Bob Smizik

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There was applause from almost everywhere late in the summer of 2011 when Pitt, along with Syracuse, abruptly began divorce proceeding with the Big East and started a trek to the Atlantic Coast Conference that will reach completion with the upcoming football season.

The Panthers, for too long at the whim of the weak Big East, at last had found a safe home in a conference more than half a century old with established members, many of whom had prestigious academic resumes.  Pitt’s future was secure.

Or maybe not.

In the dollars-top-everything world of college football only a few conferences qualify as fully safe havens and it’s starting to look like the ACC might not be one of them. The ACC has not taken on the look of a conference in peril. But future events could push it in that direction.

If the epidemic of conference expansion and desertion has proven anything in the past decade, it is that football is king. Basketball is nice, but football rules. And the ACC is not a good football league.

It is commonly believed that the desertion/expansion phase will not end until there are four 16-team conferences. There’s no guarantee when these super-conferences will fully evolve, but eventually -- within the next five to 10 years, at the most -- they figure to be set.

If that be so, three of those four conferences are set nearly in stone. The conferences currently known as the Pac-12, the Big 10 and the SEC will survive. That leaves either the Big 12 or the ACC as the fourth super-conference.

In many ways, the ACC is the superior league of the two. It has major television markets -- Boston (ranked seven), Atlanta (nine), Miami (16), Pittsburgh (23) and Raleigh-Durham (24). It has prestigious academic institutions -- Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, North Carolina, Boston College.

The Big 12 cannot match the ACC in those categories. After Dallas-Fort Worth (fifth), its next biggest market is Austin (45). Most of its markets are Morgantown-west. Academically, Texas stands as a giant among midgets.

Standing against those ACC advantages are the superior football programs -- both recently and historically -- of the Big 12. Over the past three years, the ACC has had one top 10 finish. In the same span, the Big 12 has had three. The ACC has had three top-15 finishes (all this year). The Big 12 has had eight.

What could be decisive in resolving this issue is which conference panics first and breaks rank. The Big 12 already has suffered serious defections -- Nebraska, Texas A&M, Missouri, Colorado. More recently, the ACC lost Maryland.

There’s not been a whisper of a Big 12 team moving to join the ACC, although, other than Texas, the ACC would not have great interest in a Big 12 member. But there has been talk of Clemson and/or Florida State considering the Big 12. The conference has a $50 million exit fee, but that failed to stop Maryland, which has taken the matter to the courts.

In the chance that the ACC would collapse in the face of a Big 12 raid, Pitt would not necessarily be left out. It would be a viable candidate for a final opening in the Big Ten or as a partner with West Virginia in the Big 12.

Just as no one could have predicted what has transpired over the college athletic landscape in the past decade, no one can guess how all this will play out. But this much appears certain: The ACC is no safe haven -- for Pitt or any team.

Comments (68)Add Comment
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written by cptantilles, January 10, 2013 - 01:23 AM
I was not a fan of the Pitt-to-ACC move when it went down and still don't like it. But looking at the Big 12 vs ACC battle, the key is not quality of football programs but television deals. Look at the Big 10,11, whatever. Excepting Ohio State and Michigan the conference has traditionally been pretty much garbage in football. The key to their success has been their tv network. No one ever watches it but the conference has been highly successful in shoving it down the throats of cable/satellite providers.
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written by Scooter, January 10, 2013 - 02:27 AM
Personally, I'd prefer Pitt in the Big 10.

But I don't think it'll happen. There are better teams and better markets for the Big 10.

I see Pitt getting left out in the long run.

With only 64 teams in 4 super conferences, and about 56 of those teams already being set, I don't see Pitt as one of the preferred 8 left scrambling for a conference.

Realistically, I can see Pitt ending up in a Conference USA type arrangement.
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written by IndyGeo, January 10, 2013 - 03:09 AM
If Pitt admin had forward-looking leaders a couple of decades ago, they would have already been in the Big10 when the Big 10 had interest in them. No matter how the conferences eventually end up, the Big 10 will ALWAYS be the big dog on the block - no other conference can come close. Pitt should already be there.



When did the Big Ten have 'interest' in Pitt. I've never heard that in my lifetime. -- Bob Smizik
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written by david s, January 10, 2013 - 03:40 AM
written by Scooter, January 10, 2013 - 02:27 AM
Personally, I'd prefer Pitt in the Big 10.

But I don't think it'll happen. There are better teams and better markets for the Big 10.


pitt makes sense for either of the bigs. from a television standpoint, it would solidify interest in pittsburgh for either conference, plus pitt has built-in rivalries in both (wvu and psu). so i wouldn't necessarily count the panthers out if things go the way bob predicts. personally, i'd love to see pitt in the big 10.
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written by heartbeatsings, January 10, 2013 - 06:30 AM

This has been a great example of the poor leadership that Pitt has been saddled with.

A true Eastern super conference would reach close to half of the TV sets in the nation and could have dwarfed the other TV deals, especially with new competitors to ESPN (NBC Sports, CBS Sports) looking to build up their cable networks.

Pitt was in a position to make that happen by forming alliances with other Eastern Football schools, but instead took the easy money of the ACC.

