It’s the topic that never goes away: Pitt’s attendance at Heinz Field.
Although there are many valid reasons as to why we see far too many empty yellow seats on most college football Saturdays, this weekend is different.
Pitt football fans need to show up for the Virginia Tech game or it’s going to be a black eye for this fan base.
If Heinz Field doesn’t have a crowd of 50,000+, shame on Pitt fans and all the jokes that opposing fans make about poor fan support of the football program will be justified.
No excuse will be valid.
Fans can’t complain about it being a Noon kickoff because it was announced that kickoff will be at 3:30 PM.
Want a meaningful game? Well you have one. Pitt is in first place in the ACC Coastal and control their own destiny to play in Charlotte on December 1st. A win Saturday would go a long way towards the team acheiving program history.
Pitt fans, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.
This 2018 Pitt team has shown character.
Despite getting off to a slow start due in large part to the most difficult non-conference schedule in the country, the players listened to Pat Narduzzi’s message and didn’t quit.
Three of their losses came to current Top 15 teams: at undefeated #4 Notre Dame, at undefeated #12 Central Florida and #14 Penn State.
Something that’s not brought up much is that this team has now defeated two ranked teams, #19 Syracuse and #25 Virginia.
How many teams in country have played five ranked teams so far? Pitt has and yet they still have their heads above the water and on course to play for a conference championship.
That’s reason enough to show up Saturday but here’s another one: it’s Senior Day.
While fans wished this group would’ve won more games during their career, they couldn’t have gotten a better group of character people.
Just go down the list: Elijah Zeise, Qadree Ollison, Darrin Hall, George Aston, Rafael Araujo-Lopes, Kellen McAlone, Alex Bookser, Connor Dintino, Mike Herndon, Dewayne Hendrix, James Folston, Shane Roy, Oluwaseun Idowu, Quintin Wirginis, Dennis Briggs and Phillipie Motley.
From Zeise being a selfless, complete team player, to Ollison and Hall never complaining about their roles and eventually developing into the rocks of the team, to Aston being one of the toughest players to wear a Pitt uniform, to Idowu going from being a walk-on to a captain, to Briggs being a two year captain and someone I’m told is intelligent enough to run a major business one day.
I could continure but you get the point. These are great examples of student athletes and players that fans should be proud to say are Pitt men.
This will be the last time these group of seniors step on Heinz Field and for them to play in a half empty stadium would be embarrassing.
Recruits will have an eye on the atmosphere and crowd size on Saturday. With it having such importance, it’s likely the Pitt staff will be inviting a large group of players to attend.
Having a small crowd for such an important game will not make a good impression on recruits. Fans want the Pitt coaches to get higher rated recruits, well showing them a good Gameday atmosphere and showing that Pitt fans truly support their team will help them do that.
While it would be nice, it’s probably not realistic to fill Heinz Field every Saturday. However, this Saturday it should be a given.
It might be Pitt’s most important home game since 2009 and the infamous Marty Gilyard game against Cincinnati. A win would’ve earned Pitt the Big East Championship.
Nine years later and Pitt is in a similar position. While they won’t clinch the ACC Coastal, a win would be step one in a two step process.
The team has battled and shown up this year and now it’s time for the fans to do the same.
If they don’t fill Heinz Field on Saturday, I’m not sure they ever will.