Photo Credit: KDKA Photographer Bryan Orr

First and foremost, Pittsburgh is a football town. The general goodwill and happiness level of the city can be predicted by the outcome of the Steelers game on Sundays in the fall. A close second in the hierarchy of beloved professional Pittsburgh sports teams is the Penguins. Sid and Geno have carried on the tradition of greatness that began with Mario and Jagr. And they have effectively bridged the gap of NHL superstars that call Pittsburgh home over the last 20 years. Next, there’s the beloved and oldest professional sports team in Pittsburgh, the Pirates. After 20 years of losing baseball, the Buccos are once again a source of pride. Each of these teams has a nemesis, or a rival personified by an opposing team and city that just reflexively causes a Pittsburgh sports fan’s blood to boil. With that in mind, here are the best fall sporting events in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field
100 Art Rooney Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 697-7700
www.steelers.com

There are high expectations for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fall of 2014. After two consecutive 8-8 seasons, Steelers fans expect the “Black and Gold” to make a triumphant return to greatness this year. Pittsburgh’s 2014 season begins on September 7 against their longtime rival, the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland also has reason to hope this year. While the Steelers have overwhelmingly dominated the Browns for much of the past two decades with an overall record of 28 wins and only five losses, the Browns appear to be a team on the rise. With a strong 2014 draft that landed them Johnny “Football” Manziel along with strong leadership in new Coach Mike Pettine, the Browns appear poised to reverse their losing ways. In any case, week 1 of the NFL season will surely be highlighted by the Steelers and Browns at Heinz Field. Kick-off is at 1 p.m. Don’t be late.

Related: Best Sports Bars to Watch World Cup Soccer in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Penguins
Consol Energy Center
1001 5th Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 642-1800
www.penguins.nhl.com/club/schedule

Nothing brings out the bad blood between two cross-state rivals like NHL hockey. Pittsburgh finished first in the Metropolitan Division in 2013. They earned 109 points and finished a mere three wins short of the Eastern Conference champs and defending Stanley Cup-winning Boston Bruins. The Flyers, however, were a particular “thorn in the side” of the flightless birds’ last season. The Penguins finished with a five game match-up last year with an embarassing record of 1-4. With their first meeting of the 2014-15 season falling on Wednesday, October 22, tempers will flare and the winner will leave the arena satisfied at having bested a hated rival.

Pittsburgh Pirates
PNC Park
115 Federal St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 321-2827
www.pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com

After 20 years of losing baseball, the Pirates brought new hope to the city of Pittsburgh in 2013. After winning their one-game wild card match-up against the Cincinnati Reds, they forced the St. Louis Cardinals to a final game-5 NLDS series showdown. Ultimately, St. Louis emerged victorious but Pittsburgh proved that they were a legitimate contender. In 2014, led by MVP Andrew McCutcheon, the Pirates have managed to continue their winning ways. The Pirates regular season home schedule ends on September 21 against the Milwaukee Brewers. If nothing changes in the standings from the time this article was written until then, it will be a showdown between the top two teams in the Central Division. Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday, September 20 and chances are the Zambelli Fireworks display after the game will pale in comparison to the explosive action that takes place on the PNC Park Diamond.

Pittsburgh Panthers
Heinz Field
100 Art Rooney Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 697-7700
www.pittsburghpanthers.com/sports

Coming into their sophomore season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, all eyes will be on the Pitt Panthers football team this season to see if they can improve on last year’s lackluster 3-5 finish in conference play. It’s been 28 years since the Pitt Panthers won a National Championship, but with a new conference there is also new hope that the team will reemerge as a major BCS contender. One particular game stands out on the Panthers home schedule this year. It falls on Saturday, October 25 and pits the home team against Georgia Tech. Furthermore, it’s Homecoming week for the University of Pittsburgh so the students and returning alumni will be eager to celebrate a victory.

Related: Best Places for Families to Watch the Game in Pittsburgh

Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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