East Carolina Pirates: AAC Media Picks 7th


The East Carolina Pirates are the beginning of their first season in an American Athletic Conference with a championship game. The Navy Midshipmen joined the conference for football, ending their long history of conference independence. The conference has divided into East and West divisions. They pretty much done on geographical lines, except for Navy (Annapolis, MD) being in the West.

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The new divisional arrangement meant that the Media Poll had a new job this year. Not only did they have to pick a preseason football favorite but they now had to pick order of finish in the new divisions. Their decisions may not be very pleasing for East Carolina fans.

The Pirates were picked to finish fourth in the East Division and seventh overall in the conference. They were ranked behind the three teams that beat them last year from the new East Division. Those would be Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Temple. The two other teams in the East, UConn and South Florida are in the second year of new coaching tenures.

The AAC media is saying that the Pirates are due for a step backward. This is partly because of the talent that left after last season, but also because the Pirates could not beat UCF, Cincy, and Temple when they had the talent.

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Are the AAC media right? Will the Pirates be nothing more than a spoiler in the AAC Championship race? There are a few things that would contradict that conclusion. First the Pirates still have a backbone of talent on defense where their linebackers have been recognized by the Preseason Watch Lists. Bigger and Overton are not going anywhere.

The Pirates also have good experience on the offensive line, which will aid the transition to a new quarterback. It is a lot easier to play the position when you have time to think and then to throw. Yet maybe this is where the Pirates would rather be, beating teams as an underdog rather than having the weight of expectations.

Next: Isaiah Jones and the Biletnikoff