Moving to the ACC is seen as good and bad for Pitt (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Now that we're into the month of July, Pitt is officially under the one-year countdown until they move to the ACC (better start planning your celebration parties now). With several schools now officially members of different conferences, Athlon Sports graded the conference moves on whether they were good moves for the school and the conference.
According to them, Pitt and Syracuse are winners in college football realignment.
The decision to bolt from the Big East to the ACC was an easy one for both schools. With the uncertainty surrounding the Big East, joining a conference with more stability and a solid long-term television deal was a no-brainer. Syracuse has only 43 wins over the last 10 years, while the Panthers have won at least eight games in three out of the last four seasons. Neither team provides much of a boost for the football product, but landing in a stable conference and reigniting Big East rivalries with Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College is a victory for both Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
The ACC, due to the lack of recent success by Pitt and Syracuse, are seen as losers however.
At least for now, commissioner John Swofford has managed to keep his conference intact. However, the rumors will continue to persist about Florida State and Clemson’s long-term future with the ACC, especially if the Big 12 looks to expand in the future. Also, the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse were good for basketball, but doesn’t move the needle on the gridiron. The ACC expected super-conferences to emerge when it added Pittsburgh and Syracuse, but instead of firing the first shot in realignment, the conference was left with two extra teams that aren’t doing much for its football product.
Once the Pac-12 decided not to become the Pac-16, we were left with this kind of feeling that maybe the ACC jumped a little early. Don't get me wrong - I am absolutely thrilled to be leaving the dumpster fire that is the Big East. But if the ACC didn't jump, WVU, Pitt, Syracuse, and TCU would still in the Big East with potentially Boise joining. That's actually a pretty good football conference, but none of that matters. Pitt and Cuse left, TCU and WVU left, and all four will remain at the adult table while the Big East is left on the outside.
When it comes to basketball, though, Pitt is surprisingly seen as a loser in conference realignment:
What’s good for the ACC might not be good for Pittsburgh. The Panthers could lose recruiting avenues into the Northeast, which provided Pitt with Ashton Gibbs, Travon Woodall, Brad Wanamaker, Levance Fields, Aaron Gray and Carl Krauser. The Panthers will have to hope the prospect of competing against Duke and North Carolina helps to overcome fewer trips to New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
I don't buy this for one second. For starters, the ACC is on par with the Big East in terms of college basketball success and tradition. Kids in the Northeast will still want to go to Pitt because they'll have a chance to play in the best in college basketball all while playing for an elite basketball school. Not being in the Big East isn't going to change that.
The ACC is seen as the biggest winner in conference realignment:
The addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh in 2013-14 might not bring much sizzle to the football product, but the Orange and Panthers give the ACC the nation’s best basketball league (a distinction that probably stays with the Big East had Syracuse and Pitt stayed put). Since 2004-05, the last time the ACC expanded, Syracuse and Pitt have reached the Tournament a combined 13 times while Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech have done so a combined five times since joining the ACC. With Syracuse and the possibility of playing the ACC Tournament at Madison Square Garden, the ACC gains a foothold into Northeastern markets and recruiting territory, which could be a boon for programs for Maryland, NC State and others.
So Pitt loses recruiting territory by moving to the ACC, but the ACC schools all gain access to the same Northeast recruiting territory? Makes a lot of sense.