Best day of the year, better than Chrystmas! Well, maybe not, however the day Pitt fans have been waiting for has finally arrived. The University of Pittsburgh is now an official member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Obviously, this means a lot of different things for Pitt (as you can see by the variety of articles posted today); however, what I'm going to discuss is the stability that is created. This stability is something that, for the past three years, seemed like a dream. The BIG EAST was spiraling out of control and anyone tied to the conference felt the panic. In all reality, this was a decade long descent for the BIG EAST. The
musical chairs conference realignment pandemic began with, ironically, the ACC grabbing three teams from the BIG EAST. It is somewhat fitting that, in the end, Pitt found stability in the conference it worked so hard to hold accountable for the mess in previous years.
I understand that the ACC is often considered the least powerful of the five power conferences. Better to be at the bottom of the top five than on the outside looking in, right? Let's quickly look at a few ways stability is created.
College Football Playoff
The ACC is affiliated with the extremely originally titled College Football Playoff system. This replaces the BCS Automatic Qualifier that the BIG EAST hung onto for dear life till the bitter end. This gives Pitt a better chance at a National Championship, should they play well enough during the regular season. Again, better than being on the outside looking in.
Grant of Rights
Let's be clear, a Grant of Rights agreement does not necessarily mean conference realignment is over. What it does mean is that it would be much harder for a team to jump ship to a different conference due to the financial agreements involved with a Grant of Rights (I'm looking at you, FSU). $330 million is nothing to scoff at.
$17 million in annual TV revenue with the possibility of an ACC Network in the future? Yes please. This is approximately triple what Pitt would have been hauling in the BIG EAST, erm, American Athletic Conference (they just wanted to be first alphabetically).
The ACC is not known for football (we'll get to basketball in a second); however Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Miami all have good football history and have been proven winners recently. Duke and North Carolina appear to be teams on the rise (if UNC can keep itself eligible). The competition is better top to bottom in football. Basketball, well, add Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame (and Louisville in 2014) to an already solid conference with Duke, North Carolina, Miami, and others and you've just created the next big thing in college basketball.
No BBVA Compass Bowl
You didn't think this one would fall off my radar did you? The ACC currently has no affiliation with the BBVA Compass Bowl. If you're Pitt, this is the icing on the cake.
Clearly this is a small subset of how Pitt will find stability in the ACC. There are many other reasons, most likely better ones, as to why the ACC is a great home for Pitt. I'm looking forward to new competition and the overall improvements that will come with a new conference. Hail to Pitt!