Here is a quick hitter from a reader and commenter,”PittinClearwater” who submitted a piece to get some conversational juices flowing.

 What would have happened if Pitt had joined Penn State in the late 80’s to form the Eastern Eight? It is a good question to ponder in the down-time prior to the Pitt-Northwestern bowl game.

Here is a bit from a older article in the Allentown Morning Call paper that lays out some background to this question:

Thirty years are but a blink to the landmass we live on, but in the timeline of college football they encompass ages and epochs.

Consider this: In 1981, Penn State coach Joe Paterno very nearly brokered a deal with several East Coast universities to create an all-sports conference. It was his dream to live and play in a world of newly negotiable television contracts and traditional, regional rivalries.

But then the details got in the way, and the disagreements became spats. Today, the negotiators differ on the terms of their parted ways, though they agree on one theme: College football’s road to today began partly with Paterno, the Big East and the never-was, but still lamented, Eastern Conference.

The obituary of Paterno’s proposal was dredged this past weekend, when the Atlantic Coast Conference welcomed the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse as its 13th and 14th members. Fed up with the Big East’s increasing football irrelevancy, proactive Pitt and Syracuse found an equally proactive partner in the ACC, which seeks to remain afloat in the relevant waters of college football.

The head-spinning conference makeovers likely won’t end until four superpowers remain. Which begs the question: Would Paterno’s Eastern Conference have been one of them?

Here are the schools which were under consideration for the new Eastern Conference in the early 1980s:


Penn State

West Virginia


Boston College



Virginia Tech  (or would it have been University of Cincinnati or the University of Miami?)

PSU would have been the driving force and with seven required conference games per year it would have allowed PSU to schedule four other games (at that time the NCAA limited football schedules to 11 games in a regular season), so a larger conference would not have worked for them nor, I believe, have made all these ex-independents happy.

Some traditional rivalries would have been kept but the rest of the college football world would have moved on as we know it.  In 1991, the South West Conference started to fall apart and thus a new round of realignment began.

In looking at the final AP standings from the 1985 season to the 1995 season Penn State would have been the big dog among the group.  If Miami had been the 8th member, they most probably would have given Penn State the best competition PSU faced in those days. Remember that was when Miami was “Thug U’ and winning lots of games.

However, I believe the Eastern Eight schools listed above would still have had the same problem the Big East ended up with in having Miami being out there as an non-conference Independent school.  Miami would have  been targeted by the Atlantic Coast Conference to persuade them to join up with them….  and we saw that exact thing happen in 2005.

So fellow Pitt fans, what do you think would happen when the early years of the 21st Century rolled around?  The South Eastern Conference (SEC) would still expand and The Big 12 would become the Big 12 (now with only 10 schools actually).

And we well know what transpired with the Big Ten; they expanded eastward for the money that would be generated by TV and cable viewership in those big-city markets and thus sacrificed athletic and academic quality in their members to do so.

So then, here is what I think would have happened.

Let’s assume Virginia Tech and not Miami is in the new Eastern Eight. All the other moves would remain the same. The Big Ten offers Penn State, Syracuse and BC membership in 2011 to become the 14 member conference they are now.

The ACC accepts Miami and VT and Maryland would have remain a member.  For Pitt’s athletics we would end up with WVU, Louisville and Cincinnati in the new Big 12 and TCU then is the odd man out and is the big loser.

How do you guys see things panning out had that proposed conference become a reality…?

Note: Here is a NY Times article that helps explain how the Big East came to be back in the day…

Edit by Reed: Here is how one media outlet envisioned a future B12 (14) as recently as 2012:

Image result for conference expansion


230 thoughts on “POV: What Could Have Been

  1. ^^^psu hired the head coach from FCS Fordham and their fans were like….waaaaa??? — and now they’re like: Sweeeet haha

    Those ragging-on Gallagher and Barnes for not just throwing 1+ Mil / year at Canada are being incredibly short sighted and not seeing the big picture. Pat Narduzzi — if he wins another 8-9 regular season games next year AND beats psu — is going to be the Hottest Head Coaching Commodity (College AND NFL most especially) in the country. — Pitt WILL pay Pat Narduzzi 4+ million a season and make sure to help pay his assistants High-End pay with a great season next year.

    Matt Canada is the back-up who played one great season and knew he had to go get that pay-day. Pat Narduzzi is #1, #2, and #3 Priority Here.

    #Don’tLoseTheLead 🙂


  2. ~ Darkie, you have no idea if Pitt will come up with that type of money. The odds, the history of Pitt and the last 2 case histories of hiring Stallings and now this laydown, without even putting up a good fight to keep Canada, suggests otherwise.


  3. Dark Knight – List me 3 reasons Narduzzi is so important?

    Did he coach offense?

    Does he recruit good?

    Was his (Defense) Top in the country?

    Oh that’s right he uses twitter and talks a lot.

    The offense will suck a goats dick next year. Little Talent, No QB, Defense will still suck. Beat PSU? I’m concerned about beating UVA.


  4. Pittsburgh, PA.


    Charlie Weiss Reportedly in Pittsburgh interviewing for the OC Position.

    Pitt AD Barnes was quoted as “this is an possibly a great hire for the Panthers. We want our Front Porch to be athletics and the cost savings alone make Charlie a must get. I mean he can wear Chaney’s old gear. That saves us a money and what he did at Kansas was short of amazing. Pittsburgh is committed to being the best.”

    No shit I could see him saying this BS.


