Grading realignment winners, losers


5. Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh

The move: Big East to ACC
Improved visibility: B
Competitive standing: C
Future outlook: C
Overall grade: C

In joining the ACC's Coastal Division, Pitt joined a mob of mediocrity. So far, the Panthers have done little to distinguish themselves, either.

Pitt enjoyed more TV exposure in the ACC as the 36th-most-watched team this year thanks to games against Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame.

But the ACC hasn't really delivered much of a recruiting uptick, as the Panthers have only two four-star prospects committed.

The opportunity is there for Pitt to make the next step. Only the Panthers haven't shown signs they will be able to take advantage.


6. Nebraska

Nebraska

The move: Big 12 to Big Ten
Improved visibility: C+
Competitive standing: B-
Future outlook: C
Overall grade: C

This isn't exactly what the Huskers had in mind.

The Nebraska brand has gone stale under coach Bo Pelini in the Big Ten. The Huskers have been solid, but they haven't been great and have almost been reduced to second-tier status behind the likes of Ohio State.

Next year, Nebraska will be in the division opposite Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, which will make for an easier road to the Big Ten championship game, but also less desirable home schedules.

Nebraska's big rivalry game these days is Iowa, which doesn't exactly move the needle, especially for a program that once played in one of college football's top rivalries (against Oklahoma).

Recruits seem to be sensing the unrest, too. Nebraska currently has a recruiting ranking outside the top 40. That would have been heresy for the Nebraska of the old Big Eight.


7. Syracuse

Syracuse

The move: Big East to ACC
Improved visibility: B-
Competitive standing: C
Future outlook: D+
Overall grade: C-

Syracuse has had to fight to become bowl-eligible, let alone relevant, in the top-heavy ACC Atlantic Division. With Florida State and Clemson there, is there any hope of the Orange ever winning a conference title?

Games against Florida State and Clemson garnered solid TV ratings. But the Orange were tattooed a combined 108-17 in those two meetings.

With old Big East foe Louisville joining the Atlantic, it's not going to get any easier for Syracuse, either.


8. West Virginia

West Virginia

The move: Big East to Big 12
Improved visibility: B-
Competitive standing: C-
Future outlook: C
Overall grade: C-

Following a 70-33 win over Clemson in the 2011 season Orange Bowl, West Virginia strutted into the Big 12 with loads of momentum on top of a loaded roster.

Since then, it's been all downhill.

After collapsing in 2012, the Mountaineers hit a new low this year, losing to Kansas in a rout, then blowing a 17-point lead to Iowa State before the third-smallest crowd in the history of Mountaineer Field to close out the season.

The tea leaves suggest coach Dana Holgorsen will have to make dramatic improvement in 2014 to keep his job. But will that be possible? The Mountaineers lose their best player in running back Charles Sims and face a rugged schedule next year that begins with Alabama in Atlanta.

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