By now you’ve all heard the news that Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.
This makes sense on a lot of levels for the ACC:
1. Both schools fit academically with the standards of the conference.
2. If you’re trying to strike a balance with schools that have excellent basketball (the ACC’s bread and butter) and solid football programs, you can’t do too much better than Pitt and Syracuse.
3. Adding the markets of Pennsylvania and New York helps to solidify a continuous ACC presence along the eastern seaboard.
All that is important for both Maryland and the ACC, but what has me most excited about the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse is the opportunity to start a real, hated-filled rivalry with another team from the city of Pittsburgh.
The rivalry seems almost natural, doesn’t it? Baltimore fans hate Pittsburgh because of the Steelers. D.C. fans (and Baltimore to some extent) hate the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s a city whose two most successful sports franchises have intense rivalries with the two most (recently) successful sports teams in Baltimore and D.C.
Add in the fact that Maryland and Pennsylvania border each other, and that each school recruits in the other’s territory, and I think there’s some real potential here.
The hold up, of course, is that Pitt already has a rivalry with West Virginia. But that may become less intense if the two schools are no longer in the same conference, and the fact that Maryland and Pittsburgh are so close academically (#55 for UMD, #58 for Pitt) compared to WVU (#164) has to count for something, right?
Like all rivalries, this will take some time to grow and develop. But I think the potential is definitely there. Is anybody else down for a rivalry with Pittsburgh?