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College Football

Evaluating Pitt’s Chances in a Reimagined College Football Landscape



ROC Pregame Before Pitt-Penn State. -- MIKE SMETANA

The idea that the college football landscape when it comes to conference alignment will ever drastically change is a fairly silly one.

All but one of the Power Five leagues have had their schools sign a grant of media rights, which means that even if those schools eventually were to leave those conference, the conferences would retain the revenues for their media rights unless the schools negotiate an extensive settlement.

So, this is probably not happening. But it’s still fun to think about. Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated put forth a reimagined FBS with 10, 12-team leagues.

Forde put Pitt in his Yankee Conference, along with Army, Boston College, Buffalo, UConn, Maryland, UMass, Navy, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse and Temple.

It’s an interesting group of teams that the Panthers have faced off against a whole lot in their history.

Of Pitt’s 10 all-time most played opponents that still play Division I ball (sorry Carnegie Mellon and Washington & Jefferson), seven would be represented in Forde’s Yankee Conference, with only West Virginia, Notre Dame and Miami missing .

West Virginia 104
Penn State 100
Notre Dame 71
Syracuse 65
Navy 40
Miami 39
Temple 36
Boston College 30
Rutgers 30
Army 27

Pitt has been in a conference previously with eight of the potential 11 opponents, with the outliers Army, UMass and Navy, so in general, the schools compete at a level that Pitt is willing to accept. 

Without trips to Florida, Georgia or the Carolina’s, Pitt would have significantly reduced travel, with the three trips to New England the only drives longer than seven hours.

From an attendance standpoint, the addition of Penn State would be a boon to the Panthers. Pitt’s two games against Penn State at Heinz Field averaged 69,192 fans through the gates while ACC opponents drew just an average of 44,034. Securing the Lions as a home opponent at least every other year would go a long way at the box office.

Plus, it’s pretty apparent that getting Penn State as a conference opponent is the only way game 101 of that historic rivalry is getting played any time soon.

It’s not perfect (perfect for Pitt fans would probably have to include annual games against Notre Dame and West Virginia, which is too unlikely to happen even for this dream scenario), but Pitt probably wouldn’t complain too loudly about this potential change.

Forde’s proposal included a 12-team playoff with 10 automatic berths for the conference champions, and if such a league were to play in 2020, Pitt would probably be picked to finish no worse than second, with the game against Penn State likely for a playoff berth in addition to bragging rights.

It’s hard to imagine that ever being the case in the current set up, and that’s sort of the point. Forde’s proposal would make the playoff more accessible to almost every team not named Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Ohio State.

The money would never work. The power shift would never be accepted. This proposal is not happening. But it is fun to thing about.

What do you think? Great? Terrible? Somewhere in between? Let us know in the comments.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Kelby Haskins
Kelby Haskins
2 years ago

I think for the most part it’s good. I really think that if they just expand the playoffs to 8 that would solve a lot of issues. I think have the conference champion of the Power 5 regardless of who it is, the highest ranked group of 5 team and then two other “wild cards” which would be the two highest ranked teams not in that bunch. That would give most everyone a shot to potentially make the playoff. It would allow programs to actually build something as well similar to college bball.

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
2 years ago

I like the concept of the playoffs, but hate the league we would be in none of those schools outside of psu and Syracuse would not be attractive at all

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