Greg already touched on Pitt getting a short end of the stick when it comes to future games with Notre Dame last week, but I wanted to check in after the university announced non-conference games for the next few years.
My first thought? Enjoy the 2013 home schedule because the 2014 one is pretty light.
If you're of the mindset that you need a big time home schedule to get interested in Pitt football, we likely won't hear from you next season. That's because the slate at Heinz Field in 2014 will be a dud. The non-conference games will be against Iowa, Akron, and Delaware. The latter two aren't at all interesting and with all due respect to the Hawkeyes, they're not a team that will come in and generate a ton of excitement.
There's the ACC portion, but that's not much better. Pitt will get Virginia Tech, but they've also got the unfortunate pairings of Duke, Syracuse, and Georgia Tech. No offense to those teams, but yeah - those teams aren't going to be big draws. The Yellow Jackets have had some quality teams in recent years, but were only 7-7 last year. Few are going to care about playing against them unless the game is late in the year and are a top ten team or something.
Virginia Tech will likely be the crown jewel of that schedule, but unless they're a top ten team, the schedule will have a similar feel to this year's version.
The silver lining in all of this? It's a schedule where Pitt should be very competitive. I've long said that 2014 is the year where I think Pitt will take a step forward. Much of their talent is tied up into younger players and by then, that group will have matured. Head coach Paul Chryst will (presumably, anyway) have been here for two seasons and will be past the feeling out stage. And while Chad Voytik may not have played by then if he can't beat out Tom Savage this season, he will have had two full seasons in the program and has to feel at least a little comfortable. The home slate could yield five, or even six, wins. And road games against Virginia, North Carolina, and Miami (with a fourth to be determined) will be challenging but not impossible.
Things could always change and maybe a team like Iowa is better than expected when they roll into Pittsburgh. But if not, the athletic department could find selling tickets to be challenging.