Monday, February 1, 2010

Revisiting Big Ten Expansion

Looks like there's been quite a bit of activity on talk about Big Ten expansion. I realllly wanted to avoid bringing this one back since the original talk of expansion hit the street a while back - at least until something substantive came out. If I made a post every time something was discussed on a message board, this would be a 24-7 job.

The only reason I am making a post is because an actual journalist (someone who actually is in direct contact with the school) had a pretty definitive statement on the issue - that would be Paul Zeise of the PG.

Now, this isn't to say the message board stuff or other 'rumors' aren't true. I have no idea. But this is the first actual journalist - someone who does this for a living - I've seen come out and say what they've heard.

Personally, like I said before, it would likely mean more money for Pitt and even more prestige in the football area. But competing would be that much harder in the Big Ten and instead of having the chance do what Cincinnati did this year - go undefeated and compete for a national title - Pitt would have a much harder time winning the Big Ten. Ohio State and Penn State have been national powers for many years, Iowa looks like they could be on the right track, and you've still got Wisconisn, Michigan (who won't be down forever), MSU, and others to deal with.

Get this clear - I'm in no way saying Pitt could never contend with any of those teams. I'm merely stating the obvious - to beat all of those teams in one year to get to a National Championship would be infinitely more difficult than trying to run the table in the Big East.

I've done my homework out there as far as gathering opinions and I'm sure I'm in the minority on this one. But I would see it as a bad move.

The only thing is that Pitt may be FORCED to make this move if the Big Ten is going to raid more than one team. The conference can survive losing a Rutgers or Syracuse. But losing three teams would force everyone else in scramble mode and who knows where that would end up. So if the Big Ten is taking more than one, Pitt may have to make that move.

The other side of this as well is it's going to hurt basketball. The Big Ten is not terrible, but they're certainly not the drawing card of the Big East. Pitt has a fairly established connection in the NY/NJ/DC area. That's not to say we won't be able to get any of those kids, but the allure of the Big East will certainly help.

In a nutshell, I'm against this unless Pitt's hand is forced.


  1. Lee

    Pitt does not get the top tier talent in bb in the east.
    Syracuse, Duke, U of L, NC and UConn usually do, therefore their recruiting should remain status quo.

    I really think bb will not see any drop offs in recruiting, Dixon might Leave but where would he go?

    PAC 10, Big 12?

    The big 10 will take Syracuse or Rutgers before Pitt, Pitt doesn't bring anything to the party because of PSU.

  2. Good point about the upper-level talent not coming to Pitt. I've thought of that and it's certainly true. But I think in the long run, it would be a blow, because I expect them to see be able to get those types of kids if they stay in the Big East. They're already starting to crack into the upper-level guys with DeJuan Blair (who I think was a top 50 kid), Dante Taylor (top 25), and next year's class (three ESPN 150 guys). They're not quite there yet, but are making strides to hopefully landing some elite players down the road.

    And I'm not sure about this as it falls under the whole rumors from people supposedly in the know category. But one thing I heard was that Pitt could be somewhat valued by the Big Ten for their medical education program, which is one of the top ones in the country. How much that plays into it or if it's even valid, I have no idea. But it makes sense that it could be seen as a positive for the Big Ten if they're really looking to bring a good academic school in, which I'm sure they are.