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4-1-Zoo: Pitt, Big 12 Rumors Surface

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Conference expansion is back and making headlines as we approach the start of the 2011 season.

With that, we all must wonder once again what the fate of the Big East will be and where Pitt will end up. One week the conference looks like it might be buyers and the next week it looks like the Big East will be a distant memory in a year or two.

So much is still up in the air, but there is a recent report that suggests Pitt might be a candidate to move from the Big East to the Big 12.

Texas A&M is as good as gone in the Big 12, as the Aggies are expected to make a jump to the Southeastern Conference. When that happens, the Big 12 will be looking to add a 10th team, and the conference’s expansion committee apparently already has a wish list.

According to Pete Thamel of the New York Times, the Big 12 is interested in Notre Dame, Arkansas, BYU and Pitt. The first three have been targets for some time now, but Pitt has reportedly become a target recently.

This is interesting news, considering much talk of the Big 12 has been regarding the conference being picked apart by other conferences. There was even word last year that the Big East was ready to claim several teams from the Big 12 if the dominoes fell rapidly.

Pitt hasn’t been mentioned much in relation to the Big 12, which also makes this interesting. Most have entertained more regionally logical places for Pitt to end up, like an expanded Big East or the ACC.

With the closest current Big 12 school over 700 miles away from Pitt’s campus, that type of move would present some interesting travel scenarios (see TCU joining the Big East next year).

Pitt would have to think about basketball as well. Jamie Dixon is a big fan of playing in the Big East, and moving to the Big 12 could upset him.

Of the Big 12’s reported targets, Pitt would seem to be rather attainable. Notre Dame has consistently expressed that it doesn’t want conference affiliation unless the landscape of college football changes drastically, which doesn’t appear imminent. Arkansas is firmly entrenched in the SEC, and there might be little reason to move from such a lucrative conference.

All of this should be taken while keeping a big “IF” in mind. Nobody can predict what will happen in conference expansion. As I said, day by day and week by week things change.

This one — Pitt to the Big 12 — is a new one to me, though. We’ll see if this story has some legs to it.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog
Twitter.com/Chris_Gates
Chris.Gates@cbsradio.com

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