Pitt Panthers : Football Is The Big Winner Of Move to ACC.

By Robert D. Cobb

Pitt is well-known for having such great players such as Hall-Of-Famers Dan Marino, Mike Ditka and Tony Dorsett grace the football gridiron.

With nine national titles and 671 wins, the Pitt Panthers may have a proud tradition of winning to draw from, but in recent times the once-proud football team has not exactly lived up to its storied history.

Pitt’s move from the Big East to the ACC, gives them not only a more visible platform, but also give the Panthers football program a much-needed boost.

A member of the Big East since 1991, Pitt along with—soon to be former— Big East member, Syracuse accepted offers to become the 13th and 14th members of the ACC, makes you wonder how and why Pitt—specifically Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg— would bolt the Big East when they themselves were one of the most vocal opponents of the defections of Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech in 2003?

The answer may lie between the dollar bills covering up the hashmarks.

According to an ESPN Outside The Lines report, that as of 2009, the Big East had the sixth highest conference revenue of $93.35 million, exactly $80.59 million less than the ACC.  Did Pitt sell out and defect from the conference that it had so staunchly defended for almost $81 million dollars?

Sounds like it.

A small price to pay to betray the so –called “loyalty” of your own conference, but in the case of Pitt, this move to the ACC could prove to be more than just a financial windfall.

Pitt will be able to re-new rivalries with former Big East schools, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami and form new mid-Atlantic regional rivalries with Maryland, Virginia and national powerhouse, Florida State.

With the rumors of Connecticut, Rutgers and a remote possibility of Notre Dame coming to the ACC, Pitt’s move not only looks shrewd but the Panthers will also benefit from more prime-time appearances on national TV.

The main benefit that the Panthers will now get to enjoy is in recruiting, Pitt already has a beautiful urban campus in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Oakland, but Pitt also plays at and trains at the same stadium of Heinz Field and trains at the same complex of the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers on the city’s South Side.

What other BCS school can say that they play and train on the same field as a Super Bowl champion?

With the recent success of former Panthers in the NFL such as running back LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jon Baldwin of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jabaal Sheard of the Cleveland Browns, Pitt can be looked at as an attractive school for players who want to go to the NFL.

The move to the ACC may jeopardize the long-standing feud with West Virginia, but it appears that Pitt is ready to leave it’s old backyard for a richer more lucrative green lawn, as the Panthers have 81 million reasons to see for themselves if the grass in the ACC is indeed greener on the other side.

Follow me on Twitter, @RobertCobb_NFL

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