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Pitt going to the Big 12 makes no sense


I’m not sure what scenario is more far-fetched:

Pitt joining the Big 12 and competing for a BCS bowl berth against Texas and Oklahoma.

Or, a walkon freshman quarterback, who almost went to a junior college, sitting No. 2 on the Panthers’ depth chart five days before the start of the season.

OK, the Big 12 story is little crazier than Trey Anderson, a kid with more heart than height, entering the game if something were to happen to starter Tino Sunseri.

Pitt officials aren’t commenting on the report in the New York Times that the name `Pitt’ came up when Big 12 presidents met to figure out how to either prevent Texas A&M from leaving or find a suitable replacment when it inevitably happens.

Geography seems to be the most obvious impediment to Pitt joining the Big 12. Even with Texas A&M gone, there will be three schools in Texas, two in Oklahoma,  two in Kansas, plus Iowa State and Missouri.

Texas Christian doesn’t mind joining the Big East, but TCU doesn’t have an elite basketball program that thrives in its conference and bases much of its recruiting on ties to the New York City area. You think those ties might dry up if Pitt no longer will bring a team to the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden?

Pitt officials had no comment on the Big 12 presidents’ meeting, which is understandable. No sense burning a bridge with a negative reaction. And how could Pitt show its face around the Big East after speaking positively about a move to the Big 12?

Better to say nothing, although I do want to know what athletic director Steve Pederson truly thinks of the proposal. I’m guessing not much. But if he wants to eliminate my guesswork and just tell me what he thinks, my email address is

The Big East needs to expand to survive, and it’s more likely it will steal teams from the Big 12 before Pitt decides to move westward.

While Pitt watches the conference merry-go-rounds spin, it needs to set a solid course soon. Lacking invitations from the ACC and Big Ten, Pitt should join forces with its current Big East brethern and continue rebuilding the conference.

If not, then a move to any conference might look better than the status quo.  

— I was chatting with a friend about the Pitt roster, and he made an interesting comment. He said, if Pitt is counting on a walkon freshman to be its backup quarterback — one snap from the most important starting job on the team — then the Panthers have a problem.

Even if Anderson is as good as any freshman quarterback in the nation, I have to agree with my friend. There probably aren’t many quarterbacks without a scholarship playing meaningful snaps for a Division I program.

The  evolution of the quarterback position under coach Todd Graham raises many questions.

Did Anthony Gonzalez move to H-back because Graham doesn’t think he has much of a future as a Pitt quarterback? (Gonzalez isn’t listed on the two-deep depth chart at H-back or quarterback, probably due to his two-game suspension. Thanks to a reader for pointing that out.)

Or, did Graham need to add depth at H-back and the athletic Gonzalez  looked like a good candidate? 

What future do Gonzalez and Mark Myers have at quarterback, with Sunseri looking like a fixture until 2013 and recruit Chad Voytik enrolling next year?

I know what I think: Either Gonzalez or Myers will try to transfer after the season. And the one who stays will battle Voytik and Anderson for the starting job two years from now. After all, Voytik told me when he made his verbal commitment to Pitt that the coaches told him they want him to become the face of the program.

— Speaking of quarterbacks, Pat Bostick is scheduled to appear with me on TribLive Radio sometime in the 2 o’clock hour Wednesday.

Bostick, who was one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks in the country coming out of Manheim Township High School in 2006, will be the color analyst this season on Panthers broadcasts on the Pitt IMG Sports Network.

I’m looking forward to picking Bostick’s  brain about the current Pitt team. But I also will ask him to share his memories of the days he led Pitt to its two most dramatic victories in the Dave Wannstedt era: 13-9 against West Virginia in 2007 and 36-33 against Notre Dame in quadruple overtime in 2008.

Bostick, 22, earned his bachelor’s degree, with honors, in only three years and is currently pursuing a master’s in Pitt’s School of Education.



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