American Athletic Conference Preview: East Carolina Pirates
Part 6 of the American Athletic Conference Review brings us to East Carolina, last season they finished 3-9. They had a lot of shortcomings interceptions, sacks, and fumbles. If they can get that under control then you will see a much improved Pirate football team. If not you could be looking at another 3-9 team which in year 2 of Scottie Montgomery’s tenure.
Best Case Scenario- East Carolina opens up against James Madison and gets ready for the season with a win. But things get a little hectic in the ECU schedule, they have games at West Virginia and home against Virginia Tech and South Florida. Best case they lose to West Virginia and then come home and defend their home turf. Their record after their first 4 games is 3-1 already matching their win total from last season. October brings 4 games 2 at home and 2 on the road, their home games are against Temple and BYU and road games against UCF and Houston. This is a tough look for them and I think they drop 3 out of 4 and their record is 4-4 after 8. November brings a tad easier schedule for them still 2 home games and 2 road games. Road games are against UConn and Memphis Home Games are Tulane and Cincinnati. This time I believe they win all except the season finale against Memphis. This means they would finish 7-5 and would be going bowling.
Worst Case Scenario- East Carolina opens against James Madison but are only 56% chance to win that game so I am going to say they lose it and it all snowballs from there. Next up they lose the rest of their September games which include West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and South Florida. They now sit at 0-4 and have a tough October with UCF, Houston, BYU and Temple all up next. In the best case scenario I said they would win 1 of those games I still agree with that and the game is Temple they are 50.9 % chance to win that game. So now after 8 games, they are 1-7 no chance to go bowling and now are just going to be finishing out their season with Memphis, UConn, Tulane, and Cincinnati. In this Scenario, I see them winning two out of the four and finish the year the same as last year 3-9.
Players to Watch-Thomas Sirk-QB Transfer from Duke, Jordan Williams-LB, Jimmy Williams-WR, Quay Johnson-WR, Travon Simmons-S
What needs to happen and what I think ends up happening- ECU needs to force turnovers they cannot go -16 again and expect to win. Also establishing a running game would be a start to sending them in the right direction. Special Teams as well could use some help. I think if this team can get to 6 wins it should and will be considered a successful season. The first half of their schedule is grueling and they will need to spring some upsets to get to the magic number 6.