Pitt’s early exit could benefit Big 12


July 1, Texas Christian and West Virginia officially joined the Big 12, and for good reason. The Frogs wanted to be in a BCS conference and compete with legitimate teams. In the Mountaineer’s case, their last conference had a BCS bowl bid, but the Big East is crumbling fast.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh have, obviously, seen that they are only holding themselves back as programs by sticking around in a league going nowhere. So in an effort to get out a year early, the Cuse and Pitt have reached deals with the Big East to depart from the conference and join the Atlantic Coast Conference July 1, 2013.

Syracuse got their deal done earlier this week, and Pitt joined them Wednesday after announcing their intention to start competing in the ACC for the 2013-14 school year. Pitt will have to pay an extra $7.5 million, however, in the long run it will be all worth it. But does this do anything for the Big 12 conference?

Well, the conference has expressed it is satisfied with the current ten-team model, and are not chomping at the bit to find two more teams to get back to 12 schools. A few programs have been floated around as possibilities. Florida State and Clemson have been mentioned, but it doesn’t look like that’ll happen anytime soon. Also, rumors speculated Notre Dame or BYU could join, but they wouldn’t participate in football.

However, with Pitt and Syracuse leaving the Big East, there’s one team that could jump on an opportunity if its presented. Now is the perfect time for the Big 12 to pursue Louisville.

The Cardinals aren’t going to give you 10-win seasons on a regular basis in football. However, Louisville provides a new market that doesn’t currently exist within the current Big 12. Also, Louisville basketball makes up for the loss of Missouri’s solid basketball program. Of course, college basketball is not as big of a money-maker as football, but still, Louisville is making deep runs in the NCAA tournament often, and who wouldn’t want to claim them as one of the teams in their conference?

Big East basketball was arguably the best in the nation, but you lose Pitt and Syracuse? There is no question the Atlantic Coast Conference has the best basketball. Now Louisville could stay in the Big East and maybe get challenged by Georgetown and Villanova every now and then, but the competition level seriously drops with the loss of Pitt and the Cuse.

The Big 12 really needs to consider jumping on Louisville. It wouldn’t be the best addition, but geographically it makes better sense than Florida State or BYU. Adding the Cardinals balances out that huge gap between the old Big 12 with West Virginia, while still bringing in a new market. Louisville is not the sexiest pick, but at this point, get back to 12 teams just about any way you can.