… Or Yes, We Like to Get Ahead of Ourselves at Pitt
Ok, so the ACC released their schedules for the 2013 and coupled with a scheduled home game against Notre Dame, there is awesomeness all around for Pitt fans:
|New Mexico||at Duke|
|Notre Dame||at Georgia Tech|
|Florida State||at Syracuse|
|Miami||at Virginia Tech|
But since I’m a Pitt fan and we forever live in the land of hope and tomorrow. Here’s a projection of Pitt’s home schedules in the next couple years afterwards:
|Delaware||at Notre Dame|
|Georgia Tech||at UVA|
There is currently a scheduled away game at FIU but I expect that to be bought out. It’s not as exciting as 2013 but home games vs Iowa, GT and Virginia Tech are very solid.
Onward brave denizens!
|Notre Dame||at Akron|
|UVA||at Georgia Tech|
|home vs ACC cross division||at Syracuse|
|Open||at Virginia Tech|
No telling what the cross-division game will be. As it stands, I probably expect the Akron game to be bought out or moved to a home game so we have a home MACrifice. Then the Open date shown would be a BCS level opponent similar to Iowa or Navy. Without having looked at their schedule, the Open Date could be WVU since ND would fulfill Steve Pederson’s wish to have a National opponent.
And the one that’s sure to give me a heart attack:
|Duke||at Notre Dame|
|Georgia Tech||at Miami|
|Virginia Tech||at UVA|
ACC cross division
|Open Date||Open Date|
I listed an Away and Home Open Date just for balance’s sake. It’s entirely likely that Pederson will schedule two home games, both against subpar teams (MACrifice and FCS). With ND away and PSU at home, it’s unlikely that Pederson would try to WVU since PSU already fulfills the regional and BCS level opponent in one. Pederson would probably have tried to get the 2015 BCS-level home-and-away in non-consecutive years so as to avoid three BCS-level non-conference opponents in one year.
Past 2016, there’s three more years of Pennstate games and a home game vs Delaware in 2019. But I’m probably going to get stabbed by a Pennstater (maybe even my own kin, Munia!) in 2016 (if not sooner) so I’ll stop here.
For years after the ACC first raided the Big East for Miami and Virginia Tech, Pitt partisans dreamed of a move to the Big Ten. TV markets, however, dictated that Pitt would/will never get an invite. The Big Ten Network is already in the Pittsburgh area because of Pennstate. Ratings themselves don’t necessarily matter. If you have expanded cable, you get the BTN whether you watch it or not. So you’re paying for it no matter what. The B1G gets paid, period. I still prefer the ACC.
In football, we can still maintain a strong northeastern and mid-atlantic presence against former Big East schools Syracuse, BC and VT. We get a better toehold in Florida with the additions of games against FSU and resumption of games against Miami-FL. We can expand our recruiting south to places like the Carolinas. And historically, Pitt hasn’t needed a rivalry presence to recruit Ohio; the River City Rivalry with Cincinnati stretches back less than a decade. Moving to the B1G would open up the midwest more but that’s about it.
There’s no doubt that Big Ten schools have more aggregate football success and tradition at the top than the ACC. OSU, Michigan, Nebraska and Pennstate are among the blue-bloods of collge football. But the ACC still has two blue-blood brands of its own in FSU and Miami-FL and two barons (so to speak) in Clemson and VT.
In basketball, the advantage is clear. In either scenario, B1G or ACC, Pitt loses the access to Madison Square Garden that the Big East provided. But one of the biggest false narratives about Pitt basketball is our supposed reliance on NYC talent. In Ben Howland’s early days, that was certainly true but Jamie Dixon has broadening our recruiting during his tenure, expanding into DC/MD area. The best Pitt team of the past two decades, the 2008-2009 Elite Eight team, had only two players from NYC prep schools (three if you count Don Bosco Prep, which I don’t). Sam Young, one of the most dynamic players on that Pitt team, came from Maryland. As Pitt’s talent level has slowly improved, Dixon’s need to rely on under-talented grinders from NYC has diminished.
Institutionally, Pitt fits equally well in the ACC and Big Ten. We’re a major research university. We’re part of the AAU. Our endowment of $2.5 billion would be the third highest in the B1G, fourth highest in the ACC (if you include ND).
