Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pitt to the ACC looks like a sure thing

By Chris Dokish

With the news that both Pitt and Syracuse have applied for membership to the ACC, it looks like Pitt and the Big East will be no more. There's no way that both schools would apply for membership without already getting the word that they will be accepted. Consider it a done deal.

In my opinion, the Pitt fans should be ecstatic with this news. While it's sad to see the Big East basketball conference change forever, Pitt will still be in the best basketball conference in the country. It will just be a different conference that was best the past few seasons. North Carolina and Duke in a conference game? Now that's exciting.

But the real benefit for this move is for the football program. True, the ACC is not a good in football as it should be, but it's still better than the Big East. Games at Heinz Field against Cincinnati, UConn, and Rutgers, or home games against Florida State, Miami, and Virginia Tech. Is there any doubt which is better?

More money means a better football program and this will be more money. I don't know how much, or how little, kudos should go to Pitt's administration. The truth is, they would have to be idiots not to find a better fit in this current state of conference realignment. On the other hand, Pitt made themselves a good fit to go to a better conference by having strong football and basketball programs, both on and off the field, as well as the great academics that the ACC requires.

LATE NOTE: From a source at Pitt (meaning NOT Tom Herrion so you people can stop emailing me that question), who is very close to Dixon, Dixon is NOT happy about this at all. This is not surprising as Jim Boeheim was very much against leaving the Big East a few years ago. For Dixon, it was something that he has mentioned in the past and that's that the NYC market was very important to the Pitt basketball brand, and now that will change. Don't take this as saying that Dixon is going to leave, just that he's not happy about it.


At 1:51 PM, Blogger John In South Carolina said...

Hopefully Jamie will come around. This is a great move by Pitt. I am glad that Syracuse is joining us as they try for the second time to join the ACC. I wonder if this is all dependent on what Oklahoma and Texas do on Monday?

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Jim Lakely said...

Sorry to hear that Jamie Dixon is not pleased. I would think that with Syracuse coming, that still keeps the NYC market open. It can't ALL be just because the Big East Tourney is played in MSG, can it?

And the games, in both football and basketball, will still be great — and, as you point out, Chris — MUCH better in football. This makes a ton of sense for the ENTIRE Pitt athletics program. Pitt and Syracuse makes the ACC much deeper and more competitive. Both teams will raise the level of recruiting there across the board by bringing two Top-10 programs into the mix.

And don't think that the ACC is done. They could (and should) consider UConn and Rutgers, too. And if not them, WVU ... and there are rumors that Texas could join.

The important thing is that Pitt was pro-active in a quickly changing major college conference landscape. The music will end soon, and Pitt will not be left without a chair — like many other schools will be.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Chris Dokish said...

It's best for football and it's best for the university as a whole. The only question is just how good, or bad, it will be for Pitt basketball. But the cold hard truth is that if it's good for the university and for football because of all of the extra money, then they have to do it. I can understand why Dixon would be mad. Pitt's identity is tied to gritty northeast players and that will now change. Dixon is worried that will hurt the brand. It's definitely a concern and I wouldn't be surprised if it cost them Dixon some day. But Pitt had no choice. The good outweighs the bad. The alternative was to stay in a strong basketball conference that hurt you in every other way, and even that was in jeopardy. There is no stability there. Every Big East school that is trashing Pitt now was also trying to get out, and don't let them tell you any different.

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Jim Lakely said...

Chris writes:

Every Big East school that is trashing Pitt now was also trying to get out, and don't let them tell you any different.

That's definitely the case. This is the best thing to happen to Pitt athletics since they joined the Big East as a basketball school in 1982 — and, actually, better considering what's going on in conference expansion/shake-ups right now.

What would be horrible news for Pitt today: News breaks that some schools are leaving the Big East to join the ACC — and Pitt isn't on that list.

The people decrying Pitt leaving the Big East have to look at the bigger picture. The Big East was already the red-headed stepchild of the BCS. If Pitt didn't leave now, WVU would have. Or Louisville. Or Syracuse. Or Rutgers ... leaving behind a shell of an already crappy football conference, with Pitt in the middle of the crap.

Pitt did all it could to keep the Big East viable as a terrible football conference and an awesome basketball conference. It could never be sustained. We should be grateful for Pitt's early and soft landing.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Jeffrey said...

I'm sure Dixon was not happy upon first hearing the news but the ACC is a big draw and lot of his recruiting has shifted to the Baltimore/DC area (ACC hotbed).

Plus if UCONN and another BE school come with Pitt and Syracuse, there will likely be two divisions. I wouldn't be surprised if they went with Pitt, Syracuse, BC, Miami, Tech, UCONN (?), Rutgers/WVU (?) and MD or UVA in one division.

That is essentially the Big East and would not diminish Pitt's rep as a tough, blue collar school. Plus, Pitt's style of play would be real disruptive in a "soft" league. Other teams would have to recruit to match their physicality and toughen the league up a little.

TCU isn't the school that gets screwed in this. Louisville, Cincy and S. Florida are the real losers here. TCU stays in the same position they have always been in.

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Chris Dokish said...

You're preaching to the choir. I agree with you. I can understand why Dixon would be upset somewhat, but it's not like he's going to the MAC. Hell, the ACC may even play their tournament at MSG.

And the only word I got was that Dixon was not happy about it. Unfortunately, people take that and run with it by changing it to him basically raging around the room throwing chairs through the windows. But people can't be surprised that he doesn't like it. He's stated publicly in the past that he doesn't want to leave the Big East. But maybe the Pitt administrators will talk to him and he will realize that it's not a bad situation.

At 3:47 AM, Blogger arrielle said...

I really love to watch basketball and read PBA News in my country. :)


Post a Comment

<< Home