The bottom line: Pitt is getting paid. That's good enough for them.
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written by Meathead, January 10, 2013 - 06:45 AM
The call will soon go out that the ACC needs to be proactive and add teams now. Its commissioner will be called an idiot. Five or six teams will find its way to the Big 12. They will be replaced by Cincinnati, Temple, South Florida and East Carolina. Some will suggest Navy, Massachusetts and Villanova. The Big East will live on and Pitt will perenially finish 6-6 and play in compass, tire or dotcom bowls forever and happily ever after.
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written by fullsgold, January 10, 2013 - 07:10 AM
If the epidemic of conference expansion and desertion has proven anything in the past decade, it is that football is king. Basketball is nice, but football rules. And the ACC is not a good football league.--Bob Smizik


More accurately, MONEY is king.

The ACC's problem is the entire ACC agenda has been John Swofford's protection of Tobacco Road. FOUR teams in North Carolina and TWO in Virginia do not make financial sense. Even Swofford realized this 'way back' and wanted to keep Virgina Tech out of the ACC. This is why the ACC's TV's deals are less than other conferences, not because the ACC's football 'isn't as good'. And teams like Florida State, who want more revenue, realize it is unfair and absurd that nearly a third of ACC revenue ends up in the State of North Carolina.

So, what do you do?

The best scenario for the ACC is if a raid by the Big Ten or Big Twelve removes some North Carolina schools or a Virgina school. The problem is the whole ACC agenda is keeping the North Carolina schools together, and Virgina lobbied to be in a conference with Virgina Tech HARD a decade ago. Also, the Big Ten and Big 12 are also targeting markets and therefore teams like Georgia Tech and Miami.

Removal of North Carolina or Virgina 'fat' would allow the ACC to expand into more lucrative markets, thus more money, by adding teams like South Florida or UCONN.

However, Swofford is a shrewd man. The wild-card he still could play is adding Texas to the ACC is some type of arrangement similar to Notre Dame's. This would mortally wound the Big 12, sky-rocket ACC revenue. It may also be good for Texas status and revenue-wise.





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written by SteelEERs Fan, January 10, 2013 - 07:12 AM
It won't be anyone from the Big XII breaking rank, at least for the next decade or so. The conference is in Year 1 of a 13-year deal, $20M/year per team, which includes a "grant of rights" agreement. If any team leaves the conference over the course of the contract, that team's TV money stays with the Big XII, not the new conference. That makes the ACC's $50M exit fee look like chump change.
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written by hiddenvigorish, January 10, 2013 - 07:26 AM

heartbeatsings said:
This has been a great example of the poor leadership that Pitt has been saddled with.

A true Eastern super conference would reach close to half of the TV sets in the nation and could have dwarfed the other TV deals, especially with new competitors to ESPN (NBC Sports, CBS Sports) looking to build up their cable networks.

Pitt was in a position to make that happen by forming alliances with other Eastern Football schools, but instead took the easy money of the ACC.


What? When was Pitt in such a position? In 1980, when Paterno was trying to do so? Or if you're suggesting Pitt was in this position last year when they made their jump to the ACC, which schools would they have been able to corral to create such a league? And how would it have been any different than either the one they were already in (Big East), or the one they were moving to (ACC) ?
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written by OneLittleVictory, January 10, 2013 - 07:38 AM
As a Penn State alum, I would LOVE to have Pitt join us in the B1G. Unfortunately, it won't happen.

As far as the B1G is concerned, Pittsburgh and - more importantly - Philadelphia are already covered by PSU. So, despite Pitt's credentials, they are not seen as a candidate that fills a need or brings anything new to the table. The only way Pitt gets an offer from the B1G is if other schools turn them down.

Unfortunately for Pitt, the ACC appears to be the new Big East: a hoops conference that keeps adding lesser schools to replace more prestigious defectors. If Florida State and/or Clemson do end up leaving for the Big 12, plugging the holes with Cincinnati and UConn would be like replacing a Lexus with a Kia, and those are about the best expansion options the ACC has.

The wild card in this is the Pac 12. What happens if they make a ridiculous offer to Texas and Oklahoma? What if the Big 12 is forced into panic mode?
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written by csf, January 10, 2013 - 07:42 AM
Of course, the correct answer to the question posed in the title of this blog is ... "who in the heck knows?"

On one hand, Pitt and others in the ACC appear to be vulnerable if eventually there are 4 sixteen teams super conferences .... but on the other hand, TV markets DO matter (i.e., Rutgers and Maryland tothe B10.)

So once again .... who in the heck knows?
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written by csf, January 10, 2013 - 07:51 AM
One more thing .... some people may remember that back in the summer of 2011 according to several media reports, the B12 did approach Pitt about joining. This was before Pitt announced it was joining the ACC and well before WVU being accepted into the B12. Pitt would make the perfect partner for WVU for all sports but football in that B12 basketball, gymnastics, swimming, baseball, etc teams can fly into Greater Pitt and play WVU one day and then play Pitt 2 days later ... (much the way the PAC 12 does their basketball)
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written by in10city, January 10, 2013 - 08:02 AM

Kia makes a pretty sweet ride now a days. The ACC is hoops, and UConn and Cincinnati would be good additions. They can try to build up football over the next few years. The big shuffle is to get into one of the up coming super conferences. But in the end money talks and football pays the bills so these super conferences could expand from speculated 16 teams to 20 or even 24.

