First, if you haven't read my earlier thoughts from yesterday, check them out here.
Over at Big East Coast Bias, I noticed this in one of the comments of a post about Pitt and couldn't help but see the irony:
There is talk of bringing in the Kansas teams
That's just it - there was always 'talk' of things getting done, but very little of it actually materialized. I've been screaming for nearly two years that the Big East needed to get to 12 football members. Even when expansion started taking off with Boise State, Colorado, Nebraska, and others moving around, the Big East mantra was always essentially, "We're thinking about it." Sure, there was the TCU addition, but that was more like an expensive band-aid. The addition of one good football program doesn't mean you can stave off extinction.
The Big East didn't need to get to 12 football members to have a conference championship as others wanted, but so that they'd have a fighting chance to even stay alive if something like this ever happened. In that case, losing two schools probably wouldn't mean the end ... but now it might.
Pitt AD, Steve Pederson, regardless what you think of him, knew this. He and Chancellor Nordenberg fought with the Big East to expand and warned the conference that they would seek other alternatives back in May ... of 2010. That's right - the Big East reportedly knew about this and for nearly 1 1/2 years, and it only added one new member. New members don't get added left and right and I'm not crazy about the idea of adding schools for the sake of adding schools. But in the position the Big East was in, it's clear they needed to move a little more swiftly.
I feel for the other Big East members that now have even more uncertainty than was there before. And all the anger and hatred that comes Pitt's way is expected. As Pitt fans, we were on the other side of it back when BC/VT/Miami left, so we're well aware what's coming. But in the end, Pitt, like any school, has to do what's best for them.
The thing I can't wrap my head around is the fact that even nearly facing extinction back in 2003, the Big East still moved at a snail's pace this time around. Having cheated death once, the response was to do the bare minimum and then wait it out and see what happened. They got to eight with the additions of South Florida, Cincinnati, and Louisville, but were satisfied with that. The conference's cue to expand came earlier this year when things began to shift, but instead of adjusting, they added TCU and called it a day. The TCU addition was a big one, don't get me wrong. But, again, that should have been the beginning of Big East expansion, not the end of it. Who knows where the Big East was headed, but in Pitt's eyes, it wasn't moving fast enough.
Can the Big East stay alive? It's hard to see it happening, to be honest. As expected, others are now looking to leave with the news that UConn is knocking on the ACC door reportedly. And West Virginia is reportedly looking to the SEC. The little chance that the Big East can survive will depend on John Marinatto aggressively adding new members.
Yeah, like you, I don't see it happening, either.