ECU Season Prognosis

A Crossbones' writer makes his case for an outstanding season for the Pirates.

Wake Forest - The good news for Wake is they have a new coach, new system and return 14 starters. Bad news for Wake, they are still Wake and a few years away. Depth on defense seems to be a question for the Deacons. Don't get me wrong, Wake will taste victory, but they will have more losses than wins. I am glad we get them early. ECU 37 Wake 10

Tulane - Some key components return but the Green Wave lost 12 starters last year. The high-octane offense that ranked 7th nationally a year ago has some skill players in Ramsey, Losman and Moore, but the O-line returns only 2 starters and the replacements are inexperienced. Against the run, the defense was ranked 104 out of 114 1A teams last year. The secondary appears to be the strongest part of the defense. It will be a tough road game especially since ECU has dominated the last 2 meetings, 37-17 and 52-7. Tulane will not be as tough as many in the conference are predicting. ECU 30 Tulane 13

Syracuse - This one scares me if it is close. I know ECU is traditionally strong in the 4th quarter, but the Cuse once again has a tough defense. The defense returns 6 starters that are solid. The offense returns one of the most experienced lines in the Big East. If ECU can strike quick like last year and keep the Carrier Dome crowd out of the game, ECU leaves the Big Orange again with a victory. ECU 24 Syracuse 17

William &Mary -Where did this game come from? Any way, this may very well be over midway through the 2nd quarter. I did some research on Bill & Mary. They are a good Division II team that is well coached, but they simply do not have the speed to keep up with the Pirates. Expect to hear John C. Moore announce some unknown names for ECU in the 3rd and 4th quarters. This will be a great opportunity to get our scout team in the game. Desmond Robinson sees a lot of action late in this one. The score will not be indicative of the severe beating that William & Mary will suffer. Two words that Chris Fowler has coined "WOOD SHED." I hope they have a field goal kicker. ECU 51 William & Mary 6

North Carolina - Well, Well, Well…What do we have here? UNC has to play little old ECU. If I was not mad enough at UNC, the ticket issue has pushed me over the edge. First Quarter: Peppers gets a broke leg and Curry breaks collar bone. It is simple as that. Take away those 2 and they do not stand a chance. Logan has team fired up just as he did for NCSU in 1999. A lot has changed since 1981, but you would not know it if you ask a UNC fan. Finally, justice will be served on the field. New chancellor Dr Muse will handle the rest. Does this score sound familiar? ECU 23 UNC 6

Army - Last year it was close in the early stages. Army returns 13 starters, but still are a few years away from being competitive. The offense returns 8 starters and could make some noise in the conference this year. As always Army will fight to the end, but ECU leaves New York for the second time in 2001 with a victory. Todd Berry learns another lesson from his mentor. ECU 38 Army 13

Memphis - I am still having bad dreams about last year. We had every opportunity to win that game. No surprises this year. Memphis returns 14 starters but the hostile environment of Dowdy-Ficklen will be more than enough to get the Pirates rolling to their 7th win of 2001. The new no-huddle offense that Memphis has installed is no match for the Pirates' depth and experience. The Memphis defense is still solid but great special teams play from ECU is the difference in this one. Kevin Miller will kick 4 in this one. ECU 19 Memphis 6

Texas Christian -Payback from 1999 and Welcome to CUSA. Returning only 9 starters and losing your head-coach will take its toll. TCU has recruited well, but experience is the key here. The Horned Frogs have to replace 3 NFL draft choices along with several other roll players. This game is on Tuesday night and ECU has the advantage based on the wacky schedules of years past. ECU is one of the few schools that have played on Thursday nights on a yearly basis and although both teams have 10 days to prepare for this game, Logan and Company know how to prepare for these mid-week games. ECU 31 TCU 21

Cincinnati - the Bearcats are coming off a winning season in which they did not face ECU. I watched a few of their games and was impressed with their ability to run the ball. The one, two punch of Ray Jackson and DeMarco McCleskey is one of the best backfields in the CUSA. Cincy returns 11 starters from a 7-5 2000 team. The O-line returns 4 but Rick Minter has to replace a 3-year starter at quarterback, 2 receivers and a tight end. The defense has to replace all 3 linebackers and 2 members of the secondary. Garrrard has a monster day across the middle. ECU 35 Cincinnati 17

Louisville - This game is prime time and will probably decide the CUSA title. ECU has the edge since it is in Greenville. Louisville returns 14 starters. The skill positions on offense are loaded. The Defense returns only 6 but John L. Smith has recruited well. The ECU secondary will be tested. ECU should once again shut down the Louisville rushing attack, thus forcing Ragone to go the air. The depth that ECU has on defense wins this game. ECU 24 Louisville 20

Southern Miss - A down year for USM, but as always, this will be a mental battle. "A test of a player's soul." This has become one of the best CUSA rivalries. USM lost 7 starters on defense and it appears that they will simply reload as always. The offense returns 8 starters but the line is still young and green. Seven starters lost on defense will be too much to overcome the deep and experienced Pirate team playing at home. ECU 27 USM 20


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