In my lifetime I would like to see NCAA Division One football have a true playoff to decide the yearly champion. Getting to 4 regionalized super conference makes the most sense to accomplish that goal.

Let's not forget the Evil Sports Parasite Network (ESPN) could make this happen anytime they want, TV money controls everything and ESPN has a lot of power.

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written by jayh63, January 10, 2013 - 08:25 AM
I think the ACC is in good shape. The rumors of Florida State and Clemson leaving for the SEC have been around for years, but they have stayed put. If they haven't left for the SEC I don't see them leaving for the Big 12. Their chance for leaving was last year when the SEC added Texas A&M and Missouri. You can't tell me the SEC would not have rather had Florida State and Clemson. And at the time the ACC buy-out was only 10 million. FSU and Clemson have shown they want to stay in the ACC.

Yes, the ACC lost Maryland but they gained Louisville, a step up for the ACC in both football and basketball. The ACC will be a stronger conference in 2013 than they are in 2012 with the additions of Pitt, Syracuse and Louisville. Plus they added Notre Dame in all sports but football, with ND playing 5 ACC teams in football each year. The ACC is moving in the right direction and is getting stronger.

The Big 12 is moving in the wrong direction losing Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri while gaining WVU and TCU. I'd much rather be in the ACC than the Big 12 at this point. If there is going to be 4 super conferences, my money is on the ACC surviving. Time will tell but it looks like Pitt made the right choice.
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written by Meathead, January 10, 2013 - 08:27 AM
The ACC's problem is the entire ACC agenda has been John Swofford's protection of Tobacco Road.


Even I thought the whining would take longer than 25 minutes. Before a game has been played in its new conference Pitt fans are moaning about the North Carolina teams like they were small Catholic basketball schools.
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written by Mr. Pitt, January 10, 2013 - 08:30 AM
Bob, do you knowthe can of worms you have opened up here? This will invite every know-it-all (who actually knows nothing), conspiracy theorist, arm chair lawyer and revisionist hoistorian on to your blog spreading tons upon tons of misinformation.

The truth is know one knows what is going to happen. I am happy with Pitt in the ACC (even if it becomes a Big East pasrt 2). It's a good athletic, academic and geopgrahic fit. As long as Pitt has a theoretical seat at the table for a national chammpionship in football and basketball, I will be fine with it.

I wish too for a truly north eastern football and basketball league, but it's not going to happen.

If the conferences truly go to 4 superconferences instead of the 5 current ones, then I like the ACC's chances over the Big 12 as being the last man standing. But that is the problem. This is supposed to be about collegiate sports, not corporate takeovers.



I very specifically stated in the story that no one knows how this will turn out. I thought it was worthy of discussion. -- Bob Smizik
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written by PittofDreams, January 10, 2013 - 08:35 AM
"football is king"

Now you tell us. After Pitt tore down its on-campus football stadium and instead of building a new one erected a basketball arena in its place that could have been built anywhere.

Brilliant.



Another person praising what could have been the worst sports facility in the country -- a stadium into which tens of millions had been poured but what still remained a dump. -- Bob Smizik
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written by fried003, January 10, 2013 - 08:38 AM
The ACC is ripe for picking, especially IF Maryland is successful in winning their "exit fee" lawsuit.

Eventually the SEC & Big 10 will want to expand again & where will they go? The ACC has U of NC, UVA, & Georgia Tech. Since geography doesn't seem to matter, GA Tech & UNC look like good targets for the Big 10 as those open new markets. The SEC could add VA Tech & NC State; both new markets for them.

Like the Hotel California, no teams leave the SEC, Big 10 or PAC-? (geography plays a big role there), so the Big-12, ACC & what remains of the Big East are merely fodder, to a large degree, for the top three conferences.

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written by Rich W, January 10, 2013 - 08:40 AM
A couple of years ago, I'd have argued to the death that Pitt was valuable to the B1G. But after these latest realignment moves, it's obvious they have near zero value because of the way they value markets/TV.

It would appear that the pecking order of B1G expansion is UVa, UNC, GTech, Kansas, Mizzou, UConn, Cuse, Miami, although the order of those last three could change and numerous parties suggest UNC doesn't go anywhere w/o Duke, but Duke isn't a fit in B1G.

For someone like me, who will watch 10x the number of college hoops games than football, it makes no sense. What does the BTN show during 35 weeks of the year when there's no football? It's a complete crap network, yet consumers have allowed this to happen.

Not football-related, but if you want to see real market dynamics at work, take a look at the incredulity of Syracuse hoops boards today. These delusional dopes were all POd when the B1G took Rutgers because they're convinced they own the NYC market.

However, SNY, the major regional sports network for the NYC metro just chose to show a Cuse/Providence men's BE conference game on tape delay so they could show the UConn women's hoops game live. SNY isn't stupid. They know what sells in that market.

