By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Realignment has been a hot topic in college football over the last couple of weeks and the ACC has struck first. Pittsburgh and Syracuse submitted applications to join the conference recently and the ACC has announced both teams as members on Sunday.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse have been confirmed as the 13th and 14th members of the ACC. The talk around college football is super conferences are around the corner, which makes the ACC’s move potentially a strike to get ahead of the SEC, Pac-12 or Big Ten.
Both teams are expected to join the ACC in time for the 2012 season. Considering the uncertainty surrounding the college football landscape, this may be the first of several moves over the next couple of weeks.
The last expansion move by the ACC occurred in 2003, when the conference added Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College from the Big East.
Even though Syracuse was a charter member of the Big East, the uncertainty around the conference was too much. The Orange suffered through some down seasons under Greg Robinson, but new coach Doug Marrone has the program headed in the right direction.
Pittsburgh was not a charter member of the Big East, joining the conference in 1982. The Panthers have been a solid bowl team in recent years, but their last conference title was in 2004.
The additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh helps the ACC expand its reach and footprint. The Orange are the ACC’s first team in New York, while the Panthers are the first in Pennsylvania.
It can’t hurt for television purposes that the ACC is now into Pittsburgh and within range of New York City.
What’s next for the ACC?
Moving to a 16-team conference isn’t out of the question. Texas, Kansas and Texas Tech are believed to be targets of ACC expansion, especially with the Big 12 on shaky ground.
Adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse currently makes the ACC the largest BCS conference. However, as college football fans have learned over the last couple of weeks, realignment can change that in a matter of days.
Oklahoma and Texas will have a regents meeting on Monday, which could set the table for more realignment to occur this week.
If the Big 12 survives, then the ACC could choose to stick with 14 teams or target two more Big East teams to get to 16.
If the ACC decides to go after more Big East teams, Rutgers and Connecticut are reportedly the top targets.
What's next for the Big East?
With the departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the conference is currently left with six teams - Connecticut, Rutgers, South Florida, West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati. TCU is also scheduled to join the conference in 2012.
The conference could continue with seven teams for 2012, but the future of the Big East will hinge on the future of the Big 12. If Texas and Oklahoma leave, the remaining teams in the Big East and Big 12 could combine to create a new conference.
What happens in the next week could define the future of the Big East.
Basketball Impact of Pittsburgh and Syracuse Joining the ACC
By Mitch Light
Adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse gives the ACC two elite basketball programs that will instantly make the league better. North Carolina and Duke have been the only consistent powers in the ACC over the last two decades. Other programs, like Maryland and Wake Forest, have had some great moments, but no other team has been able to consistently threaten the Big Two. Well, Syracuse and Pittsburgh might be able to do that — at least in the short team. Syracuse has staying power, but Pittsburgh might take a step back after several years in the ACC. The concern with the Panthers is recruiting; the program relies heavily on the metro New York area and uses the games against New York area teams — Rutgers, Seton Hall and St. John's — as an enticement to lure players from NYC to Pittsburgh. This pipeline might dry up if Pitt is no longer in the Big East.
Here’s a look at the current ACC members and when they joined the conference –
Boston College: 2005
Florida State: 1991
Georgia Tech: 1979
North Carolina: 1953
NC State: 1953
Virginia Tech: 2004
Wake Forest: 1953