Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
What now for Pitt?

By Andrea Adelson

Given the big news that West Virginia is indeed out of the Big East for 2012, many have wondered where that leaves Pitt.

Athletic director Steve Pederson released a statement this afternoon:
“Yesterday, the Big East communicated to us it had reached a settlement with West Virginia and would work to find us a replacement team for that home game. We will keep our fans informed as that develops.

“Given the conference transitions both schools are currently undergoing, it is difficult to speculate on the future of our series with WVU. Our more immediate focus is on finalizing our upcoming football schedule.”

The most interesting part about this statement -- no mention about if Pitt will try to join the ACC before 2014. West Virginia bolting certainly makes the case for Pitt and Syracuse to leave before the 27-month waiting period for their new conference home. Do each want to pony up a heavy exit fee the way West Virginia did? How much would they have to pay if they leave in 2013? Remember, the Big 12 needed West Virginia in place for 2012. There is no such rush for the ACC to add Pitt and Syracuse.

Scheduling is another story altogether. This already has been a nightmare for the remaining seven Big East schools. Everybody now has one hole; several schools like Pitt have two. Pitt only has two home conference games on the docket (Rutgers, Louisville) and is obviously losing the Backyard Brawl as an annual game.

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said earlier today the Brawl would be difficult to schedule, as both schools are only going to have three nonconference dates once they get into their new leagues. Pitt also has Penn State upcoming on the schedule as well. How far are they willing to go to preserve this rivalry? Is it even doable?