The altruistic in me thinks it would be nice to have seen network-driven realignment along the lines of how schools support ALL sports. It's all content and some schools have much more of it year-long than others. I like the intent of the Capital One Cup, although I don't think many pay attention to it. I'd watch more BE baseball and soccer if it were available.
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written by fried003, January 10, 2013 - 08:43 AM
Florida State & Clemson haven't left for the SEC yet because they're not invited to join. Those schools don't provide new eyeballs for the conference as there are already schools in the conference in the respective states. It's way more about markets & not the quality of the athletic programs, which is why Rutgers got the Big-10 invitation.
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written by pitchfordjl, January 10, 2013 - 08:43 AM
One thing to remember is that is if it truely goes to 4 big 16 team conferences based on football, then even the lower level teams in those conferences football wise (like Duke or Kentucky for instance) will then draw much greater football talent, making these four conferences much better top to bottom.

So the ones that survive will be based more on what market they are in and the size of thier TV watching alumni base rather than current football talent, as that will change. That's why the ACC is in a much better position to survive than the Big 12--and it isn't close.

Personally, I think the ACC should invite UCONN as their 16th member (assuming ND eventually has to join the conference fully to inlcude football). They don't need to jettison anyone but they may get a team like georgia tech poached. I think the PAC 12 will once again go after the Texas/T Tech/OK/OK State foursome to complete their southwest division and get to sixteen. The Big 10 is already in the largest markets with their adds so I think they will look at Kanasas to get into the mid level Kansas City market (and maybe K State as well). Or they may look south a little bit but I don't think they want to enter deep into SEC territory. The SEC is so solid that I doubt they will feel the need to poach much and I see them adding a team like Houston to get into that huge market and maybe a team like Memphis or maybe Baylor or even SMU in Dallas.

The teams that are in real trouble to me are teams like West Virginia, Iowa State, and Cincinnati who play at a fairly high level now but really don't offer much added value to a conference.
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written by heartbeatsings, January 10, 2013 - 08:45 AM

Or if you're suggesting Pitt was in this position last year when they made their jump to the ACC, which schools would they have been able to corral to create such a league?


@hiddenvigorish: There were many converging factors that created a unique opportunity for bold leadership:

--The Big East TV deal was coming due
--Comcast bought NBC and was looking to create a cable sports network to rival ESPN
--Many schools were dissatisfied with their current conference, including those in the the Big East, ACC, and Big 10.

Money drives everything and the money here would have been staggering.
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written by JerseyD, January 10, 2013 - 08:51 AM
This is all hypothetical, right? With the larger TV audiences @ better academic instuitions, I believe the Acc will be fine. As Bob stated, the Big12 has already been raided, & big names have already fled....... Much bigger than Maryland. Plus, IMHO the Acc is better balanced in terms of Football & basketball vs the Football centric Big 12.

I'd much rather be in the Acc, with the better Tv audience & academics, than a very Top heavy Big 12, with a 1-2 team, 3 tops horse race, more or less in just Football.

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written by pghFred, January 10, 2013 - 08:54 AM
Slightly off topic, but why limit to four 16 team 'super' conferences? Having 50+ of the 120 Div 1 (or whatever it is called now) basically OUT of the NC hunt before the season begins is elitist and exclusionary.

Do they really believe that ONLY the teams that are fortunate enough to be in one of the BIG 4 have the dedication and commitment (including financial) to their programs and therefore should be the only ones considered for the illusion that is the 4 team playoff?

What about the programs already in the current BCS conferences that are just along for the ride on the money train that is football?
ACC - Duke, Wake Forest most years
Big 12 - Iowa State, Kansas
B1G - Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern most years
PAC 12 - Wash State and Oregon State most years
SEC - Kentucky, Miss State, Vanderbilt most years

That's 12 teams that really don't deserve to be in the NC hunt, but will be just because they happened to be a member of one of the BIG 4.

There has to be a better solution.
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written by Pitt75, January 10, 2013 - 08:55 AM
Let me try to explain to you what is/will be happening.

The Pac 12 is going to expand again in the not so far future. They will NOT be adding Boise St. or San Diego St. They will go after Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and OK State. This will end the Big 12 as we know it. However, Texas MAY find the ACC more to its liking. Both Texas and the Longhorn Network and the ACC are partners with ESPN. The ACC wants to create their own network (they are already working on it) and would be able to cross program with TLN. BTW, both Texas and TT are joined at the hip so if Texas leaves TT will follow. This is a big IF but is very possible.

Either way the Big 12 will not be the same.

When the teams leave the Big 12 then Kansas and possibly K-State. will be the most logical additions to the B1G.

The ACC will be OK as only Clemson and Ga Tech would be the only one's that may leave, but the addition of Texas and TT would more than make up for their loss.

