East Carolina University released that their ‘Meet the Pirates Day’ would be August 16. This is basically the ECU football version of Fanfest. It is a free event at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and will last for three hours from 5-8 PM. The players and coaches will be on the field to sign autographs or just hob-nob with the fans. Free schedules will be passed out and there will be concessions.
With that all said, we can truly begin the 2014 East Carolina Pirate football season. This will be their first season in the expanded American Athletic Conference, which is probably the premier football league outside of the group of five big conferences.
The schedule should be full of old rivals for the Pirates. They will be seeing SMU, Houston, Tulsa, and others from their old Conference USA days. In addition they will be in a conference with Cincinnati and UConn. Those two might be a little more exciting come basketball season, but they are there.
The Pirates have a senior-laden roster, and include several Award watch list members. Shane Carden and Justin Hardy were mentioned on a couple of lists, and a primed to use a high firepower offense this year. The move to the AAC also means there isn’t any reason why the Pirates could not storm the league. After all, they have tape on a number of their opponents.
Finally, August 16 gives fans the ability to really embrace their gold and purple unit. Just remember everybody will want a turn so only ONE autograph per person. Coach Ruffin McNeil needs those hands to design defenses.