Will Pitt Football Survive the Great Conference Migration?

With USC and UCLA moving to the Big 10, there are rumors they will join the SEC in trying to create two 20-team conferences.  Will Pitt be in?

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Another domino dropped on the collapse of college football yesterday.  At least college football as we've known it for the last 20 years.  It was announced that USC and UCLA plan on moving from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten.  This coming after Texas and Oklahoma announced last year they are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.  And reportedly, USC and UCLA are not the last of the moves.

Currently, there are five power conferences in college football known, creatively, as the Power 5.  Last season, these conferences were made up of 64 schools.  The Big 12, due to the departure of Texas and Oklahoma, have been frantically adding schools since the announcement.  BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston are all set to join the Big 12 by the 2024-25 season.  

However, by that time the Big Ten and the SEC will most likely be made up of 32 of the 64 schools that currently make up the Power 5 conferences.  They will also have 18 of the last 22 national champions.  They will become the only relevant conferences, especially if they get their teeth into even more prominent schools like Clemson, Florida State, and Miami, among others.  

This would essentially dissolve the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12, or at the very least render them irrelevant.  How could any of the teams in the three lesser conferences make the playoffs unless they stack their non-conference schedules with juggernauts from the SEC and Big Ten?  And in that case it would still require an undefeated season which would be few and far between for most of those schools left over.

So what does this mean for Pitt?  The current thought among those in the know is that the Big Ten and the SEC will make moves to create two giant conferences made up of 20 teams each.  With already having 32 of the schools secured, that will only take 8 more schools to commit to a change.  

With Clemson, Miami, and Florida State being those remaining three champions from above, combined with their historical reputation, those three would be shoe-ins.  That brings the total to 35 teams.  It also leaves just five more spots for the remaining 27 schools.  Also, if Notre Dame finally wants to align with a conference, they'd have their spot secured instantly, but I can't assume that for the sake of this blog. 

I do believe aside from Miami, Pitt is the most prominent school remaining in the ACC.  Virginia Tech is really the only one who could contend in terms of recent success and historical reputation.  This is under the assumption, of course, that Clemson, Miami, and Florida State have already been selected. Louisville might get in, but Pitt has a greater historical reputation and more recent success outside of the Lamar Jackson years.

That moves the discussion into the Big 12.  With Texas and Oklahoma leaving, it renders the Big 12 pretty weak.  However, if any teams were to get a spot with the big boys it'd be Oklahoma State.  They have seen a lot of success as of late, and I'd imagine Oklahoma would want them to follow to the SEC to keep the Bedlam Series alive.  Oklahoma may have just enough pull there to get OK State in.  Potentially Baylor gets a call as well, but I wouldn't count on it.  

So if Clemson, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Baylor, and Oklahoma State all get the call, that still leaves one potential spot for Pitt.  However, there is still one remaining conference.  And this is the conference that received the surprising news that started all of this yesterday.  The Pac-12.

In my opinion, with UCLA and USC committing to leave yesterday, the two most prominent schools left in the Pac-12 are Oregon and Stanford.  Stanford has a long history of prominence and has a very good reputation in college football.  Despite finishing just 3-9 last season, it always seems like Stanford could be one Andrew Luck or Jim Harbaugh away from returning to dominance again.  

Oregon's success has been more as of late than historical.  While they don't have the historical reputation that some of the Power 5 schools do, they've been prominent in the Pac-12 since Chip Kelly was hired in 2009.  If there are any coveted teams in the Pac-12 I believe it'd be Oregon and Stanford.  

So that does leave ten options for just eight spots.  Luckily, I do believe Pitt is more prominent than a handful of these options.  This is also assuming the schools currently in the Big Ten and the SEC have a lifetime membership.  I don't actually know how that works, but if the conferences do have the ability to kick schools out then Rutgers and Maryland need to keep their head down.  

That being said, I don't see these conferences replacing existing members with new ones.  But maybe I'm na├»ve to think these money hungry individuals that make these decisions have any sort of loyalty.

I leave you with this.  I have no idea what is the end result of all of this.  It's discouraging that a sport I love is changing so drastically for the sake of the almighty dollar.  However, I do think if there are two conferences created made up of the 40 most prominent schools in the nation, Pitt will be one of them.