SpectACCular! Pitt joins its new conference

Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Ignore the awful headline - that's what happens when you constantly run on like four hours of sleep several days in a row.

The long wait is finally over. After 50 days of counting down to the occasion, Pitt finally joins its new conference, the ACC, today. Never has a countdown been more anticipated than except maybe this:

Y2J DEBUT (via xWWExHDx)

It's been nearly two years ago since we made the official announcement on this blog. After fighting to break free, the Panthers have shed the Big East label and have moved on to the ACC.

We'll have much, much more on this today with a series of Pitt-related ACC posts. And over the next several days, we've got Q&As with the other SB Nation ACC blogs. But to get things started, what are some things Pitt can look forward to?

For starters, money, money, money.

Pitt becomes significantly richer with the move. The school stands to make approximately $20 million a year with the move to the ACC - far more than they made in the Big East. That will go a long way to not only improving the major revenue sports, but also upgrading things like facilities, equipment, etc. for the non-revenue sports as well.

Pitt also gains much more security with the move. The old Big East, now the American Athletic Conference, has a lot of instability. Even if the conference is able to stay together, it can no long be considered a major league with so many losses. Pitt and Syracuse made the decision to bolt nearly two years ago. Notre Dame and Louisville followed. And the non FBS football members left to start their own conference - the new Big East. Meanwhile, the ACC is fresh off of signing a Grant of Rights deal and that is going to make it extremely difficult for anyone to leave. In the crazy world of college athletics, there are no guarantees. But the Grant of Rights deal should help ensure the conference is around for a very long time.

On the field, Pitt enters a more prestigious football conference. Let's be clear here - the ACC isn't a dominant football league. That said, teams like Florida State, Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech > Louisville, Rutgers, UConn, and South Florida. Along with that, though, there will be increased competition. And if Pitt had trouble in the Big East, they'll have even more trouble in the ACC until Paul Chryst can turn the program around.

But once they do, another football aspect is the significantly better bowl lineup. The goal,of course, is to win conference titles, but if they can't get to the playoff or the BCS-level games, other quality bowls exist. And that's something that was sorely lacking in the ACC.

That applies to other sports, too. The best example may be in baseball. Pitt had their best season of all time this year but will need to step it up another notch to compete in the baseball-heavy ACC.

Speaking of other sports, Pitt joins what is unquestionably the new great college basketball power. The ACC and Big East have gone back and forth a bit for the label of top basketball conference, but with the Big East split as well as the additions of Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville, and Notre Dame, there's no doubt that the ACC will be the best league int he country. And the chance to face North Carolina and Duke on their home courts will be not only a treat, but should help with recruiting efforts.

And while this blog has never really been about the habit of bashing West Virginia (okay, not that much, anyway), I use them as an example here because it's applicable. But in the ACC, Pitt actually is a great geographic fit. The Mountaineers certainly will have some fun playing teams like Texas and Oklahoma, but are really in a conference they don't belong, playing teams in the midwest. Meanwhile, Pitt is not only reasonably close to many members in the ACC, but they will meet up with several old Big East foes including Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Louisville, Syracuse, and Notre Dame for non-football sports. If Pitt was forced to go anywhere, the ACC is really just a great, great fit.

One more important note here - this day also marks Cardiac Hill's one-year anniversary of our major expansion last year when we added the Pitt Script Blog folks to our humble abode. The site's really taken off over the past year and we're glad you the readers have helped us make it what we like to consider as one of the best Pitt blogs out there.

This is a historic day for Pitt athletics so with that, we leave you with an amazing gif from @IAmSpilly that he shared with us and made specifically for today:

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Welcome to your new home, folks.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author, the manager/editor of Cardiac Hill, @AnsonWhaley

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