Pitt's following comes from two groups: those with a tie to the school and those who live in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Penn State is huge state-wide. Alums and non-alums. PSU is Pennsylvania's team in every respect. Steelers? Eagles? Phillies? Penguins? Forget it. Even in Pittsburgh, there is a large following for PSU. Pitt and PSU were big rivals back before Pitt went to the B10. But since then, PSU got much bigger and Pitt's following didn't grow much--and joining the ACC won't change that much. In fact, if you ask Joe Six-pack on the street here, he doesn't even know that Pitt is going to the ACC. The fact that PSU and Pitt don't even play anymore really hurts the Panthers. BTW, if I was governor, I would make them play at the Pennsylvania State Fair (which doesn't exist, but which I'd create on Day 1 by executive order).
That being said, Pitt does have a proud tradition and is respected. They can be good for sure. I teach high school in the eastern side of the state, and we send a boat-load of kids out there to school. They love it. But the state as a whole is certainly with the Lions.
Very similar to the basketball situation in Kentucky, where the overwhelming majority of fans love the Wildcats. Then you have people who live near Louisville and some contrarians throughout the state that love the Cards.
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