  5. While this is disappointing, it certainly should not surprise anyone. Pitt is what it is, what it has been, what it always will be. Pitt will never pay for the flavor of the month. Everyone knew Canada was gone after we beat Clemson. Look at the lists of schools that pay those big numbers. We have never been on that list and never will be on that list.

    Face it, if Narduzzi becomes flavor of the month, he will be gone too.


  6. Well I won’t put it exactly like UPitt just did but pointing out what Narduzzi may or may not do next year to become such a hot commodity seems to go hand in hand with keeping asst coaches around that help him be a “Hot Commodity”

    I wouldn’t worry so much about Narduzzi getting deluged with tons of offers then him just being fed up with talk/bullschitt and flapping gums. He will see rather soon he can’t fulfill his own expectations without the administration getting behind PITT football full throttle. and they can get the money so stop that. (not saying millions) just a stronger effort


  7. No guts, no glory. If PITT spends more money then they may want to, the bigger donors, boosters and alum may be willing to throw in a few extra nickels to show their appreciation.


  8. Hey some good news. I assumed since Canada is in LSU togs already and changed his twitter backdrop to LSU he wasn’t coaching in the Turdstripe Bowl.

    “But there’s a twist this year: Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said Canada, unlike Chaney, will coach the offense in the Pinstripe Bowl against Northwestern on Dec. 28. ”

    From the Trib.


  9. ^^^ Upitt????

    7-5 in Awful Big East — loss at uconn so 8-4 Huskies go play in the BCS game — we commence in the Birmingham, AL NIGHTMARE lol

    6-6 (6-7 hammered by garbage SMU)

    6-6 (6-7 hammered by…..garbage SMU)

    6-6 (7-6, YAY!!!! Pitt beats top SEC team…..err…. Bowling Green in $5 to go Pizza Bowl haha)

    6-6 (6-7 ….Soul Crushing loss to 7-5 Houston who was again, garbage that season)

    Last Year — exciting and competitive 8-4 This year — beat two top 5 teams for 8-4, with a REAL SOLID chance to go 9-4 and finish top-20 to grow this Porgram.

    Honestly I don’t think you will see reason so dunno what else to say!!! lol…….next season, when one of the 5+ NFL teams looking for their new Head Coach offer Pat Narduzzi 5+ million a year and he says Yes (NY Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, 49er’s, Chargers….(you gotta know how the NFL big money $$$ musical chairs for HC’s works) — then you can just say how Stupid those Idiot NFL Owners are lol because Pat Narduzzi is ‘not even a good coach’.


  10. Emel – Will he wear his LSU gear?

    Narduzzi must really want #9 win so he can head out as well after the shit show Barnes showed.

    No way in the world a HC lets a OC coach after a one year unless he has plans to jetty in another year or so. All these decisions lead to HC’s saying F it.


  11. Narduzzi a Defensive guru gave up 61 Points to Syracuse and a back up qb.

    Now the NFL will want this genius Defensive mind?

    His Defense is almost last in D1


  12. ^^^ LOL *that’s not a logical argument because Narduzzi has brought-in balanced classes but you just don’t know with RS Freshman and Sophomores will be stars yet —> Pat Narduzzi’s TRUE first recruiting class — 24 Players, many of which have shown flashes of potential. — This year’s class so far.

    Plus Narduzzi spear-headed bringing in Nate Peterman, and brought in Chris Clark — and may get Max Browne to transfer in at QB so that argument makes zero sense lol

    —- And If posters are going to (???) yell about, “Where Pitt’s Big Money Boosters are at???” and for the to step-up……lol…are they not matching the $500,000 check you cut to the “Keep Canada fund”??? That is such a weird thing to say — lol for the Big Money Boosters actually giving their Earned-Money to Pitt unless one is their accountant or Chancellor Gallagher / Scott Barnes no one has any idea what they’re giving to Pitt.


  13. Clark’s 3rd program. Has he played yet?

    Browne isn’t coming especially now.

    Clemson’s DC makes 1.35 a year. They are in the ACC. Pitt must step up.


  14. ^^^ “They are in the ACC. Pitt must step up.”

    I agree. 100%

    But only Alabama, and LSU (Football is their EVERYTHING and so many Non-Alums / School Attendees throw SO MUCH MONEY at these programs) are going to pay an offensive coordinator Well over 1 Million a year after one great season.

    As another poster said —- This is just LSU being the Yankees with zero Salary Cap and it’s kinda Bull$hit but the NCAA has zero system for capping how coaches are paid.


  15. Pat Narduzzi — after beating penn state AGAIN next season at Beaver and finishing the regular season 9-3 and ranked top 15 overall — is gonna get $$$$$ Paid by his Respected, Esteemed Colleague fellow-Pat Chancellor Gallagher putting him right-there with James Franklin.That’s how this Schindig is gonna go 🙂 🙂


  16. Darkie – Merry Christmas to you and all the POV’ers. Sounds dirty like we are on a porn site. haha.

    We want to send a honey baked ham there but the Orderly said you are only able to have plastic utensils. Please advise.


  17. ^^^ they don’t let me use utensils at all anymore after the last “accident” but it’s all good

    My buddy wanted his cigarettes ‘gotta help a brutha out’!

    —- Hey p.s. –> The Defense is gonna be Much, MUCYH Better next year 😉 — “Borderline Ferocious” — so that’s a huge plus.


  18. I’m hearing PITT had already begun renegotiating an extension for Canada before LSU’s offer and they stepped up and threw money at him the past few days. If this is true then I’m at peace with him leaving and at peace with PITT. Moving forward…


  19. I wonder how high PITT went went. $800,000, maybe? I don’t fault him for leaving, more money and exposure. If he’s successful he’s a head coach in a year or two.


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