PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Fans and media throughout college football have jumped all over the Panthers, calling the move greedy and lacking loyalty. To that I have to ask, weren’t we all saying the same thing a week ago?
As members of the Big East, weren’t we all wondering where our schools would eventually land?
Weren’t we very unsure about the future of the Big East, even with TCU set to join in 2012?
Haven’t we all speculated on where we’d like our schools to end up if there was seismic change?
And haven’t we all understood since the day Nebraska left for the Big Ten that in five years we all might be playing somewhere else?
The answer to every single one of these questions is a firm and exclamatory YES.
One week ago we were all still making sarcastic comments about our very own beloved Big East Conference. All of us, while respecting the competition, knew that we were playing in the weakest of the automatic-bid BCS conferences.
A perfect Week 1 — eight wins and zero losses throughout the conference — was a landmark weekend, despite the fact that most of the games were against laughable competition. The conference ended in a three-way tie last year, with UConn — yes, UConn … in football — going to a BCS Bowl.
It’s been big news that there are a whopping total of two ranked Big East teams right now.
This is the conference we’re all apparently so distraught to see crumble? It’s Pitt’s fault for jumping to a more stable situation to preserve its long-term athletic and academic future?
Give me a break.
Big East schools should be thanking Pitt and Syracuse. This league had a shaky, unpredictable future and now we have closure: the Big East will dissolve. The remaining members can move forward and ensure their own stability.
And let’s not kid ourselves, money is the driving force here. You can’t sit there and say Pitt shouldn’t have left when it’s guaranteed considerably more money in its new situation. Any other institution would make the same move, and the remaining Big East members will likely end up somewhere that pays them more, too.
Pitt worked harder than any other institution to strengthen the Big East and always said it would weigh any external options regarding conference expansion. The university stood true to its word and, in the end, decided on a more stable option.
We’re a step closer to closure, and the likes of Louisville, South Florida and UConn don’t have to wait with excruciating uncertainty for anyone to determine their fate.
Be glad you’re not Baylor, Kansas or Kansas State, which are all stewing while Texas and Oklahoma mill over their options. If you’re West Virginia and Rutgers, appreciate that you’re not Oklahoma State or Texas Tech — a glorified little brother to the big boys, unable to control your own destiny and forced to tag along on the decisions of others.
The conference will disappear and some rivalries will die. But in the end, we can look to Pitt and Syracuse finally setting the wheels in motion on widespread conference expansion. They did what a lot of schools haven’t been able to do — be proactive and jump on an outstanding opportunity.
That’s something to be applauded.
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog