Amazingly, Pitt is being bandied about as a target for Big 12 expansion.
Let's slip straight to the baseball point of view on this one.
- Pitt has been a bit above mediocre in baseball over the past dozen years. Their average RPI ranking (boydsworld.com) since 2000 is 126th.
- The Panthers currently compete in the Big East. Their farthest trip west in their 2011 schedule was to Kent State in Ohio.
- The travel distances for Pitt to be in the Big 12 would be huge. It's 1,445 miles from Pittsburgh, PA, to Lubbock, TX. That's nearly double the distance from Lubbock to Columbia, MO. Without adding in several schools to bridge that gap, it seems ridiculous to consider Pitt as a viable addition to the conference. And that would mean plucking Big 12-caliber schools from the heart of Big 10 and SEC territory.
♦ About this Big 12 stuff and more (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
I don't doubt that Pitt is at the top of the Big 12's wish list - just like I don't doubt that Notre Dame is at the top of the Big East's wish list, but that doesn't mean either is ever going to happen.
. . .
Pitt can certainly be had if a conference makes the right offer, I just don't think that conference is the Big 12 for the reasons I outlined before. But if the ACC or SEC or Big Ten comes calling, that's when the people in Providence need to get really nervous. And I'll say this - one of the worst things this conference continually does is react to things as opposed to be proactive to avoid things. There is no way the conference powers should ever allow Pitt or West Virginia to have wandering eyes and that means they need to put together a real plan to strengthen the football conference now, as opposed to waiting to see what happens.