Within the first 90 minutes of announcing its 2013 slate of opponents, the Pitt ticket office sold 1,000 season tickets.
That is very good news for a program coming off a 6-7 season, and a disappointing bowl performance. Pitt obviously has to respond by playing in those games, but the groundwork has been set for increased attendance and an attractive schedule that has many benefits to it, which includes an attractive slate of games that should draw recruits in for games.
"We're very excited about this," Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. "We've been excited about having an ACC schedule, to play the teams on a consistent basis. To actually see the schedule and see the teams, to get Florida State as a crossover is great for our fans."
Not just that, but with a 2014 schedule that already features opponents such as Iowa and Notre Dame, Pitt is set to have a marquee schedule for the foreseeable future. Both schools will be on the 2015 slate as well, before Penn State returns to the schedule in 2016. These type of opponents draw fans, but also recruits who want to see these type of opponents for unofficial or official visits.
"That's what happens when you play in a great league," Pederson said. "We're going to have good scheduling going forward."
Pitt will return that trip to Florida State, and others, at some point. It has not been determined when that trip would be, or if such a thing as a three-year cycle (playing Florida State no later than 2016) would factor in.
Another person excited about the schedule is head coach Paul Chryst. Based on the momentum of joining the ACC, the 23 recruits verbally committed to the 2013 class, and now the opponents scheduled, there's a lot of momentum. Especially, considering the turmoil the program has had to endure over the last few years.
"Paul's a competitive guy," Pederson added. "He's never worried about who you play and so forth. When we were talking about opponents this year, when we were able to get the game with New Mexico, he's concerned about the thought of playing two I-AA teams. He's been terrific about that. When I told him what we were doing, he said the players are excited.
"It's tremendous momentum. People in the city are excited about the coach, there's a lot of good young players, people that have been redshirted, the fact we're moving into ACC, moving in with a great home schedules--it adds to the excitement surrounding this. I feel very good with where we're heading. I think people will enjoy being a part of it."