New ACC Division Alignment Puts Pitt In Coastal: What's This Mean For Competitive Balance?

Friday, the ACC announced the Pittsburgh Panthers will join the Coastal Division (the one including the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets), while the Syracuse Orange will head to the Atlantic (the one with the Clemson Tigers). As far as football goes, nine conference games per year is the new move. Current cross-division rivals will remain the same, meaning Tech will still play Clemson. Cuse and Pitt will play every year.

So, what of it?

For one thing, harder schedules. Well, maybe. With only three out-of-conference games to work with, and one taken by the Georgia Bulldogs, the Jackets only really have two extra games. At least one will be against an absolute cupcake, meaning Tech will have to choose whether to play 10 interesting games per year or play against two gimmes. This is all ignoring the fact that Tech plays Duke every year in football. Moving on.

Pitt doesn't have a stellar football tradition. The additions of the two schools actually decrease the ACC's football competitiveness by a tad, which is an amazing thing to say about Wake Forest's conference. However, over the past five years, Pitt has been the country's 27th-toughest football program according to F/+ rankings (which have been updated since this post here), ranking 10 spots ahead of Georgia Tech and second behind Virginia Tech in the Coastal:

  • 10. Virginia Tech
  • 16. Florida State
  • 18. Clemson
  • 27. Pittsburgh
  • 31. Miami
  • 36. Boston College
  • 37. Georgia Tech
  • 38. UNC
  • 57. Wake Forest
  • 58. N.C. State
  • 61. Maryland
  • 62. Virginia
  • 83. Duke
  • 85. Syracuse

Syracuse ranks dead last, squashing any lingering notion of this move being made due to football. (And Pitt has just upgraded its head coaching position by replacing Todd Graham with Paul Chryst.)

So, yeah, that's not good. Since ACC divisions came into play, the winner of the Techie Convention has owned the Coastal. But with a newcomer who has a chance to nibble into Penn State's local recruiting dominance, things aren't looking good.

This probably also affects basketball somehow, but we don't like to acknowledge that sport for obvious reasons.

For more on the newcomers, visit Pittsburgh blog Cardiac Hill and Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is an Absolute Magician.

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