SB Nation's Big East blog, Big East Coast Bias (which you should be checking out pretty regularly, by the way), had a pretty interesting look at the Big East and tried to determine which job was the best in the conference.
So where did Pitt finish?
In a nutshell, the Panthers were a close second to West Virginia.
They looked at a variety of factors like tradition, fan support, money, etc. Not sure how in-depth they went into it when grading each school in each category, but I think it's pretty close. Sure, you could quibble with a few things regarding Pitt (fan support behind South Florida?) and facilities (behind West Virginia and Louisville), but all in all, an interesting perspective.
Looking at one of those aspects, the site had a pretty dim view of Pitt's fan support:
Pitt ranked in the top 3 in everything except for fan support. Playing off-campus at Heinz Field does not help the situation, nor does failing to meet on-field expectations. Here's a quote from Pitt's last bowl game (BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham) in 2010:" Pitt fans? Good luck finding many of them. (And who can blame them given the costs of traveling here, the dismissal of two coaches, and a disappointing season)."
That last part pretty much explains why the attendance was so bad in the Compass Bowl, though, I'll freely admit that Pitt doesn't travel well at all for bowl games. But if fan support is the measure, bowl game traveling can't be the only thing that counts (and I'm not necessarily saying it was). For a city with three professional sports teams, Pitt holds its own reasonably well. Wikipedia, which obviously is never wrong, for example, has the average attendance records for the conference in 2010. Pitt finished second only to WVU. Again, in a market with three pro sports teams, Pitt (while a far cry from great or even very good) draws respectably.
And personally, I think if you go by the sniff test, factoring in those categories...tradition, in-state recruiting, facilities, etc., it's Pitt. That's not a biased view, I think it's an accurate one.