ACC Expansion: Pitt Wants Out For 2012, Unwilling To Pay More Than $5 Million

On the heels of the settlement between West Virginia and the Big East which will allow the Mountaineers to compete in the Big 12 next season, Pittsburgh is looking to also leave the Big East for the ACC in time for the 2012 season. Problem is Pitt AD Steve Pederson has made it clear he's not paying more than the $5 million exit fee to get the 27-month waiting period waived.

"No," Pederson said emphatically when asked Wednesday if Pitt would be willing to increase the amount of money to be able to leave the conference in time for the 2012 season."

[snip]

"The sooner everyone can get to where they are going, the better for everybody. Really, though, above everything else, we have to protect the interests of this institution."

Interestingly, the report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette states that even if Pitt and Syracuse are able to join the ACC for the 2012 season, the ACC will still only have an eight-game league schedule. That runs contrary to the ACC's press release announcing the future scheduling format, though my guess is that this late in the game the conference doesn't want teams cancelling one of their pre-existing non-conference obligations.

In the off chance Pitt and Syracuse do play in the ACC in 2012, this turns the ACC football schedule on its head if the conference is only going to play an eight game schedule. Assuming that the league would keep the protected cross-over games, that means one of these two cross-divisional games would disappear from the 2012 sched to accommodate the additions of Pitt and Syracuse.

Here are this coming season's rotating Atlantic vs. Coastal matchups.

Boston College -- Miami, at Georgia Tech
Clemson -- Virginia Tech, at Duke
Florida State -- Duke, at Virginia Tech
Maryland -- Georgia Tech, at North Carolina
N.C. State -- Virginia, at Miami
Wake Forest -- North Carolina, at Virginia

Duke -- Clemson, at Florida State
Georgia Tech -- Boston College, at Maryland
Miami -- N.C. State, at Boston College
North Carolina -- Maryland, at Wake Forest
Virginia -- Wake Forest, at N.C. State
Virginia Tech -- Florida State, at Clemson

In order to keep the home-road split within the division at 3-3, for those teams with one less intra-divisional home game than road game would likely be awarded a home game with either Syracuse or Pitt, depending on your division, and the non-protected Atlantic-Coastal home game would be removed.

That would mean that Syracuse would have Atlantic Division home games against Florida State, N.C. State and Maryland and road games against BC, Clemson and Wake Forest. Similarly, Pitt would have intra-divisional home games against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Duke and road games at North Carolina, Miami and Virginia.

After adding the previously scheduled cross-over games (and adding Syracuse at Pittsburgh to the sched), the ACC would then have to re-shuffle the cross-divisional matchups for the one remaining slot on the schedule.

Since BC, Clemson, Wake Forest, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia all have four home ACC games now, and the rest have three, this factors into the final pairings for the final cross-divisional game. Those six programs would have to go on the road for their final ACC game, while the remaining programs would be given home games

Here's what I come up with.

Previously scheduled matchups:

Clemson at Duke
N.C. State vs. Virginia
Boston College at Georgia Tech

Modified cross-divisional matchups:

Florida State vs. Pitt
Wake Forest at Virginia Tech
Maryland vs. North Carolina
Syracuse vs. Miami

For BC, the difference between schedules is replacing a home game against Miami with a home game against Syracuse. For other Atlantic Division programs, the difference could be even greater, e.g. Clemson replacing a home game with Virginia Tech with a home game with Syracuse.

At this point, given the scheduling difficulties this would cause both the ACC and the Big East, I think it's a long-shot that both Pitt and Syracuse will be competing in the conference in 2012. But in the unlikely chance the Panthers and Orange are in the ACC next season, this could have a dramatic impact on the 2012 football schedule and the divisional races.

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