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July 19, 2013

I would have hoped people would understand this after the last ten years of the Big East, but now I have to put on a condescending tone and talk down to people. Not really. No. Well… maybe a few.

Bowl games are meaningless. There are so many now that they have lost their meaning. They are just exhibition games. Unless it’s a playoff/BCS bowl, who cares. I think we all know old man complaints. But woe unto the coach that doesn’t get their team into a bowl game. And by god, it better be one in a good location. So, yes, bowl games have reproduced to absurd levels when over half the 1-A programs go bowling. Yet they still matter despite the contradictions and complaints. So be it.

Among the — now — 5 major conferences, it is not unreasonable to say that the ACC has the weakest bowl line-up. Here’s the reality. There is nothing the ACC can do about it.

Oh, they might be able to tweak a bowl or two to a slightly higher level here or there. If the conference has a major and sustained upswing in winning, it might help in the next cycle of bowl deals. But it is not going to be rivaling the SEC or Big 10 at any point in the foreseeable future. It is simply about the numbers.

There’s a reason that when the ACC had their NYC day to welcome new members they touted TV markets. Plain and simple the ACC lacks bodies.

Number time.

Here is the undergraduate enrollment breakdown. In terms of where they rank in Division 1-A football programs out of 126:

ACC
0 schools in top-10
1 school in top-20 (FSU)
4 schools in top-50* (FSU, Maryland, NC ST., VT)
0 schools ranked #51-74
5 schools ranked #75-99* (Pitt, UNC, Clemson, UVa, Cuse)
5 schools ranked #100 or higher** (GT, Miami, BC, Duke, Wake Forest)

*and in 2014 when Louisville (#91) joins and Maryland (#27) leaves it will be 3 schools in the top-50 and 6 schools ranked #75-99
** And while ND is not a football member, they do have fake fanbase that outsizes their #112 ranking. Which is why the Big East before them and the ACC now will affiliate with them for bowl tie-ins.

Now here are the other four major conferences.

SEC
2 schools in top-10 (Texas A&M, Fla)
2 schools in top-20 (Texas A&M, Fla)
6 schools in top-50 (Texas A&M, Fla, Georgia, Alabama, Mizzou, LSU)
5 schools ranked #51-74 (South Carolina, Tenn, Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas)
2 schools ranked #75-99 (MSU, Ole Miss)
1 school ranked #100 or higher (Vandy)

B1G
4 schools in top-10 (OSU, PSU, Mich. St., Mich)
7 schools in top-20* (OSU, PSU, Minn. St., Mich, Ind., Ill., Purdue)
9 schools in top-50* (OSU, PSU, Minn. St., Mich, Ind., Ill., Purdue, Wisc., Mich.)
2 schools ranked #51-74 (Iowa, Neb.)
0 schools ranked #75-99
1 school ranked #100 or higher (Northwestern)

*and when Rutgers (#16) and Maryland (#27) join there will be 8 schools in the top-20 and 11 schools in the top-50

Big XII
1 school in top-10 (Texas)
1 school in top-20 (Texas)
4 schools in top-50 (Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa St., WVU)
4 schools ranked #51-74 (Okla., Kansas, K-St., Okla. St.)
0 schools ranked #75-99
2 school ranked #100 or higher (Baylor, TCU)

Pac-12
1 school in top-10 (Az St.)
2 schools in top-20 (Az St., Arizona)
7 schools in top-50 (Az St., Arizona, Wash., UCLA, Colo., Cal, Utah)
3 schools ranked #51-74 (Oregon, Oregon St., Wash. St.)
1 school ranked #75-99 (USC)
1 school ranked #100 or higher (Stanford)

As you can see, it just isn’t close. The other four major conferences trump the ACC at the top end of undergrad enrollment. And the ACC is ridiculously bottom heavy with private, low enrollment schools. That translates into a much smaller overall alumni base that will be interested in traveling to a bowl game.

At the other end, the Big Ten has ridiculous numbers swelling their alumni ranks. Just based on shear quantity, they will send enough fans to bowl games most years.