One final thing. When all this happens Notre Dame will join the ACC full time. The ACC tv package will be huge.
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written by pitchfordjl, January 10, 2013 - 08:55 AM
JerseyD,

Completely hypothetical. Noone really knows exactly what will happen of course. But I really see the PAC 12 resurrecting what they tried a couple of years ago with the Texas/OK teams. It makes so much sense for them and for those teams. There are many other combinations

But if i had my choice of being in the Big 12 or ACC right now, I would chose the ACC.
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written by JimmyC, January 10, 2013 - 08:56 AM
Maryland's suit about the ACC exit fee is key to future conference realignment. If the Terps win it sets the stage for a lot of changes. Georgia Tech, Clemson, FSU and UNC could be targetted by other conferences.
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written by pitchfordjl, January 10, 2013 - 09:04 AM
The main reason to expand, by the way, is not to add other "football schools" to your conference. It is to expand geographically into other markets to spread your brand and make more money. So the SEC adding Clemson or the Big 10 adding Cincinnati, for instance, wouldn't make much sense.
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written by sdot, January 10, 2013 - 09:06 AM
Once Maryland gets out for cheap the ACC will lose some teams. The SEC wants to expand markets and can do that by adding not so great teams because the football is so strong. If they went after VT and NCST that would leave FSU and Clemson as targets for the B12.
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written by sdot, January 10, 2013 - 09:09 AM
Also, can we stop pretending this has anything to do with academics at this point?



We can but the university presidents won't. smilies/cheesy.gif -- Bob Smizik
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written by SDWC, January 10, 2013 - 09:16 AM
Give it a few years and the ACC might very well be composed of nothing but former Big East teams.
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written by JerseyD, January 10, 2013 - 09:16 AM
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written by pitchfordjl, January 10, 2013 - 09:04 AM
The main reason to expand, by the way, is not to add other "football schools" to your conference. It is to expand geographically into other markets to spread your brand and make more money. So the SEC adding Clemson or the Big 10 adding Cincinnati, for instance, wouldn't make much sense.


@pitchford,

And we have a good Bingo!!! Which is exactly why the Big 10 went after Rutgers. Not because there great athletically, but because of the NYC tv potential.

Which I believe, they overplayed their hand. While there maybe a lot of tv viewership in this market, it is/was & will continue to be a professional market. Collegiate sports don't get too much play here. That's just how it is. Professional teams will continue to thrive, while college sports will continue to be second fiddle.
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written by pitchfordjl, January 10, 2013 - 09:24 AM
Same reason they went for Maryland. The DC Market. For instance, Cincinnati is a much better football program than Maryland by far, but with Ohio State they already have that market.

That's why I don't see the SEC taking on a Clemson or Fl State. They will add more Texas or OK teams. O perhaps go up in to Virginia, but i doubt that.

Now the Big 10 may want to come south a little, like I said before, and add a Virginia or Va Tech, but that doesn't help them much. Or they may look at North Carlina, which would get them in to Charlotte, a big market (don't just look at NC as tobacco road). But I do see them looking at Kanses for several reasons, both TV market wise and for basketball, as much as that may shock.

Frankly, the Big 12 will try to grab anyone they can get.
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written by sdot, January 10, 2013 - 09:27 AM
Which I believe, they overplayed their hand. While there maybe a lot of tv viewership in this market, it is/was & will continue to be a professional market. Collegiate sports don't get too much play here. That's just how it is. Professional teams will continue to thrive, while college sports will continue to be second fiddle.


This point is moot. They don't care at all if people in NYC actually watch Rutgers. The way the Big10 network gets paid is something like 1 cent in non home markets and 5 cents in home markets. Basically, they just increased their profits for the millions of cable subscribers in the NYC area 5x (my exact numbers may be off but that's how it works). All of the old grannies who know nothing about football will collectively be paying the B10 lots of money now and they don't even know it.
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written by JerseyD, January 10, 2013 - 09:35 AM
@sdot,

If that's the case, then why didn't someone else raid them? They have the sec network? The Acc network is in the works, they could have waited. I don't think it's as easy as you make it out to be. If that was the case, they would have been the 1st to get snatched up..... By anyone.
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written by dforemanwvwv, January 10, 2013 - 09:38 AM
Major metropolitan television markets are not an advantage for the ACC as a football conference, just as they were not an advantage for the Big East. Boston tv watchers would rather see the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, or Bruins instead of BC football. Most of DC would rather watch RGIII's knee surgery instead of Maryland or Virginia football. The SEC claims very few major metropolitan areas (New Orleans? Atlanta?) but it is the strongest football conference by pretty much any measure and it demands the biggest money for television eyeballs.
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written by pitchfordjl, January 10, 2013 - 09:40 AM
Becuase geography does matter to an extent. Look at the boig east adding west coast teams--that ridiculous arrangement is falling apart faster than it was put together.

