Pitt And Syracuse To ACC: We Laughed, We Cried, We Bailed

And with Saturday's shenanigans, it became official - never had a regular season game been forgotten about so quickly.

Probably because we wanted it to be and all, but still. The crappy loss to Iowa is barely a blip on the radar right now. When next weekend rolls around, we'll all remember there's still a season to be played, but for now, time to think ACC.

ACC. Man, if you blinked today, you missed it. In case you've been under a rock with the Mayans waiting for 2012, Pitt and Syracuse appear bound for the ACC. As of now, it's not been announced officially, but news seems imminent. The Post-Gazette's saying it could happen as soon as tonight. And if not now, maybe tomorrow. Pitt, of course, is offering the standard 'no comment.'

I mentioned this somewhere (in between Cardiac Hill, SB Nation Pittsburgh, and Twitter, hard to remember where) today, but I'm dying to know how long Pitt's been playing with a poker face hiding this. And make no mistake about it - the Panthers wouldn't be going through all of this for only a 'chance' to be invited. This is about as done a deal as it can get without an official announcement.

After all, if conference athletic directors are weighing in with their disgust saying it's probably a done deal, then, well, it's done, in my opinion. But if you were looking for more evidence, Coach K, of all people, appeared to provide that today.

Krzyzewski (man, I'm not looking forward to learning how to spell that name) sounds like a man resigned to the fact that Pitt and Syracuse are coming on board:
Duke coach Mike Kryzyzewski said Saturday night grabbing Syracuse and Pittsburgh away from the Big East is a major coup.

"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.

...

"The NBA had the ABA. The NFL had the AFL. There was once no BCS. The NIT was once better than the NCAA (tournament). When it happens while you're doing it, it seems like it shouldn't happen, but it is. I think the leadership in our conference is doing a great job of getting ahead. It's good thinking, especially if everything goes down with these two schools that have great athletic programs. They are unbelievable fits for our conference."

No way would a coach of his stature be gushing about these additions if it wasn't a done deal.

So why did this happen? It's something I've been saying for a long time - the Big East needed to move quickly and swiftly ... and it never did. Paul Zeise of the PG mentioned that Steve Pederson has been pushing for a 12-team football conference and commissioner John Marinatto has been dragging his feet, essentially.

Fact is that Pitt couldn't afford to wait.The Panthers are going to get killed for this ... and to a degree, that's deserved since Mark Nordenberg has been one of the frontrunners for keeping the conference together. But in the end, the only rule that applies is Pitt needs to do what's best for Pitt. The atmosphere in college football is far too shaky right now and the school simply couldn't afford to wait for Marinatto to get his act together and bring in additional programs - especially if they weren't sure he even would. The ACC presented itself and at the end of the day, any Big East team would be a fool not to accept the invite. No, it's not because the ACC has a dominant football program - while it's a bit better than the Big East would be with TCU coming (man, where's that storyline going?), it's not leaps and bounds better - it's an issue of stability. The ACC would have 14 teams and would still be in pretty good shape even if it lost a few teams to the SEC or Big 1G.

How hated will the Panthers be by Big East teams? It's possible they'll be even more hated than the original three defectors. This move comes at a time after Pitt reportedly fought for the conference to hold out for a better TV deal - one that may not be coming, now. And they were there after that initial panic to help rebuild the conference. When you throw in the fact that Pitt apparently didn't call the conference to give them a heads up and that things came together so quickly ...

Well, let's just say they may avoid the Clambake next year. Ah, next year. That's if the Panthers are still around by then. There's been talk of them somehow avoiding the Big East's 27-month notice and playing in the league sooner than that. Time will tell.

So is the Big East dead? Well, not quite:

CBSSports.com reported that the Big East has reached out to every Big 12 team except Oklahoma and Oklahoma State about potentially joining the league. That, obviously, would include Texas.

"Do you just add Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State in the league and make it an interesting East/West type of thing?" the Big East coach asked. "Do you just add Temple and Central Florida now? Does the league finally split with football and basketball?"

Finally, action. Only problem is that it may be coming too late. The Big East knew that they would be in serious trouble if the conference lost a few teams to expansion and did nothing. Obligatory meetings were held, I'm sure, but the conference needed to strike. They didn't and this is the result.

Okay, now that this appears to be happening, is it a good move? Greg weighed in already and here are my thoughts - Pitt couldn't be more fortunate. For starters, unlike the Big 12, this isn't a reach geographically. Sure, those rules are being broken (and will continue to be), but it's nice to play teams that are fairly close by and where road trips can actually exist.

The conference also provides the stability factor as I discussed and, while it's a step up in football, it's a place where Pitt could compete. Maybe not as much as the Big East, but they shouldn't be completely overwhelmed. I wrote almost two years ago when Pitt/Big Ten stuff was being floated out there that I didn't like that fit, partially because Pitt could have a hard time competing in football.

Plus, the basketball is barely a drop off from the Big East. Sure, we all loved playing UConn, Nova, and the like, but you're kidding yourself if you think Pitt-Duke and Pitt-UNC at the Pete aren't going to be incredible.

There are two things that have been floated out there that are giving some fans cause for concern - rivalries and recruiting in NY/NJ/Philly. On the rivalry front, Pitt's had them with Miami, VT, and BC before and there's no reason those can't be built up again. Basketball rivalries against Duke and Carolina will be almost instantaneous as soon as J.J. Moore throws down a dunk on one of the unsuspecting Plumlee brothers. Pitt won't replace either Duke or UNC as the other's main rival, but those will be some pretty incredible games - every bit as good as Pitt-UConn.

The recruiting thing is a joke, too. Pitt's had a strong presence in those areas for years now and playing North Carolina and Duke is just appealing as playing UConn and Nova. Maybe not to every kid, but to plenty of them.

This is a great move for Pitt - period.

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