Now the SEC may not have the volume the Big 10 offers, but they are based primarily in the Southeast. Relatively near to where most of the desirable bowls are located. That makes it much easier for them to get to these games. Feeding into the narrative of how well most of their fanbases travel.

Over 2/3 of the ACC schools have undergrad popluations ranked 75th or lower in 1-A. Sticking to just the 64 teams in the five conferences the rankings look much worse:

  1. Arizona St.
  2. Ohio St.
  3. Texas
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Penn St.
  6. Michigan St.
  7. Minnesota
  8. Florida
  9. Indiana
  10. Illinois
  11. Florida St.
  12. Purdue
  13. Rutgers
  14. Arizona
  15. Wisconsin
  16. Washington
  17. Michigan
  18. Maryland
  19. UCLA
  20. Colorado
  21. Georgia
  22. Alabama
  23. Texas Tech
  24. Missouri
  25. Cal
  26. NC State
  27. Iowa St.
  28. Utah
  29. LSU
  30. Virginia Tech
  31. WVU
  32. South Carolina
  33. Iowa
  34. Tennessee
  35. Oregon
  36. Oregon St.
  37. Oklahoma
  38. Auburn
  39. Kentucky
  40. Kansas
  41. Kansas St.
  42. Nebraska
  43. Washington St.
  44. Oklahoma St.
  45. Arkansas
  46. Pitt
  47. UNC
  48. USC
  49. Mississippi St.
  50. Clemson
  51. Virginia
  52. Louisville
  53. Ole Miss
  54. Syracuse
  55. Georgia Tech
  56. Baylor
  57. Miami
  58. Boston College
  59. Northwestern
  60. TCU
  61. Stanford
  62. Vanderbilt
  63. Duke
  64. Wake Forest

Not pretty.

The ACC has just 3 schools (FSU, NC St. and VT) among the 30 largest undergrad populations in the major conference. That number doesn’t grow until it reaches the 46th team — Pitt. The ACC has 6 (Cuse, GT, Miami, BC Duke, Wake Forest) of the 11 smallest major conference schools. It is no coincidence that those six schools are all private institutions. Every other conference has no more than 2 private schools.

Notwithstanding the bowl games that ESPN has an ownership interest in — and hence is more concerned with potential media markets — the bowls still have that anachronistic desire to get people to come to the game. To spend money in the hotels, restaurants and entertainment.

There’s also the fact that the ACC lacks any programs that have historical fan bases that will show up in droves anywhere outside of maybe Clemson. Yes, VT and FSU do a nice job of it, but they are fairly recent in college football history. After that?

Pitt? No. Let’s not pretend otherwise. As a fanbase, we don’t show up for bowl games unless it is convenient, it matters and/or it doesn’t make things difficult to catch the Steelers that weekend.

The ACC has a lot more than where Pitt was. There is potential for football, to be clear. But bowl tie-ins will never be a major thing for the ACC.





On disparaging UPJ, founded in 1927 and sending thousands of students to Pitt main campus including varsity athletes, I think Pitt needs all the students it needs to remain viable. All the Pitt branches help students who are unable to afford Oakland.

Comment by Frank MD 07.22.13 @ 10:40 am

@ Pitt.Dan83, you’re a piece of work. Try reading wbb and gc posts, and considering their POV’s before typing a reply. You just sound ignorant of the facts to me in your replies, when you feel to do so.

There is absolutely ZERO chance that Chryst gets fired after the 2014 season, NONE! And to back it up I’d put money on it, that is, if you would like to put your money where your opinion is.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.22.13 @ 10:53 am

Dr. tom,
I did read their opinions.
My opinion differs.
Big10 football is not going to work in ACC.
Mac/patriot league recruits are not going to cut it in ACC.
Chryst will have to win 6 games in 2014 to keep his job. 5 wins may not be enough and I don’t think Pitt gets 6 wins in 2014 which is why I opined that “all bets are off” for 2014.
I’m very well aware of Wanny and Harris records their 1st 3 years.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 07.22.13 @ 11:03 am

We will have Chryst like it or not until Pederson is fired or the 2015 season is over. If he wins 6-8 games a year we will have him till 2017/2018. Only way he gets canned is if he wins less than 6 games over the next 2 -3 seasons.