Iis more than just market, but market by far is the #1 driver. Any noone wants to wait to get into one of the big conferences for fear they will be left out in the end.
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written by Whammy Douglas, January 10, 2013 - 09:40 AM
@sdot
The BTN will probably not be able to strong-arm NYC cable operators. If they couldn't strong-arm Armstrong Cable north of Pittsburgh, good luck in NYC. (pun intended). BTN is not on Armstrong and won't be on Armstrong for the foreseeable future.
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written by Mr. Pitt, January 10, 2013 - 09:53 AM
I very specifically stated in the story that no one knows how this will turn out. I thought it was worthy of discussion. -- Bob Smizik

I wasn't really criticizing you. I was just pointing out the sort of comment that this topic was going to attract. Sorry if I offended.
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written by cfd, January 10, 2013 - 10:06 AM
Bob:

Pure demographics would seem to dictate the survival of the ACC. Other than Teexas and perhaps Oklahoma ,there is not much to select with the Big 12(a misnomer if ever there was one). No I see expansion for the ACC via UCONN,yet another lead toward the lucrative NYC/New England market. The country would then be divided into 4 areas,the West Coast(Pac12),the Midwest(BigTen) Southeast(SEC) and EastCoast(ACC)......the people and money reside there.

Corri
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written by Whistle Pig, January 10, 2013 - 10:17 AM
Great piece, Bob. Really.

Still, I'm confused by your notion that ACC teams would matriculate to a Big 12 that has only one significant TV market. Which of course brings us to your 1st observation, i.e. that $$$ drives the show in this game. And football is the #1 $$$maker. And TV markets and advertising potential are what makes football the big dog, by the networks.

And then to come back and suggest that there will be a migration of ACC football wannabe powerhouses to that conference with dramatically less potential for generating the $$$ that is the ultimate determinant of football programs? Well, seems this goes around in a circle that makes no sense? Can you help me out here?

btw, just one "I told you so." Remember when, just a couple seasons ago, you nurtured a raging discussion of which conference ... Big East vs. Big 10 vs. ACC ... was most "worthy." And all those Pittsters were chest-pounding about the wonders of the Big East?

Seems history does repeat itself. smilies/grin.gif
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written by Whistle Pig, January 10, 2013 - 10:21 AM
What did Maryland willingly, WANTINGLY pay to escape the ACC for the Big 10? $50million?

So much for the NCAA's $60million parking ticket doing any real damage to the behemoth Penn State.

Illuminates the reality of this one ... Like taking a pint of pee from the Pacific.

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written by mayorbd, January 10, 2013 - 10:31 AM
The next seismic shift will be the advent of a la cart cable purchasing to the consumer. No longer will these contrived "Conference Networks" be viable as soon as the carriage fees dry up. The BTN, Longhorn Network and the like will no longer be shoved down the uninterested consumer's throat. The ENORMOUS disconnect are the ad revenues VS. ratings these networks are generating via their programming.

Cable consumer freedom of choice is coming and will turn the existing revenue models on their ear.
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written by Whistle Pig, January 10, 2013 - 10:32 AM
And one more thought ...

Did you say that Pittsburgh is now headed down demographically to be sidled up next to that up-and-coming Gotham City aka Raleigh-Durham? Now THAT's informative and frightening as we think about the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore "Browns", Tennessee Oilers, LA Raiders, etc. And as we watch Pgh shrinking to below 300K as Raleigh-Durham continues to grow.

Isn't Raleigh where Cowher's living? hmmmm ... Raleigh-Durham Steelers?

Rooney's are 'Burghers ... and they are also shrewd businessmen.And now we see them working to get someones else to pay for the extra seats they'd benefit from. Any bets on what the outcome will be?

Seems college football isn't the only game in town chasing the bigger buck.
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written by Munson007, January 10, 2013 - 11:01 AM
I find it hard to believe the ACC is on shakier ground than The Big 12. B12 just lost Nebraska, Colorado, A&M, and Missouri while adding a Texas team and a school neither the sec or ACC wanted (wvu). With the PAC 10 adding what amounted to 2 DUDS, they're not going to be satisfied with the 4 options that remain out west and will look to again expand Southwest. That grant of rights stuff can all be over-turned in the courts. The B12 is made up of a bunch of cow towns that have had some recent success in football. ESPN won't allow the ACC to dissolve the way the big east has. Especially to the Fox network or Big Ten Network. Pitt is in a good home, geographically and competition-wise. Trading Louisville for Maryland was actually a good move as well. And Clemson/FSU if they want better competition then maybe they can stop scheduling TWO FCS teams per year, which is a joke. And idk, maybe try beating their in-state sec rival once in a while. Don't underestimate the ND tie-in for the orange bowl either, it's big money (compared to FSU getting stuck playing a MAC school in the current system).
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written by Whistle Pig, January 10, 2013 - 11:15 AM
Munson ... not sure I grasp your applause of "trading Louisville for Maryland." That's essentially a basketball gig with the Cardinal's being a "river town that has had some recent success in football." And trading the DC/Baltimore TV market for Louisville/Jefferson City,IN??? Are you kidding?
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written by Whistle Pig, January 10, 2013 - 11:21 AM
Louisville is like a backwater, minor league Pitt! Good basketball, stepping stone football program, great hospitals, urban U trapped by its environment and being held captive to a far more significant major state,land-grant university. Forever sucking on the commonwealth's hind teat. There are momentary times of sunshine, but they are essentially abberations. Louisville's football coach'll be history as soon as the better offer presents. And that could be many if not any.
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written by TheBestManagementTeaminSports, January 10, 2013 - 11:53 AM
Yawn. If there supposedly are these 16 team Super Conferences on the horizon.....let's see....the Pac 12 (14) needs to add a few teams. Do you think they would be looking at Boise State and New Mexico? Or...since they have already courted Texas and Oklahoma, maybe look in that area. Everyone talks about the SEC going to 16 and assuming they go after Clemson and FSU. But they already got those markets. Wouldn't Oklahoma and Texas make sense? Kansas makes just as much sense for the Big 10 as any other entity, and we know they have courted Texas.

