Just a couple of years ago, Pitt's football program seemed to be flying high. From 2008 - 2010, they averaged nine wins and were seeing their most success in 30 years. That wasn't enough, though, as Dave Wannstedt was unable to get the Panthers into the BCS and was let go.
We can debate back and forth whether that was the correct move or not, but one thing that's certain is that the football program took a step back last year, going 6-7 under Todd Graham. Graham's now out, of course, and Pitt is left trying to get back to where they were as a football program under Wannstedt.
But even though football is king when it comes to this whole conference realignment situation, rest assured that Pitt is still heavily desired by the ACC. Here's why ...Pitt offers so much more than simply a football program that has been a bit up and down recently. The ACC seems to realize this:
"(Being successful on the field) isn’t the main philosophical reason why we expand," Virginia Tech AD Jim Weaver says. "Once we decided to expand, we wanted to get institutions of like backgrounds and philosophical approaches."
For starters, Pitt is a good fit geographically. While some conferences are being forced to reach for schools away from them, Pitt is reasonably close to many ACC programs.
Then there are academics. The university has one of the top medical centers in the world and also has several programs that rank highly on a national level. That certainly adds to the conference on a prestige level.
Also, don't discount Pitt's other athletics programs. Men's basketball has clearly been Pitt's most successful athletics program over the past decade. But there are other reasons the ACC should be happy Pitt is coming. While the women's basketball team has struggled the past couple of years, they recorded four straight 20-win teams from 2005 - 2009, reaching two Sweet 16s those last two years. The baseball and wrestling programs have also had some recent success and been nationally ranked. In addition, with the new Petersen Sports Complex, the school made a huge commitment to first-class facilities for baseball, softball, and soccer programs.
Pitt's football program has a ways to go, but the ACC is still getting a pretty good university.