Comment by Upittbaseball 07.22.13 @ 11:22 am

With regards to all the speed of the ACC vs. the Big10, since 2006 I could only find three BCS games where the two conferences played each other and the Big10 won them all.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006 – FedEx Orange Bowl: No. 3 Penn State* (10–1, Big Ten champion) 26, No. 22 Florida State (8–4, ACC champion) 23 (3 OT)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 – FedEx Orange Bowl: No. 10 Iowa (10–2, At-large) 24 vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech (10–2, ACC Champion) 14

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 – Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 13 Michigan (10–2, At-Large) 23 vs. No. 11 Virginia Tech (11–2, At-Large) 20 (OT)

ACC vs BigTen = 6-6

ACC vs BigTen: 50-49 vs 53-42 or 0.505% vs 0.558%

Home advantage
ACC vs BigTen: neutral = 7, away = 2, home* = 3

Conference winning percentage against the five big conferences, only losing record is against the PAC 10.

So, if Pitt is being built more like a Big 10 team, then our ACC record would be 4-4. If we split the non conf games we’d be 6-6. I think we should win 3 NC games and 5 conf games simply due to the attitude change among the players and the fact PC has gotten rid of troublemakers.

Of course I know there are some of us who tend to view the glass half empty but PC has a lot of winning experience under his belt, too much so to predict his methods will lead to failure. I wish you’d keep in mind he doesn’t seem to offer just anyone based on their number of stars but only after he’s spent time with them in camp. Wisc certainly seemed quite adept in finding quality players who went under the radar and we all know their star values can easily increase during their senior year. Hopefully selling them on the quality of education along with the team comradery will dissuade them from not honoring their verbals. For Pete’s sake give the man some breathing room and credit!

GO PITT!

Comment by JD 07.22.13 @ 11:54 am

the heck with B10 vs ACC

Since 06, Pitt is 1-1 vs UVa; 0-1 vs NCSt; 0-1 vs Miami; 1-0 vs UNC; and 6-1 vs Syracuse

Comment by wbb 07.22.13 @ 1:05 pm

… and 1-0 vs Va Tech

Comment by wbb 07.22.13 @ 1:38 pm

OK Pitt.Dan, now you also have Upittbaseball and JD posts to digest as well, along with mine which BTW, is based more on substance than on opinion.

First and foremost, this is the Pitt AD’s #1 priority going into the ACC, coaching stability. Unless Chryst decides to start beating his wife or molesting boys, there is No chance he gets canned before he has four years at HC under his belt. In case you’re not good with numbers that will be after the 2015 season is over. That 2015 season gets him on the hot seat if he’s not bringing home a winning season, but it will be the 2016 season which will be the “do or die” one.

When penn state is back on the 2016 schedule, that one NC game alone could spell the difference between firing or contract extension time for Chryst. By that, I mean, a 6-6 season looks a lot better on Chryst’s 2016 resume if one of the wins is against penn state. Same W-L result with a penn state loss however could be the kiss of death for Chryst’s job.

Now regarding your opinion of where Chryst is headed in his recruiting, he is quickly turning a Pitt weakness into a Pitt forte when considering his recruiting on the offensive line. Both wbb and gc called it accurately, Chryst is bringing in some big boys, but just because he is recruiting size doesn’t mean that he is sacrificing athleticism. We have Adam Bisnowaty ready to go this season, and pleeeaseee don’t call him unathletic and/or slow. And Dorian Johnson is going to be waiting in the wings for his chance to play this season if the injury bug hits the OL. Johnson, BTW is just the type of athlete that fits the bill for Chryst’s ideal lineman. Big, athletic and quick. Another guy who has the same potential is Alex Officer he tested out with like a 4.7 20yd shuttle so he ain’t no slouch in the quickness dept. This kid played both ways in HS and was a dominant force on the defensive side of the ball. He has the footwork skills needed to pull and trap all day long. Yeah we need more Dorin Johnsons but for now Chryst has done a good job of getting some big bodies in the stable. Hopefully he can coach up a couple of these big boys into the kind of players that CAN make a difference in the FAST ACC. BTW, Russ Grimm coming in for 2014 should be in that Johnson mold going forward too.