The Big 12 has never been a homogenous unit, it was part Big 8, part SWC. They have had charter members defect. I am not sure why Pittsburgh based media assume that the Big 12 is stronger as a unit than the ACC. Sure, Texas and the Oklahomas play better football, but....okay, they play better football.

Also, I am sure the Pac 12 are really not that excited over the "splash" that adding Colorado and Utah, so if they expand, they will look big.

I will bet dollars to donuts that if this cataclysmic 16 team super conferences emerge...the Big 12 will be the odd man out.
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written by Munson007, January 10, 2013 - 11:57 AM
Louisville is better than UK, take your sec blinders off. Even Pitt beat UK in the compass bowl. Kids want to play in bcs games, not lose to Florida by 40 points every year. Attendance at Louisville events trumps Maryland. The Houston market is huge as well, nobody cares about The Cougars much like nobody is going to watch Maryland vs. Purdue on the big ten network.
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written by Munson007, January 10, 2013 - 11:59 AM
He turned down Tennessee for Louisville
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written by hiddenvigorish, January 10, 2013 - 12:17 PM

Heartbeatstrings said:
@hiddenvigorish: There were many converging factors that created a unique opportunity for bold leadership:

--The Big East TV deal was coming due
--Comcast bought NBC and was looking to create a cable sports network to rival ESPN
--Many schools were dissatisfied with their current conference, including those in the the Big East, ACC, and Big 10.

Money drives everything and the money here would have been staggering.


Please name the schools that would have been interested in such a "true eastern superconference".
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written by genius, January 10, 2013 - 01:13 PM
Some legitimate success on the field would go a long way towards making sure Pitt isn't left out. The missed FG in OT against Notre Dame was a body blow to the program.
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written by roger_jolly, January 10, 2013 - 01:25 PM
written by Meathead, January 10, 2013 - 06:45 AM

The call will soon go out that the ACC needs to be proactive and add teams now. Its commissioner will be called an idiot. Five or six teams will find its way to the Big 12. They will be replaced by Cincinnati, Temple, South Florida and East Carolina. Some will suggest Navy, Massachusetts and Villanova. The Big East will live on and Pitt will perenially finish 6-6 and play in compass, tire or dotcom bowls forever and happily ever after.


so how did your favorite team do in the bowl meat? Oh, that's right.....
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written by pghfan1992, January 10, 2013 - 03:14 PM
Technology and demographics and their affect on money becomes the key. The way television/internet viewing options go is the way the money goes and that will be the way conference survival will be determined. Market size and demographics will be the second criteria IMO.

IF alacarte programming becomes the wave and large cable providers have true competition from HULU, Google, Apple... when these TV contracts are up around 2020, I believe the ACC could be the big winner and, to play devil's advocate, the Big 10 the big loser.

The ACC has a growing demographic, ND which is a ratings powerhouse, the aggregate largest markets covered on the east coast (including NY, Atlanta, Charlotte and Miami). I know people will argue that the Big 10 has Maryland and Rutgers but Virginia is as big as Maryland in the DC corridor and more people follow Notre Dame and Syracuse than Rutgers in the NY area.

If people are able to choose subscription options and not be forced, the Big 10 with few big markets and most schools in shrinking markets, will lose their cash cow. It is hard to imagine the Big 10 not in the drivers seat but the determination will be how valuable the Big10 network is when technology gets done reshaping the landscape.

If revenue evens out the Big 10 becomes the least appealing conference. They have OSU, Michigan, and PSU as teams people want to watch outside of their respective markets. Next is Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsiin and these are not huge national draws and have shrinking demodragpics. After that who cares about the rest of the Big 10 or the tv sets in those markets?

Something else; If ND had gone to the Big 10 I may have a different opinion, but ND's decision not to go to the Big 10 may just be prophetic. ND chose to walk away from the midwest and the series with Michigan.

Texas and OK are also a key; if they stay in the 12 long term then that conference will be stable and could add Cincy and others in the future.

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written by chasbo, January 10, 2013 - 03:36 PM
@WhistlePig

"Louisville is like a backwater, minor league Pitt! Good basketball, stepping stone football program, great hospitals, urban U trapped by its environment and being held captive to a far more significant major state,land-grant university. Forever sucking on the commonwealth's hind teat. There are momentary times of sunshine, but they are essentially abberations. Louisville's football coach'll be history as soon as the better offer presents. And that could be many if not any"

I would add that Pitt is a prestigious undergraduate University and delete the teat reference, but otherwise I unfortunately cannot disagree with anything else.

I have been following Pitt football since the 70s and have been to every home game but a few in the past 30 years. "There are momentary times of sunshine, but they are essentially abberations" Certainly defines my history of following the team.

