Reports: Pitt, Syracuse Apply to Join ACC, Likely to Join

So happy I got to use this photo for something.

Let's all just take our mind off this disaster and move on to something a little more positive: per Heather Dinich and ESPN, both Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh have applied to join the ACC. To which I respond: booya.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has been approached by at least 10 schools about possible membership, a group that includes the Big East's Pitt and Syracuse, both of which have tendered letters of application, a high-ranking ACC official said Saturday morning.

In addition, amid a "fluid landscape" in conference alignment, the ACC presidents have unanimously approved to increase the buyout for schools to leave the conference from $12 million-$14 million to $20 million, the source said, making it a highly unlikely scenario that any ACC teams defect from the conference. [...]

Another ACC source confirmed the addition of teams is not only valid, but a very real possibility. ACC officials have declined to comment, and no sources were aware of a timetable.

And CBS Sports confirms:

Pittsburgh and Syracuse submitted letters of application to the Atlantic Coast Conference and are "likely gone" from the Big East, high ranking ACC and Big East officials told CBSSports.com.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse independently submitted letters of application to the ACC, a league source told CBSSports.com.

"There is no scenario where a president applies to a league and isn't admitted," a Big East official told CBSSports.com.

As I've said multiple times, if there were two universities I could add to the ACC's current stable of schools, it'd be Pitt and Cuse. They're relative fits geographically, strong in both of the revenue sports, have strong academics, and bring valuable markets - Pittsburgh and upstate NY - into play.

For more specifics: Pitt adds another school to the Clemson-Miami stratus of football programs that are good but not FSU/VT good. Syracuse is building, and is right now pretty close to Maryland's level. In basketball, both are elite. A conference with Duke, UNC, Pitt, and Syracuse is already one of the best in the country, and if you add an elite Maryland - which everyone hopes they will be in a few years - it has the potential to be the best.

What'll be interesting to see is whether or not the conference contents itself with 14 teams or tries to become the first 16 team super-conference. (Which, yes, would be wonderfully ironic after everyone thought Swofford would sit around and do nothing.) If they do decide to go 16, there are two options:

The Texas route. They've supposedly had legitimate discussions with UT about the Longhorns coming over to the ACC. If Texas shocked the world and joined the ACC, it's possible that Swofford would allow Texas to bring along a Lone Star friend, like Texas Tech.

The East Coast route. If not Texas, it seems likely that they'd look for other eastern programs, potentially other Big East teams. UConn is a logical option, though Boston College may or may not be receptive to the idea. Rutgers also makes geographical sense, but they're average in both basketball and football and I'm not sure how much they bring in terms of TV markets. West Virginia has been floated, but academic constraints may play in there. I'm sure they'll do some more looking, including at South Florida and some other more questionable additions, like ECU, Navy, and Temple. At that point, I'm not sure adding makes as much sense as staying put, but I'm sure they'll run the analysis on it.

Now, back to the game. More later.

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