Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson unveiled the Panthers 2013 ACC inaugural football schedule today at a gathering in the North Club box at Heinz Field. He and head coach Paul Chryst addressed the media as the scoreboard was lit up in the background with #PittACC in large blue letters.
"We wanted to announce the inaugural ACC schedule here at Heinz Field. It's the most dynamic schedule we've had here in years. It's one of the most dynamic schedules in all of college football. We think it will be electric," Pederson said. "Were opening against Florida State on Labor Day on national prime time tv and we're closing the season on national TV against Miami (Day after Thanksgiving)."
He explained the intricacies and timeline of finalizing the opening day game against the Seminoles on Labor Day evening.
"I got a call from the ACC asking me if we wanted to play on labor day weekend opening game. They said you'd be playing Florida State. I said I need to talk to my coach [Paul Chryst] about that one. [Chryst] was aggressively in favor of that," Pederson said. "There's a lot of people who worked very hard and made a lot of concessions to make this happen. When one person moves, that causes a shift. We're going to be playing Villanova down the road now."
Pederson addressed the success in ticket sales that have already been generated. He stated that 47% of the season ticket sales so far have been to new customers. He also expects a high renewal of the 47,000 season ticket holders from last season.
"Our goal is to sell out Heinz Field. We think Saturdays and Sundays can be spectacular at Heinz Field," Pederson said. "We could not have put together better scenario. It’s a challenging schedule because everybody is good."
Game day tickets will not be sold until the start of the season to guarantee season ticket holders are taken care of first. There is a chance there will be no game day tickets available at that time.
Chryst is excited about opening the season against Florida State. He had no second thoughts when asked if it was a good idea.
"[Opening with Florida State] is a great opportunity. There was no hesitation. We have to play them some time. We have to rise up to the challenge," Chryst said. "What a better way for us to open the season than play against the defending champions. We have a ton of respect for them. This is as good as it gets."
He also feels the entire schedule should be a motivator for the players, not just the opening game against Florida State.
"It wasn’t a one game release today. I would hope this schedule would get the attention of our players," Chryst said. "It’s a great schedule and a great opportunity.Were excited and proud to be going into the ACC."
2013 Pitt Football Inaugural ACC Schedule
Sept. 2 Florida State 8 p.m.
Sept. 14 New Mexico
Sept. 21 at Duke
Sept. 28 Virginia
Oct. 12 at Virginia Tech
Oct. 19 Old Dominion
Oct. 26 at Navy
Nov. 2 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 9 Notre Dame
Nov. 16 North Carolina
Nov. 23 at Syracuse
Nov. 29 Miami
Dec. 7 ACC Championship Game