CBS Sports took some time to rank the best home field advantages in the Big East. You might be a bit surprised to see where Pitt ranked.
The Panthers' fans can create a raucous atmosphere similar to the Oakland Zoo environment at the Petersen Events Center in basketball.
It gets particularly loud for nationally-televised night games such as one in 2003 vs. No. 10 Miami (Fla.). The Hurricanes contained Larry Fitzgerald in the 28-14 win. The crowd had more to cheer about later that season when Fitzgerald led a 31-28 upset of then-No. 5 Virginia Tech. In a cold, gray, snowy atmosphere late in 2009, the Pitt fans helped the Panthers race out to a 31-10 lead against an undefeated Cincinnati team. The Bearcats still clinched a BCS spot after rallying for an improbable 45-44 win. It remains as one of the wildest games in Heinz Field history.
Any mention of that Cincinnati game should be struck from the record books. I was there and the walk back to my car remains maybe the longest one I've had since being a Pitt fan.
I'm hard pressed to remember many times when Heinz Field was as crazy as the Oakland Zoo. Not that it's never noisy, but more to the point, it's simply not loud at all for many games as crowds have been down.
If Heinz Field really is the second-best advantage in the Big East, I think that speaks more to the quality of other stadiums in the conference than it does for the big ketchup bottle. Simply put, it's just not an imposing atmosphere most of the time. There have been some good crowds for big games, but it's far from being a consistent tough place to play.