The arguments for why Pitt would be a good fit for the Big Ten have been made over and over again, but to rehash them quickly:
- Pitt is a great fit academically, which is very important to the Big Ten
- Pitt would provide an in-state foe for Penn State, reviving a big rivalry of the past
- Pitt has a rich tradition in football and is steadily building a good basketball program
- Big Ten would take control of the whole state of Pennsylvania, plus Pittsburgh is a big city
What will be most interesting to see, is how the conference decides to split the teams into divisions. This has also been written about a lot, but with a team added in the east, an East/West split seems most logical. This could make the league imbalanced however, if OSU, PSU, Pitt, and Michigan were all in the East. A North/South split would be tricky too. I'd recommend a split like this:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Penn State
Personally, I would like to see a the Big Ten drop a team (Northwestern). But since expansion is inevitable (and maybe coming sooner than we thought), Pitt sounds like a good choice to me from a fans perspective. I really enjoyed the Pitt game in 2008, though the 1 point loss really stung, and I'm looking forward to Pitt's return trip to Iowa City. I think too that the Panthers would compete for a Big Ten title every few years and would be a good representative in bowl games (though I guess they don't travel too well). I think the rivalry with Penn State will be great too. Maybe not to the level of Ohio State/Michigan, but definitely up there...at least I know I'd watch that game.Well I'm talking about this like it's already happened! It's just an internet rumor for now, but it's going to be a hot topic until the conference or Pitt officially denies it. I will be waiting...
UPDATE: This turned out to be just a rumor (not too surprising). Both the university and the Big Ten have denied it. We'll just have to wait until the next rumor.