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College Football Expansion Carousel - Where Will Pitt End Up?

Big East? Big Ten? ACC?

The first domino in college football expansion fell this week when Colorado accepted an invitation to the Pac-10.  Shortly thereafter, Nebraska announced it was heading to the Big Ten while Boise State moved to the Mountain West Conference.

It's clear to most that these aren't likely the only moves to be made.  Key questions are still on the table for each of the BCS conferences: Will the Big Ten stop at 12 teams? Will the Pac-10 jump to 16? With things fairly quiet on the ACC and SEC front, what will they do?  And are the Big 12 and Big East finished?

Pitt fans are particularly interested in that last question. Here are the most-discussed scenarios thus far:

Pitt Joins The Big Ten- While not dead, this seems less and less likely. The conference appears most interested in extending its geographical footprint, particularly for its Big Ten Network. With Penn State, the conference already has a good hold on the western Pennsylvania market. By adding Nebraska, they've proven that going farther west isn't a major concern. Pitt fits in well academically, but there are still questions about how much they can bring to the conference.

Pitt Joins The ACC - This option hasn't been discussed all that much in the media, but with the Big Ten option possibly slipping away, it probably should be. Pitt fits the makeup geographically and would add a new market. Pitt's academics aren't a problem and its basketball team would add to one of the strongest conferences in the country. Further, Pitt's football program has been steadily improving and the school already has some mini-rivalries with former Big East foes Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College.

Pitt Remains In The Big East- This really will depend on how much of the conference is purged. If the Big East manages to only lose Rutgers, the conference should stay afloat without much trouble. However, if it loses three teams, trouble could be brewing. The conference would then need to reach out to some non-BCS conference schools to have even a chance at keeping its automatic BCS bid. And with a growing Mountain West, that would prove difficult. Pitt may be forced to become creative geographically with adding quality schools, such as Big 12 schools left out, in order to retain the automatic bid. Other options might include going after ACC schools such as former Big East member Boston College.

Whatever the case, it will be a while before everything is settled.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.