Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Fans Welcome New Era Joining Acc Gives Followers Better Games, Road Trips

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Fans Welcome New Era Joining Acc Gives Followers Better Games, Road Trips

Article excerpt

Russ Hall gathered Monday evening to tailgate with a group of friends under flags waving for the University of Pittsburgh and the Atlantic Coast Conference in a parking lot near Heinz Field.

Like many Pitt fans, he had been eagerly anticipating the kickoff of the Panthers' 2013 football season against Florida State University. But he was one of only a few to so intensely tick off the many reasons why Pitt's move from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference will be fantastic.

"We have moved to a stable conference that will lead to more revenue for the university and the football team," said Mr. Hall, a 1993 alum who travels from Erie, Pa., as a season-ticket holder. "It's growing the fan base, and it should.

"Thanks, ACC! We love you."

He continued: Better road trips.

"I can't wait to go to the University of Virginia," he said.

And finally, a traveling fan base: People from other conference schools will come to Pittsburgh for games and spend money here.

Mr. Hall's point was easily made based on the smattering of garnet-and-gold- wearing Seminoles fans gathered all along the North Shore on the way to Heinz Field. They mingled in groups and occasionally with Pitt fans, taking in the scene and excitement around the city.

The two teams hadn't met since 1983. Florida State won last year's ACC championship and went 12-2, winning the Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois.

Brian Newman traveled from Tallahassee, Fla., for the game and was glad to see Pitt join Florida State's conference.

"It's a good sports program and a good school," Mr. Newman said about Pitt.

He and his friends made the trip to see the Panthers' first ACC game, for the excitement of a nationally televised Monday night game and for the get-away trip. They took in a Pirates game Sunday afternoon.

Hugo Acebo, a Florida State fan from Miami, said he did not expect Pitt to be competitive in the conference this year. …

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