in total applications has coincided with the rise in their basketball program, and has allowed them to become more selective. [That and how rediculously expensive a private college education has become.]

Comment by Patrick 05.22.12 @ 12:25 pm

All I know Patrick was that it was more difficult to get into State back in the day but that depended alot on your major. For instance, if you chose engineering as your major, there was a good chance you’d be stuck at a branch campus for 2 years. I know that program was very selective so I selected undecided when applying.

I also recall my visits to both campuses as part of the official tours given by the university. The applicants in my group on the State visit were definitely a different caliber of student compared to my Pitt tour. I felt intimidated associated with the State prospects. I even recall the sense of arrogance or entitlement by the Nitter tour guide. A tour of the men’s showers was not provided however.

Granted Pitt’s acceptance standards and ratings have dramatically risen since then. But, Pitt’s shift away from athletics to a heavy emphasis on academics started in the late 1980’s. Coincidently, our football program began its long decline into irrelevance. We did get to see Curtis Martin play I guess.

I’m more proud of my Pitt degree now than I was 20 years ago. Pitt has made great leaps in academics and endowments and by all means should continue down this path.

Maybe with the greater exposure from the ESPN contract, Pitt and other ACC schools will be able to attract a better student and get an increase in applications which will allow schools to become more selective hence making my diploma look all the more better.

Comment by TX Panther 05.22.12 @ 1:00 pm

ACC needs to bring Notre Dame into the league ASAP . (wow doesn’t this sound familiar, talk about Bigeast 2) Having ND keeps all the players in place at the ACC table (again sounds like BigEast 2)

Nobody is going to leave if ND is in the conference as that would add another $5-$10 million per school in the reworked TV contract.

ND’s alumni and subway alumni base is and will always be in the Northeast, moreso the subway alumni. What a boost they would be for the conference as a whole. This should be a no brainer for them, as they have a natural rivalry with Boston College, PITT, Syracuse and Miami.
And it would be an excellent academic and olympic sports conference fit for ND as well. The only college football team NYC truly cares about are the Fighting Irish.

Swofford needs to do whatever to get the Golden Domers into ACC country, BEFORE this thing gets out of hand. !!

Comment by Emel 05.22.12 @ 1:09 pm

As much as I appreciate and am proud of my Pitt education (3 Pitt degrees) I must admit:

At the end of the day for the vast majority of students in most majors how selective the school they attended undergrad will matter little later in life. Anyone can get a sufficiently good basic undergrad education in most common majors at just about any accredited institution (even WVU!).

So, unless a kid wants to major in a specific specialized area only offered at a few schools and expects to go beyond undergrad to specialize in that or a closely allied field, that kid (and parents) are far better off economically choosing the least expensive accredited school to attend–and perhaps even doing the first two years at a JUCO. There will get a far better economic return on the educational investment if that route is taken.

Comment by pitt1972 05.22.12 @ 1:12 pm

oh btw, I’m reading that linked story now. lol

Comment by Emel 05.22.12 @ 1:13 pm

You guys need to check this link out on

link to

It should help calm your conference jumping jitters…

Comment by Kenny 05.22.12 @ 2:48 pm

i’ve been thinking about this a lot because we are a weak fan base. we have fervor but our numbers are small. we need to put seats in the stands as well as give donations. so, i’ve been thinking about alumni associations. what do they do to support pitt athletics? they all golf. enough said about that because everyone but me seems to like hitting tiny balls great distances. (hear there’s usually alcohol too, and i’m a pitt fan)and neither separates me from a lot of fan bases.

i’ve enjoyed some terrific bb games against nova and g’town. the venues are great and since their fan base is smallish too, pitt fans were seemingly equal to the home town team fans.

i’ve always made plans on my own. but i’ll bet there will be a few alumni clubs for most acc games. do they plan tours for fans to attend games?

i’m an old fart and i’ve lived a few places that i’d expect to have alumni clubs. i’m back in the burgh and should have an easy time finding one, but i’ve never done it.

do we have anyone associated with the alumni association on this site. now might be a good time to push for membership. i’d lean toward one if it promoted collegial bus trips to away games.

any thoughts?

Comment by pittkeith 05.22.12 @ 7:48 pm

Pitt’s decline in football was inevitable. For those of us old enough to remember, Pitt’s rise to power in the mid to late 70’s was due to one thing, well two things, Tony Dorsett and scholarships.

On the 76 national championship team, Johnny Majors must of had 70 out of 80 kids on scholarships. Those days are long gone and the decline started in Pitt football when the NCAA and the University started cracking down. Today’s “student” athletes can be very selective on where they go. Pitt will always be swimming upstream to land the elite recruits. With that being said, there is no reason with a solid couple of years, they can be at the top of the ACC, no matter who is still in.

Comment by goalie44 05.22.12 @ 8:39 pm

I should have saved the money and gone to IUP then. But I understand your point. Part of my decision was based on the college experience. I wanted to be able to wear my Pitt hat with pride and to have people respect the name. So yes, I went to the same school as Dorsett and Marino and May and Ditka and Martin and Jackson and others and I’m proud of it. I also went to school with some bright and successful people you seldom hear about. I did use my Pitt degree to get into grad school. Too bad my degree doesn’t mean much in Texas country but I was able to brag about our win over the Aggies with Larry Fitz down in College Station and I was able to gloat about Pitt’s basketball win over the Horns. These southerners, Texans that is, respect a boy from a school that beats them fair and square. So let’s not do anything stupid and jump to the Big 12. We have a chance to dominate the ACC and hopefully that path can lead to participation in a playoff where anything can happen.

Comment by TX Panther 05.22.12 @ 9:40 pm

Easy on the IUP talk there Tex. 😉

Comment by ECH 05.22.12 @ 9:48 pm

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