Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PITT to the Big 12? I suppose it's not a totally absurd possibility

Rumors have surfaced that Pitt is a possible candidate to join the Big 12 after the seemingly inevitable departure of Texas A&M to the SEC. Pitt officials have refused to comment on the matter so you know the rumors are at least somewhat true.

From a logistics standpoint, Pitt going to a conference with Missouri being the closest university at seven hours away seems absolutely ridiculous. I mean, that would be like TCU joining the Big East......oh wait. That has already happened.

I guess it could actually happen. Pitt isn't the only school rumored to be in the Big 12 mix. Notre Dame is also a possibility, so you know if Pitt is being courted by the Big 12, Notre Dame is being courted with a box of chocolates, some roses, and a limousine.

Obviously, Notre Dame would turn down such an offer because they're totally too good for conferences, so Pitt would be sloppy seconds, and I must say, it wouldn't be the worst idea ever.

From a football standpoint, the Big 12 is pretty powerful. The conference may have taken its lumps recently with the departures of Nebraska and Colorado last year, and apparently A&M in the near-future, but any conference with Texas and Oklahoma as members is a player in football regardless of who leaves and who joins.

Pitt joining would almost-instantly upgrade its football program, at least in the court of public opinion.

As for basketball? Anything other than a move to the ACC would downgrade Pitt's basketball prestige, but as we all know, football rules the roost in big-time college athletics, and besides, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Texas aren't exactly chopped-liver in the basketball department.

I don't know what a move like that would do to recruiting for both football and basketball. Would New York still be a pipeline for Jamie Dixon if he didn't have playing in Madison Square Garden every March as a selling-point? On the flip-side, would he be able to land more kids from the Midwest or even South if he could sell trips to Texas and Oklahoma every year?

On the football side of the coin, in my opinion, selling a conference with Texas and Oklahoma in it can only help recruiting.

I've been wondering when the next conference-shift would occur, and it looks like it will be Texas A&M to the SEC. And you just know it's not the last domino to fall. There will be others. I'm beginning to think Pitt needs to be proactive and at least try to inquire about moving to another conference. It seems like the Big East is the most vulnerable conference every time this stuff comes up. Other than TCU, there isn't anything left out there for the Big East to go after. It's always going to be the sixth conference in-terms of football-prestige. And if a WVU or Syracuse defects, it may not even be that.

Pitt needs a stable place to hang its hat even if that hat will be hanging next to a Stetson in the closet.

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