Two schools that we love to hate – Syracuse and Pittsburgh – have given us a reason to hate them even more.

Sunday morning it was confirmed that ‘Cuse and Pitt are transferring into the Atlantic Coast Conference and abandoning the Big East. There has been much talk of conference realignment over the past year; big names like TCU and Nebraska have already made their moves, while Texas A&M and others might shake up the NCAA even more.

Of course, football gets most of the attention nowadays. Not only is the season in full swing, but NCAA football programs have consistently been more profitable than basketball across the board. In fact, the comparison is laughable, and the attendance tells it all. Take the Verizon Center. At max capacity, the complex holds just over 20,000 fans. How often do 20,000 fans actually come to a game? It happened just once last year — for the ‘Cuse-Georgetown rivalry game.

Now compare that number to a football game. Most stadiums can easily hold over 60,000 screaming fans, and some can seat over 100,000, like Michigan’s “Big House” in Ann Arbor. When you factor in ticket prices, parking and concessions, football blows basketball out of the water.

Team values are even more revealing. According to Forbes, the top-five NCAA football programs have a combined worth of over $450 million. Basketball? $120 million.

By moving to the ACC, both Syracuse and Pittsburgh are looking to expand their share of the football market. The ACC is arguably a better football conference than the Big East. Over the past two years, it went 9-6 versus Big East opponents, and Florida State can make a run at the BCS title this year. It had 4 teams ranked in the top 25 at the end of last year, and 15 players from ACC teams were selected in the first two rounds of last year’s NFL draft.

When you succeed, people tend to pay more attention to you, and more attention means more attendance, more contracts, more donations and more money. Sounds like a winning formula, right?

The owners, the chairmen and the other guys at the top couldn’t agree more. They’re yelling, “Show me the money!” The money is in football, and the football is in the ACC.

But what about all of us Hoya basketball fans? Where do we stand? On the positive side, the Big East basketball schedule would get easier for Georgetown. As much as it pains me to say it, the Hoyas have been outperformed by the Orange and the Panthers in both regular and postseason play. Their departure would make it easier for us to rise back to the top of the conference. With all the questions and doubts surrounding the program recently, this opportunity might be just the boost that Georgetown needs.

On the other hand, watching two of our top competitors leave would be a real disappointment. When the season schedule first comes out, everyone circles Pitt and Syracuse on the calendar, and the “Gray Out” at the Verizon Center is like another holiday. If these rivalries disappear, a lot of the fire, the passion and the excitement will also evaporate. After all, who’s going to be our next big rival? Granted, we struggled against our top opponents last year (losing at home to both ‘Cuse and Pitt by a combined 22 points). But I doubt that anyone would rather watch the Hoyas play South Florida or DePaul.

As much as we hate the Orange, seeing them walk out the door is really awful. The Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry is one of the best in all of college sports, and it has been the source of so much drama during the past few decades. If the bully on the playground stops showing up, recess gets boring.

But as fans, there’s not much we can do except hope that he comes back. Those oranges are just waiting to be squeezed.

Nick Fedyk is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. Double Nicktwist appears every Tuesday.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *