The number one topic facing Pitt athletics right now is this - when do the Panthers get to begin competing in the ACC? I am now becoming more and more convinced in the conversations I've had in the past two days that Pitt will be in the ACC in 2012 and here is why - the school has had enough with the way the Big East has mangled this all and frankly is waiting on West Virginia.
If - or more accurately - when, West Virginia finally declares they are leaving for the 2012 season officially and the Big 12 schedule is announced with WVU on it, Pitt is going to follow them out the door and dare the Big East to stop them.
In the past eight years, five universities have bolted the Big East for the green of the ACC. The smart money says the University of Connecticut is next, even if nemisis Boston College quietly tried to squash such a notion.
New UConn President Susan Herbst is off to a solid start. She's doing the meet-and-greets. She's making key personnel changes. She's championing UConn as a burgeoning research, health care and bioscience magnet. And she insists that academics and recruiting compliance will be a major focus of her top-flight athletic programs. Herbst even gave a six-figure donation to her new school.
Here is where Herbst needs to be very careful. UConn's 15th president has to make sure her words match her actions (and the truth) when it comes to UConn's commitment to the Big East.
Connecticut still would rather be in the ACC than stay in the Big East if given the choice, a source said. But the Huskies' administration expect that the ACC is in no rush to expand beyond 14 after adding Pitt and Syracuse. The Huskies are prepared for this to drag on for quite some time.
Swofford has said he is comfortable at 14, but not philosophically against 16. The ACC would likely want to add Notre Dame and then Connecticut as a 16th school if it were to add two more schools. But Notre Dame continues to maintain its desire to be an independent in football and keep all its other sports in the Big East.
If you owned a McDonald's franchise, the last thing you want to see is McDonald's open up two other franchises in the area. It's great for McDonald's because they get more coverage in town. It sucks for you because that siphons off some local customers who now go to the closer McDonald's for their Egg McMuffin instead of schlepping it across town to yours.