PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 22: The new University of Pittsburgh head football coach, Paul Chryst, speaks during a press conference on December 22, 2011 at the University of Pittsburgh Panthers South Side training facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Conference realignment has been an interesting thing to watch. There's almost zero regard for rivalries, history, or tenure. All it is is one giant money grab, with greed fueling the desires of school presidents and board members. That being said, it's happening, so we had all better just get used to it and continue to root for our teams. Starting with the 2013 season, the ACC grows by two members thanks to realignment. Pittsburgh and Syracuse have both joined the ACC in all sports, with football and basketball of course being the headliners. To get a better sense of how Pitt feels about all this, a few of our guys sent the resident Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill, a few questions for them to answer. Hit the jump for the "interview"!
Before we get to the questions, let's get a bit of a better look at Pitt football and basketball, so we know what we are dealing with.
Football: 9 titles claimed by the school.
Notable Alum - Dan Marino, Larry Fitzgerald, Tony Dorsett, Hugh Green, and of course, Mark "Lou Holtz Spitoon" May.
Heisman Winner - Tony Dorsett
All Time Record - 677-490-42
Basketball: 2 recognized National Titles ('28,'30)
23 Tournament appearances
All Time Record - 1424-1024
There is undoubtedly much more history for both of these squads than I have listed here, this is just a glimpse of the important aspects of just how long both sports have been around and doing their thing. Now, on to the questions. The manager of Cardiac Hill, Anson, was kind enough to take time to answer the questions put forth by myself, Avendittelli, and HurricaneBrian8.
1) Doesn't it suck having your school play in the same stadium as an NFL team?
Really, it's more about the location for me than the fact they share it with a pro team. Pitt stadium, which was on campus, was for all intents and purposes, a dump. But the walk up Cardiac Hill (the name of our site, of course), getting back on campus, eating greasy food at The 'O', seeing tons of students there, etc., all contributed to going to a game there. To me, I don't mind playing in Heinz Field and playing there along with using the Steeler's facilities definitely plays a role in recruiting, so I understand why the University did it. But there's definitely a contingent (including myself) that wishes there was an on-campus stadium.
2) What's the best part about moving to the ACC? The worst?
Best? Probably the money. That will allow Pitt to do more things that fans don't really think about such as improve facilities even more, pay coaches more, make improvements to the university that aren't sports-related, and the like. The worst is probably losing Big East basketball contests like UConn and Georgetown. The good thing is, playing teams like North Carolina and Duke isn't exactly a step down.
I've also said (mostly while being shouted down a bit) that the ACC is going to be a step up in football. Pitt's had a hard time in the Big East and things won't get any easier, even though the ACC is a significant step down from the likes of the SEC, Big 12, or even the Big Ten.
3) Has Larry Fitzgerald passed 100 yards against Antrel Rolle yet?
I actually had to Google this because I had no idea what you were talking about. No offense, just had no idea. The closest thing I could find was Rolle shutting Fitz down to the tune of three catches from a game in 2004, so I'm guessing that's it. I don't know. The two teams played last year when Rolle was with the Giants and Fitzgerald had eight catches for 102 yards. Not sure if he was covered by Rolle, but regardless, I have a feeling Fitzgerald hasn't given a game from almost a decade ago much thought.
4) How hard is it to recognize the shift to the ACC and the fact you aren't Big East anymore? For example, has it been difficult to read Big East news and remind yourself it doesn't apply to you anymore?
Eh, I don't know. As long as we're still playing games in the Big East, Pitt's still a Big East team to me. Over at our site, we've been covering both ACC and Big East related things pretty much equally. What I will say is that it's a bit weird trying to follow the happenings in both conferences- especially with so much going on. But we definitely still cover the Big East because Pitt still has at least one more season in football or basketball there, and naturally, we're of course starting to think about opponents on those schedules this year.
5) How do you feel about the basketball aspect of the move? The Big East has been tough as of late, but there is no denying the history of the ACC (it's down a bit now, but well on its way back up)?
I'm personally excited if for nothing more than playing some new teams and to see North Carolina and Duke come into the Pete. I don't know that the quality of games is changing all that much, but it will be good to see some different teams. If Pitt had really strong rivals in the Big East (like a West Virginia or Penn State in football), it might be different. But Connecticut was the closest thing the program has probably had to a rival and that was a bit one-sided as far as postseason success.
The other thing is that it's really a different style of play and I'm curious to see how Pitt will adapt. In the Big East, most of the teams were hard-nosed and physical. I'm not saying that doesn't exist in the ACC, but I don't think any conference had the physical battles of the Big East. Pitt will need to adjust because, otherwise, they'll hear a few more whistles in the ACC.
6) What is the consensus Pitt fan feeling towards Jamie Dixon and the basketball program? It seems they roll through arguably the toughest conference every year only to never do any real damage in the tourney.
Most Pitt fans are fairly rational when it comes to basketball (football, not so much) and realize that Dixon has done more for the school than nearly anybody. Along with Ben Howland, he turned a laughingstock of a program in the 1990s into a team that's almost always ranked and even got up to #1 in the nation a few times. The postseason success hasn't been there and, trust me, that's really frustrating. But Dixon still hasn't been around all that long and if you look at the history of other big-time coaches, going deep into the tournament rarely happens right away. It took Jim Boeheim 11 years to get to a Final Four. Took 13 years for Jim Calhoun to reach one. And while someone like Dean Smith got to a few Final Fours early on, it took him 20 years to win a title.
I think Dixon will get to some Final Fours, but it's just a difficult thing to do.
7) Is Mark May as insufferable to Pitt fans as much as he is to the rest of the nation?
We're clearly not getting the memo in Pittsburgh because I think most of us love May out here. Don't always agree with him, but it's great to see someone talking up Pitt on a national level and that probably takes precedence over any annoying factor.
8) Primanti Bros., yea or nay? There are a few South Florida locations, but they also have those brightly colored screen printed t-shirts. Crossed over into tourist drivel food, or still and always delicious?
Definitely a 'nay' for me, but I'm picky. The idea of cole slaw and fries piled on a sandwich doesn't appeal to me. But I don't think it's solely a tourist trap because plenty of locals swear by it.
9) Any chance the football rivalry game with Penn State returns permanently?
With the way things in the ACC are, it's probably not likely. As of right now, there are only three non-conference games to play with and while I wouldn't mind playing it every year, I don't see it happening. Pitt is probably going to get a bit of heat to play the Backyard Brawl against West Virginia on occasion and they've really made Notre Dame a priority - As long as they can get a return game in Heinz Field, Pitt will probably schedule them for as long as they can. When you factor in that you need a cupcake game or two, there's just no room under the current format when you account for everything else.
Questions for the new guys? Comments? Leave them below!