In case you hadn't heard, Pitt's football schedule is a big one. With home games against Florida State, Miami, and Notre Dame, the school is nearing a sellout.
One of our recent countdown questions was regarding the 2014 recruiting class. Chryst has eased some fears after a very slow start, but for the most part, the class is still a modest one in terms of actual quality. According to Rivals, the Panthers have taken on seven players rated as a two-star player (or no stars in the terms of new commit Rori Blair).
Pitt is still in the mix for a lot of heavy hitters, though, so judging the class too much at this point would be a mistake.
Besides the role that Chryst, the coaches, and the location will play, though, there's one more thing that Pitt can do to help - win.
That's always the case, but it's hard to remember a time when Pitt's home schedule was loaded with as many heavyweights. Those games will feature a packed Heinz field and a strong atmosphere. Losing closely to any of those teams might not cost Pitt any of those bigger recruits, but suffering a blowout would be ugly.
It's not just about the big games, either. Pitt cannot afford to go out and pull a Youngstown State against a team like Old Dominion. The Panthers have to be ready and win the games they should.
Pitt needs to be competitive on the field for our sanity and for Paul Chryst, but (and a lot of people won't like this) this really isn't about this year. The Panthers aren't going to win the ACC in 2013 but with a decent showing can sell more tickets, get more fans to future games, and boost recruiting. Pitt is building for the future and how they play this year is more important for that than getting to the
Compass Bowl Belk Bowl.
There are plenty of other factors taken into account by recruits like coeds, location, and playing time. But for many, the team's ability to win this year is on that list.