While it's no secret that I think Mario Cristobal would be the best hire for Pitt, I don't think it would be the end of the world if they hire Luke Fickell. However, hiring Paul Chryst would be a mistake, in my opinion, and I don't see why Pitt wouldn't at least talk to Teryl Austin.
I already wrote about a lot of the reasons why I think Cristobal is the best choice, but the main reason I like him more than Fickell is simply because he's further along. To me, Cristobal is a "four star recruit", where as Fickell is a "three star recruit'. But I think their upsides are pretty equal. The difference is just that Cristobal is closer to being a finished product than Fickell. Cristobal is still a mediocre game coach but he's getting better. He should be the finished product in a year or two. Fickell, on the other hand, was very overmatched this season at Ohio State. It's not surprising that Fickell would not be as good as Cristobal as a game coach because he's been a head coach for one season and Cristobal has been a head coach for five seasons. So basically I see Fickell being a finished product in three or four years. That's when he could be a special head coach. So it's not that I don't think Finkell can't be great, and I don't think Cristobal is a definite home run. I think their potential is the same. It will just take Fickell longer to get to where Pitt needs him and I'm not sure Pitt can wait. But, if Fickell is the choice, I don't think Pitt fans should be upset.
As for Chryst, he's a great offensive coordinator. But Foge Fazio was a great defensive coordinator, too. Some people just weren't made for being the man. I may be wrong that he could be the man, but there's a reason why he was turned down by Illinois, Minnesota, and Kansas, not to mention Pitt last year. While those are all major college programs, that's not exactly the elite. Yet despite his unbelievably resume, nobody saw him as their head coach. That's very telling.
As for Austin, if he went somewhere other than Pitt, nobody would want him to be the Pitt head coach, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't at least get an interview. He could definitely be a good head coach. I wouldn't want him above Cristobal or Fickell, and I don't think he would give the good buzz the program needs, but he's at least worth a serious look. At the end of the day, his resume would not be good enough (just one year as a coordinator and none as a head coach), but it says a lot about Steve Pederson that he won't even look at him, except for last year when he was basically forced to look at him.