In terms of our enrollment, Pitt would be one of the smallest schools in the Big Ten, third from the bottom. In the ACC, we’re right in the middle. Don’t think that enrollment doesn’t factor into a school’s ability to fill its stadia. When it wins, Pitt can/will fill Heinz Field because the city is also along for the ride. When it loses, well, it looks like Byrd Stadium at Maryland.
Ultimately, money talks. For Rutgers, this move absolutely makes sense when the alternative is staying in a sinking Big East ship. But for Maryland, outside of the money, it’s a bad, bad decision. The same would have gone for Pitt.
- SEC vs SEC title game scenario. Because you know it’s going to happen.
- ND loses to USC.
- Alabama, Georgia and Florida win their last respective games to finish at 11-1.
- SEC Title game: 11-1 Alabama vs 11-1 UGA.
- BCS National Championship: 12-1 SEC title game winner vs 11-1 Florida.
- Bam. Done. You’re welcome, CFB nation.
- Does this mean I have to root for ND to beat USC just so that we have some variety? Yikes. ND is already a lock for a BCS bowl game and deservedly so but they’re going to get waxed by any of the other contenders.
- Brian Kelly is a dbag but man, can he coach. I said it when he left Cincinnati that he would reawaken the echoes. Looks like he has done that.
- Maryland and Rutgers to the B1G. Makes financial sense for both but athletically, they’ll be whipping boys going up against those huge schools.
- I don’t regret one bit that Maryland and Rutgers might be going to the B1G while Pitt is going to the ACC. The B1G was a pipedream of Pitt fans for many years but we fit better athletically within the ACC.
- If ever you doubt that college football is more innovative and interesting than pro football, check out Chris Brown’s site, Smart Football.
Or… Why Joe Paterno is Laughing Himself Silly Down in Heaven
In the wake of Big East Commissioner John Marinatto’s (forced) resignation, there’s been a lot of revisionist history about what should have been done to strengthen the league. I don’t think anything substantive could have been done post-2004; certainly nothing that would have prevented further defections.
It’s been written that the conference dithered too much in the wake of the 2004 ACC defections. The additions of Louisville, Cincinnati and USF stabilized the league but that was it. UCF or Memphis might have been decent additions at the time but no available school would have radically shifted the balance of power nor provided the anchoring presence that the University of Miami once did.
A league needs an anchor tenant (or two) around which to build its brand. The ACC already had a high mid-level brand in Clemson and got an anchor tenant when they admitted Florida State in 1992. Prior to 2004, the Big East wasn’t the clear-cut worst BCS conference; it was relatively on par with the ACC in football and could have even tried to poach FSU and maybe UMD and UVA, two decent mid-level brands. But instead, the ACC acted boldly and snagged the Big East’s anchor tenant (Miami), a high mid-level brand (Virginia Tech) and a large market (Boston College).
So I would contend that the Big East as a major football league has been doomed to die a slow death since losing the Hurricanes. I, for one, am very relieved that Pitt is off that sinking ship.
The college sports world was thrown into turmoil this weekend when it was revealed Pitt and Syracuse had applied for and been accepted for membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Speaking to Andy Katz of ESPN, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said that adding the Panthers and Orangemen would be a coup for the ACC.
“It’s actually pretty exciting,” Krzyzewski said. “I think it’s great for our conference football-wise, even better basketball-wise. Wherever this is going to end up, four big-time conferences or five, whatever it is, you want to be perceived as No. 1 in football and basketball.”
It is widely known that Duke and Coach K opposed the ACC’s previous expansion plans, a position that solidified the other universities’ resolve to add Miami-FL, Virginia Tech and Boston College. So even though Pitt and Syracuse bring top-notch basketball programs to the ACC, Krzyzewski’s remarks still caught ACC administration off guard.
MST has since learned that the ACC’s Presidents and Athletic Directors have had a sudden change of heart upon hearing of Coach K’s welcoming words. Using a little known by-law known as the We Hate Duke Corollary, they have since re-voted to reject Pitt’s and Syracuse’s applications to the conference. The ACC’s expansion focus will now shift to schools that will most definitely piss off the Blue Devils.
