The Pac 10’s Expansion Will Kill the Big East. Can Pitt Survive?

The Pac 10's rumored expansion will pull the plug for the Big East as a major conference.  The logical conference affiliations make sense geographically and academically, and the math works out perfectly for the New Pac 10:

  • New Pac 10 West: UW, WSU, Oregon, Oregon St, Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, USC
  • New Pac 10 East: Arizona, ASU, Colorado, Oklahoma, Okla St, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor
  • Bound for SEC: Texas A&M (their administration board knows they're big enough to not be in UT's shadow, and the Pac 10 just wants Texas).

It's incredibly logical, geographically consistent, and leaves Pitt without a home in a big, academically viable conference. The Big East is too small to survive this shakeout, but it does have eight viable schools for entry in other conferences. Let's assume a few important items:

  1. All eight Big East football schools are viable candidates for entry into the ACC and Big Ten (not necessarily a realistic assumption), but not the SEC;
  2. Academics play a back seat to sporting attendance and the potential for cable subscriptions (except for the Big Ten's AAU requirement);
  3. The SEC is the most powerful of the three conferences and will attempt to get the best of the available TV markets, but will be smart enough to know that Syracuse and/or Rutgers do not necessarily equal New York. The Big Ten will be second in the pecking order. 

Here we go with two new conferences:

  • New SEC East: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tenn, Vandy, Auburn, Alabama
  • New SEC West: Kansas, Kansas St, Missouri, Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss St
  • New Big Ten West: Nebraska, Minn, Wisc, Iowa, Iowa St, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue
  • New Big Ten East: Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt, Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan, Mich St, Indiana.  
  • New ACC North: BC, UConn, WVU, Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, UVA, VT. Maybe this is a Big East sympathizer's dream, but on the bright side, there are a bunch of contiguous states here.  
  • New ACC South: Duke, UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami.

This does leave out my favorite directional school, South Florida, but they were essentially the last ones in, so it's OK. As long as Pitt's protected. If they don't get into one of these 16-team behemoths, they might as well go to the UAA.

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