Counterpoint: Pitt might fade into background in the ACC

By Greg Trietley

Ask Boston College if the Atlantic Coast Conference met its expectations. In its final year in… Ask Boston College if the Atlantic Coast Conference met its expectations. In its final year in the Big East, Eagles football won a share of the conference and Eagles basketball started 20-0. Today, Boston College athletics are irrelevant — even if the school hosts Duke every other year.

With all the so-called exposure the ACC provides the Eagles, does anybody pay attention to them?

No one knows how Pitt will fare in its new conference, and that’s the problem. The school knew what it had in the Big East: mediocre football and one-of-a-kind basketball. It had the spotlight at Madison Square Garden.

The ACC might provide better. With the ever-changing college football landscape, though, certainties aren’t obtainable. Bird. Hand. Bushes. All that stuff.

There was the illusion that Pitt’s move to the ACC was necessary now, but total conference realignment won’t conclude for ages — if it ever does. Pitt would have been no less viable an option for an expanding conference 18 months from now. Why the rush? This isn’t a kicker run in a fantasy football draft. The ACC will have space tomorrow. The Big East will still exist.

In the ostensible hysteria of the moment, the Panthers move forward with too much unresolved. Will the West Virginia rivalry continue? Maybe. There are only so many non-conference dates available, and games are scheduled years in advance.

What will happen to Pitt gymnastics? The ACC doesn’t have that sport. Where will the $5 million relocation fee come from? That’s $175 per student. What will happen to Jamie Dixon’s physical “Big East basketball” style of play in the ACC? And when, exactly, is moving day?

In basketball, say goodbye to visits from Georgetown, Louisville and Villanova with any regularity. For the sake of future home schedules, pray that Connecticut follows Pitt to the ACC. Boston College didn’t host an opponent ranked in the coaches’ poll last year.

Pitt basketball goes from conference power to third wheel, forever behind Duke and North Carolina in stature and history. Panther fans may consider the Blue Devils an instant rival, but that feeling won’t be mutual in the top-heavy conference.

The Panthers risk the same fate as the Eagles. The latter opted for growth — of its wallet, mainly — at the cost of the best rivalries, best entertainment and best fit. Pitt might have just done the same.