“It’s actually pretty exciting,” Krzyzewski said. “I think it’s great for our conference football-wise, even better basketball-wise. Wherever this is going to end up, four big-time conferences or five, whatever it is, you want to be perceived as No. 1 in football and basketball.
Perennially on the upswing, the Atlantic Coast Conference had a banner weekend with a number of its marquee programs in action against some quality competition.
The University of Miami withstood Ohio State’s best shot and delivered a resounding 36-24 defeat to the Hurricanes at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio. The score would have been closer if OSU had bothered to be less dominant.
Florida State did its level best to thrust Oklahoma’s Landry Jones into the Heisman conversation as the sophomore signal-caller went 30-for-40 for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns in leading the Sooners to a 47-17 victory that had to have former head coach Bobby Bowden rolling in his grave. Wait, Bobby Bowden isn’t dead? Very well then. Note to self: keeellll Bobby Bowden.
Defending ACC champion Virginia Tech burnished its non-conference credentials, following up last weekend’s close loss to Boise State by failing to come back to beat D1-AA school James Madison. This is the second time in as many years that a D1-AA school has defeated an ACC school from the Old Dominion State.
But perhaps the greatest signal of the ACC’s ascendancy was Virginia’s penalty-filled 17-14 loss to USC. The Trojans were so intimidated by the Cavaliers that they followed last week’s 11 penalties by committing 13 penalties for 240 yards. When asked how the Men of Troy could have played so badly and still won, UVA coach Mike London replied, “Don’t go ripping on Lane Kiffin! He’s just a kid! Come to me! I’m a man! I’m 49!!”
ACC proponents celebrated the conference’s gumption in scheduling such tough opponents, also pointing to Clemson’s epic clash with the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College and Maryland’s beatdown of Morgan State. ACC officials also decried the soft non-conference schedules of non-AQ schools, citing that Boise State’s marquee BCS win has been tainted because the Broncos’ opponent has since lost to a D1-AA school. When pointed to the fact that said opponent was from the ACC, the officials changed the subject to Midnight Madness.
In all this expansion-palooza talk, I have to ask myself why PA legislators seem so silent? And why were they silent years ago when PSU was still an independent searching for a home? It’s possible (though I think improbable) that Pitt could get left out in the cold in expansion talks… no Big Ten or ACC or even Big East, if the conference implodes. That would leave the state’s second largest university system without a tangible sports home. That our politicans would remain silent when we all know how much money and recognition sports brings is unfortunate… to put it mildly.
Everywhere I read, other state legislatures are pulling up stakes in expansion-palooza. We all remember how UVA was pressured into supporting Va Tech’s ACC candidacy at the expense of Syracuse back in 2003. It’s widely known that the upwards of four of the Big XII’s Texas schools are joined at the hip via politics. OU probably can’t make a move without Okie State. And KU is also likely tied to K-State.
But not Pitt to PSU or PSU to Pitt? Is there any collective loyalty in PA college sports? We all know that years ago, when both schools were independents, when it was viable for a school to be independent, Joe Paterno wanted to form an all-sports eastern conference. It would likely have consisted of Pitt, PSU, WVU, BC, Rutgers, Syracuse, UVA, VT, UMD and Temple. Paterno’s first domino would have been Pitt, whose partnership would have given enough steam to the idea to lure the rest. Pitt spurned PSU and joined the fledgling Big East conference, which then only had basketball. At one point PSU was considered for inclusion into the Big East, right around the time that the conference was looking into adding football to its docket. To my utter disbelief now years afterward, the conference commissioners rejected PSU because of its weak basketball program. PSU later joined the Big Ten.
Apparently PA legislators didn’t get involved in assuring PSU would join the Big East. It wasn’t a given in the late 1980′s that PSU would be admitted into the Big Ten so assuring that PSU would have a sports home should have been an important issue to them. Perhaps the politicians were working behind the scenes to get PSU into the Big Ten but if that was the case, I’m sure I would have read about it by now.
Fast forward to today and in all the talk of the Big East getting fleeced and possibly disbanding, I’ve heard no rumblings from the folks in Harrisburg that Pitt ‘should’ be included in the Big Ten’s expansion plans. Now I’m not saying that all this political maneuvering in other states is a good thing. But one would think that the fate of the second largest university in the state should at least pique their curiosity.