East Carolina and UCF are headed into a new directions this year. After a 0-12 season in 2015, the UCF Knights hope to bounce back from an abysmal season. Redemption is also on the Pirates' minds following the 5-7 season under old head coach Ruffin McNeill. Last season, ECU beat UCF 44-7.
The Pirates will begin American Athletic Conference after a tough out-of-conference schedule. ECU has the potential to get off to a hot start this year. I predict heading into this game, ECU will be 3-1. UCF will be coming off a road game against FIU. Leading into the matchup, I predict that the Knights will be 2-2.
East Carolina comes into this season with a new head coach. The Pirates have worked hard all offseason and it is all thanks to the new energy brought in by Scottie Montgomery and his staff. Like ECU, the Knights also made a coaching change, hiring Scott Frost last December. after a dissapointing season
Coming into this season, the plan for ECU was to stay healthy and work hard. With offensive playmakers like wide receiver Isaiah Jones, quarterback Philip Nelson and running back Anthony Scott, the sky is the limit.
The Knights also have a few talented playmakers, led by running back C.J. Jones and wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith. Both will be looked at to help carry the offense this year.
On the defensive side of the ball, both teams appear to be solid upfront. If you take an in-depth look at both rosters you will see that ECU may have the edge. This year's Pirate defense will barely change. In fact, after a few position changes, the depth chart is almost identical. This experienced unit should really help the Pirates in this game and all season.
The Pirates will be look to make a statement against UCF. A win against the Knights could be the first step on the road to the AAC Championship Game on Dec. 3.