Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pitt to the ACC: The Yinzer FAQ by @DixieNormess

So we all know that Pitt has moved to the ACC and for those of you that don't know you need to a) watch any sports program from the last two weeks b) read a newspaper c) read this blog or any of the great Pitt blogs d) all the above.

As you might have guessed I put together my thoughts from Pitt moving to the ACC and you can read those here. My buddy Adam, who all of you know best as @DixieNormess on twitter, is a pretty big Maryland fan that lives in the Pittsburgh area who lives and dies with the professional sports teams in the greater Pittsburgh area.

Adam did a real nice thing for me and put together his thoughts as an ACC/Maryland guy and did sort of a "Mad Yinzer FAQ". I must admit that he sent this to me a while ago but with my work schedule and going home for a friends wedding it has lead me to leaving a back load of e-mails in my inbox, but for no longer.

Here is what Adam put together, and it is great, so please take some time out and give it a read, you will not regret it.

Without further pause here is the mad yinzer questions to Pitt moving to the ACC:

“I don’t understand why Pitt is jumping ship/abandoning The Big East?”

Really, they’re just watching their own back. The landscape in D-I athletics right now is so tenuous and frightening that any chance to establish security is at a premium. Not to mention the idea that Pitt will be upgrading with this move…yea I said it.

“But, The Big East is the best conference in hoops! And the ACC are dicks for what they did before during the first expansion!!! Blargetty Blarggg!”

First off, this isn’t an ACC poaching scenario…they’ve been approached by nearly 10 schools by all reports, most likely as fall out of the Texas A&M move to the SEC and resulting instability in the BIG12. And no, Pitt was not being courted by The Big12…they’re too busy trying to figure out if they can stay solvent to pay the mortgage out there with Oklahoma & Ok. St. potentially bolting to the PAC20 or whatever…

What we really have is a “screw them or get screwed” situation, with the “them” likely being a few other schools in Pitt’s sphere (I’m thinking UConn/WVU/Cincy/etc.)
Second, there will be no more arguing the best conference in basketball if this move goes down. None. ACC will rule supreme with HALF of its teams having played for the National Championship…and ALL having national recognition…can DePaul say that?

“Ok, well…I’m still confused/bummed. I guess it’s because The Big East was AWESOME before…and basketball could keep it going just fine.”

That is head-in-the-sand logic and if you stick with that…you’ll die now or later…but eventually. Football is the only sport that matters on a school-by-school (non revenue-sharing) basis in D-I athletics. Please see this chart:
“What about the massive cash cow that is the Mens’ Basketball Tournament…surely all of my pools have generated lots of cash for those school somehow.”

Um, not really. First of all, your illegal time-wasting pool at work, while immensely entertaining does nothing for NCAA revenues aside from drive up the overall profits from advertising (mostly through sponsorships) and whatever television deal they may have at the time with CBS/DirectTV/etc TO THE TUNE OF $613 million (AWOOOGAH!)
But the sad part is…a Tournament team doesn’t see ANY of that money unless they make it to the round of 32…and even then it’s nominal. Even The Champions’ purse is only $2-3 million. Now, compare that to the middle of the road “Extenze Bowl” or whatever…and…hoops ain’t where it’s at.

In fact, many of the teams that make the tourney every year lose money overall. Granted, it’s difficult to monetize things like notoriety, school pride and name recognition…but those are the real up sell that tend to keep even the “Little Guys” that are one-and-done as Play-ins or 16-13 seeds from crying foul.

Here is also a link worth reading:

“Well, ok. I guess Basketball is more fun than anything…but why should Pitt or any other school want to join the ACC?”

Because they are rich. And they are going to be RICHER! Realizing that football is by far and away the most PROFITABLE component is the first step, the second is understanding that most of those monies come from individual conference television rights. The ACC made the move of initial expansion from nine to twelve based largely on the concept that A) they would gain a foot hold as an elite conference in BOTH basketball B) they would establish their own TV network to exploit this fact and C) they would expand to the sizable Boston market (no, not chicken). Flash forward five years after the ACC brought over Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami to the ACC and despite the fact that no one will come out and say it: the higher-ups could not deny the fact that they were NOT as competitive on the national scene as they had hoped in football and while basketball was stable…they hadn’t distanced themselves. But perhaps the most damning: The Big Ten11 Network was not proving to be a great model for aspiration…Sooooooo, they signed a 7-year, 2-sport deal for $250 million and change with ESPN. And then, only four years later, they renegotiated said deal to the tune of a 12-year one…to the tune of $150+ million ANNUALLY. Even if you would cede that basketball can make as much as $15 million annually (a top 25 program average) in revenue…that’s literally 1/5 of what TV contracts would pull in. And those are the current TV contracts…without Pitt & Syracuse, don’t even get me started on the possibility/rumors of Longhorns joining the party (and no, I don’t mean the steak hous)…

Ok. Whatever. But, I’m worried Pitt will be lumped in to a crappy division in The New ACC.”

The best games are always going to be between the historical and current rivals. Try as you might, you won’t find any example better than Duke vs. UNC. Those two are DESTINED to be in different pods/divisions as the most drama would be in an ACC Championship that had them meet. So, you’d get one of those two home and away and the other once each year. Working down from that, the groupings would likely be based on mixture of current success, historical rivalries and travel considerations. It’s all conjecture at this point, but you could see a Pitt-UMD (think Capitals/Pens) or the like, right?

“Fine. But, I’m not getting rid of my Big East pog collection. It’s awesome.”

Much thanks to Adam for getting this to me and much apologies for not getting it up sooner. If you aren't following him on twitter you should be and you should be ashamed of yourself for not following him before hand.

Maryland sucks. Hail to Pitt.

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