Now lets dispell a myth that I never understood the logic behind, that keeps getting repeated time and time again. Players that get MAC offers somehow are guys that have lesser skills and limited potential than first tier players who have a half dozen offers from the big boys of Div 1 football powerhouses. Just isn’t true. Its a case by case situation.

There are a lot of very good football players out there that are solid 2nd tier players at the end of their Junior year of HS football that just aren’t heavily recruited at that point in their careers. They can play at the Div 1 level and make a difference. Finding them BEFORE they get the bigger offers is the trick. Unfortunately for Pitt, this is exactly where we have to do our homework to fill out our recruiting classes for the time being, because we currently can’t compete with the Ohio States, Michigans and Florida States of the world for the primo 1st tier players who are the known top shelf recruits out there already.

Yeah, we’ll pick up one or two 4 star guys in our classes but if we want to become competitive in the ACC NOW, we better look elsewhere or our recruiting classes are destined to come up short in the present.

That is what Chryst and Co. are busy doing. They have found kids that have speed, have athleticism and who see Pitt as the place they want to be and currently Pitt is their best offer at this point in there football careers. What will be important for us will be the ability of keeping them as Pitt verbals when, after their successful Senior seasons conclude, other heavy hitters come calling, offering them late to satisfy holes left in their recruiting classes once the dust settles.

Just because these same guys get slammed with a ton of MAC interest, it doesn’t discount their stock! It is simply an indication that they are flying a little under the recruiting radar and MAC teams are in the hunt to get some of these guys too. The cream of this 2nd tier crop of players end up going to bigger programs in the end anyhow it is just that they get those offers later.

Chryst’s offers to these kind of kids often has come after they have evaluated this guys 1st hand in camps. They see the potential and know that if they offer early that they have the inside track on these guys before the competition gets heated with other bigger offers, both realistic AND smart!

Now, we ain’t recruiting a track team so speed alone, although an important criteria is just one to be considered for a competant football player. Jumping ability and quickness can even trump speed depending on the position being considered.
But you are mistaken if you think that Chryst’s classes of 2013 and 14 lack speed. Here is a list of players that all tested out with significant sub5 40yd dash times at the camps.

In 2013 Terrish Webb, Titus Howard, both from Clairton, Rachid Ibrahim, Tomy Harper and do we even need to mention Tyler Boyd???? For 2014 we have Dennis Briggs, Patrich Armara, Jalen Williams, Marcus Collins and our newest AND fastest verbal up to this point PhillipIe Motley who sports a 4.40 40yd dash as his fastest 40 time.

I didn’t even mention a couple guys who have speed but aren’t playing positions that are thought of aS “speed” positions. Shakir Soto will probably see time at DE this season since he has Spring practice under his belt already, he runs a 4.9 40 and Luke Maclean runs a 4.93 40 and is a LB that brings a hammer when he tackles.

So the speed and quickness is there. And that there are the facts, not opinion. Do your homework.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.22.13 @ 3:03 pm

You have BS 40numbers there Dr. Tom.
You can right anything on your profile.
The only numbers I believe are those posted on combine results.
Do your homework Dr. Tom. You need to get your facts straight before touting them.
For instance, Briggs is slow. 11.8something in 100m. He didn’t even qualify for wpial finals in track.
Motley is fast no doubt about it.
Harper is so slow, I can beat him in a race.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 07.22.13 @ 4:10 pm

there will be a great OL at pitt very soon
and a great OL will win you a lot of games
if you read pitt looks at there feet can they move them not just there size.
have fath even a average RB or QB will look good if the line is good.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.22.13 @ 6:33 pm

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