Each Tiny Drip Of Expansion News Brings Pitt Closer To Oblivion

↵

↵To answer a question Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel posed on Twitter after announcing that Jim Delany (pictured) had once again reiterated the Big Ten's 12 to 18 month timeline was not a random guess: no, we cannot go back to talking about football. Expansion consumes us all. ↵

↵

↵The Big Ten meetings are just the latest opportunity to prove this, as a flood of articles with illuminating quotes like "Anytime you add value to a league, you're going to be better off"—spoken by Rich Rodriguez—are being furiously scribbled down and repeated to anyone with an Internet connection and a passing knowledge of English. These are the things that pass for discussion now that everyone has hashed and re-hashed the potential additions, gotten over the seeming implausibility of Rutgers, grasped how the many-tentacled Big Ten Network has realigned the perception of the universe, man, and shot down increasingly frantic reports that half the eastern seaboard and most of the Big 12 North will have new homes by 6PM. ↵

↵

↵If there is an actual development of late it's the ACC's shiny new rights contract, which places the conference firmly in the grip of the Worldwide Leader in exchange for more than doubling the amount of money ESPN will shell out: ↵

↵
↵⇥

↵⇥The back-and-forth bidding, which reached its final stages last week at the league’s spring meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., drove up ESPN’s rights fee from initial projections of about $120 million a year to $155 million, sources said, providing the ACC with more than double the revenue it was receiving from its previous football and basketball contracts. ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥ESPN’s increase was in response to an unexpectedly strong pursuit by Fox Sports and sources familiar with the negotiations say the bidding was neck-and-neck last week. ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵If you ever thought runaway television contracts were going to catch their breath, there's your answer: no. The ACC's previous deal was worth a measly $67 million per year and was not signed in the midst of a prolonged stretch of mediocrity that has claimed even the league's one-time superpowers in Florida. The ACC is now getting almost thirteen million dollars per year for its 12 member schools. ↵

↵

↵Pittsburgh blog Pitt Blather sees the contract as a "shocking slap of reality" and foresees a dim future for the Big East in general and Pitt in specific: ↵

↵
↵⇥

↵⇥For the Big East, this is all very bad news. ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥First, it sure seems like ESPN is also viewing this as protecting against the future loss of a BCS conference in the ESPN for their programming. Locking up the ACC along with the Big 10 and SEC gives them significant programming. That’s 38 teams just assuming the Big 10 only goes to 14  and the other two conferences don’t expand. ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Assuming they keep even the present levels of commitment with the Big 12 and Pac-10, and the Big East looks very much like a luxury. ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥They might have some room for the football side with only 8 or 9 teams — assuming the Big East does its usual minimal effort to placate the football side. Basketball is going to get squeezed, though. ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵The end result is even more motivation for any team stuck in the Big East lifeboat to grab onto the passing Big Ten if given the opportunity. ↵

↵

↵That's another pebble added to the pile of rocks hovering over one of the Big East's most storied programs. The Panthers are widely regarded to be on the outside looking in despite making more sense academically, geographically, historically, and athletically than any team not named Notre Dame, the Panthers' recent renaissance in both basketball and football may be a BCS farewell tour. If so, that would be thanks to the Big Ten Network already being on in Pittsburgh, a grinding irony that will not cheer up anyone grimly hanging on to the university of Tony Dorsett and Dan Marino as they prepare to meet new conference rivals East Carolina and Central Florida. ↵

↵

↵Even though it makes no sense from any other perspective, the Big Ten Network is the ruthless driver of expansion logic. That's working to the detriment of Pitt and, frankly, everyone else. As always, this is Notre Dame's fault. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.