Life at the Bottom (10)

Many have pondered the question, "What in the world has happened to East Carolina football?"

The answers have varied, ranging from "our offensive line can't protect anyone" to "John Thompson can't coach his way out of a wet paper bag". Many a message board participant has tried to shine the light on the exact cause of ECU's current football predicament.

First off, I don't think Coach Thompson is that bad of a coach. I don't think he's qualified to be a head coach, but I don't think he's that bad in terms of X's and O's. I do think, however, that his sideline antics, like calling time outs when games are long ago decided, have hurt his reputation.

Sidebar: I won't be surprised if Thompson eventually gets canned at season's end, primarily due to the "Louisville Episode". Back in early 2002 when Thompson was hired, many folks, including I, were excited about his hire, and espeically his "supposed" Florida recruiting connections that were supposed to land top-notch players to Greenville, however after two seasons of recruiting, it's painfully evident that ECU is landing Division I-AA players, and not even the best of those.

If you look at the current Division I-AA Poll, each school listed in the top 12 can come to Greenville and beat ECU. That's how far the 'Ship has fallen, folks.

Such is life when you're a Division I-A football program on the east coast 1) not affiliated with a major conference, 2) not a service academy with nationwide appeal, or 3) not residing in Florida. To be continued...

PREDICTION TIME: Tulane @ East Carolina
Tulane ranks #77 in total defense, East Carolina #116.
Tulane ranks #89 in rushing defense, East Carolina #116.
Tulane ranks #52 in passing defense, East Carolina #91.
Tulane's leading rusher is Jovon Jackson -- 103.7 yards per game
ECU's leading rusher is Chris Johnson -- 49.3 yards per game

If you can't run the the ball, nor stop the run, you're not going to win games. Tulane has only allowed 72 yards per game when facing the cupcakes of its schedule, and whether folks want to hear this or not, ECU is a cupcake.

Based on that, and given the fact ECU is having offensive line difficulties, and that now DeMarcus Fox -- the Pirates' leading receiver -- is suspended, I think Tulane gets its first win in Greenville.

Tulane - 27, East Carolina 21


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