10 wins is the most I've seen since the early 80s and that only once. No major bowl victories since Dan Marino hit John Brown with that touchdown pass in the Sugar Bowl. No outright conference championships. I have been fortunate enough to see many great players and a few transcendant ones.

In my circle of boosters anyway we are just hoping for another of those moments of sunshine one of these days.
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written by Knuterock, January 10, 2013 - 03:38 PM
As long as Notre Dame plays college football, PItt's future is safe.

The future may hold 4 or 5 bigger conferences, but Pitt will never have to worry about being left out. Even if those conferences form, the sport is too big to only allow 4 teams from a select number of conferences to compete for a National title.

Notre Dame's insistance on staying independent helps everyone outside Bob's 4 major conferences. Pitt is in a great conference. There are more schools trying to get into the ACC then leave right now.

Its too bad the Big East didn't form on of the major conference first.

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written by Meathead, January 10, 2013 - 03:53 PM
so how did your favorite team do in the bowl meat? Oh, that's right.....


The alma mater finished 6-4 in 2012 and didn't make the playoffs.

How did your Dukes fare?

Wannabe.
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written by Hailtopitt81, January 10, 2013 - 04:12 PM
Notre Dame took a look around, could have affiliated with any conference it wanted. It decided on the ACC. Doubt that would have happened if there was serious concerns about stability. Say what you may about the Domers, one thing you can't say is that they're stupid. I agree that the Big 12 is the most likely to disintegrate. WVU will be left out again. Bummer.
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written by bennett8111, January 10, 2013 - 04:15 PM
One simple question...why doesn't the ACC invite UConn into the fold to replace Maryland? Seems to be a perfect fit!
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written by pitchfordjl, January 10, 2013 - 04:24 PM
Because they invited Louisville instead--get's them a little more to the West as a natural fit with ND
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written by JimmyC, January 10, 2013 - 04:27 PM
Gosh, there's a lot of misinformation being tossed around here. I don't know where to begin. The Big 12 is a better financial deal for members than is the ACC. Swofford has a few faults but putting tobacco road ahead of what is best for the conference is not one of them. Pittsburgh is not that great of a city or a place to live. If it was there wouldn't be so many exPittsburghers scattered throughout the nation, so stop knocking other cities.

If Clemson, Ga Tech, FSU or UNC is offered a better deal, like any school, they will take it just like Pitt did.

And when alacarte cable becomes a reality then ESPN and other networks will not havethe money to pay conferences the big money driving conference realignment.
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written by chasbo, January 10, 2013 - 04:34 PM
"One simple question...why doesn't the ACC invite UConn into the fold to replace Maryland? Seems to be a perfect fit!"

Louisville was a better fit from an athletic standpoint (better football, equal basketball) and a geographic standpoint. Louisville only lacks the academics for the ACC, which of course is of zero consequence.
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written by chasbo, January 10, 2013 - 04:35 PM
" Pittsburgh is not that great of a city or a place to live. If it was there wouldn't be so many exPittsburghers scattered throughout the nation, so stop knocking other cities."

LOL

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-named-most-livable-city-again-245160/
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written by pitchfordjl, January 10, 2013 - 04:40 PM
Speaking as an "exPittsburgher", I had to leave, like so many others, when the steel industry sank and jobs were scarce. I would have stayed if I could. It really isn;t fair to say a city is a bad place to live when something like that was the cause. Especially when the city rebounded so nicely. And Pitt is a fine institution of higher learning.
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written by Jackagain, January 10, 2013 - 05:13 PM
Here's why the ACC chose L'Ville (and Pitt) over UConn:

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/30368-acc-wanted-syracuse-connecticut-but-boston-college-vetoes-uconn
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written by ronald, January 10, 2013 - 08:47 PM
I think revenue is king. Your cash flow is your rank in this game. Everything else is window dressing.
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written by Joe Lawrence, January 10, 2013 - 10:04 PM
written by mayorbd, January 10, 2013 - 10:31 AM
The next seismic shift will be the advent of a la cart cable purchasing to the consumer. No longer will these contrived "Conference Networks" be viable as soon as the carriage fees dry up. The BTN, Longhorn Network and the like will no longer be shoved down the uninterested consumer's throat. The ENORMOUS disconnect are the ad revenues VS. ratings these networks are generating via their programming.

Cable consumer freedom of choice is coming and will turn the existing revenue models on their ear.


Excellent point! And the sooner it happens, the better.
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written by schmoe, January 11, 2013 - 08:51 AM
Even if Maryland wins their lawsuit, and many in the DC area believe that will be the case (I hope not), and even if cable-a-la-carte never comes to fruition, the conference realignment might still not happen when the Big 10's recent moves are found to be money losing.

I have a hard time believing that taking a football program that nobody cares about from a large market constitutes exposure to that large market. Large carriage fees can only be extracted when high numbers of viewers call up the cable operators and demand the channel.

This will be especially problematic for Maryland because they part of the same tv market as DC and VA. While cable providers in Silver Spring Maryland may be forced to acquiesce to the Big 10 network, cable providers in DC and VA will be under far less pressure. Cable operators are far more granular the broadcast markets.

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