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WEST VIRGINIA VS EAST CAROLINA PREDICTION - ANALYSIS

ARE THE PIRATES FOR REAL?

9/6/08

2* East Carolina +8 over West Virginia - Truthfully folks, we intended on staying away from this one. We had zeroed in on East Carolina for week one well in advance when we released them as a Key Release 10 days before the game. But now, the cat is out of the bag. They won't be sneaking up on West Virginia. You can be sure they will have the Mountaineers full attention.

For East Carolina, once they get past this game, the schedule lightens up. Every single game the rest of the way is a winnable one. So even a loss here really isn't a backbreaker. It looks as if East Carolina has a great chance to have a special year regardless of whether or not they can handle West Virginia. But if they do get by WVA, look out.

But it won't be easy. Sure, they pulled off a great upset last week but as you know, that certainly didn't surprise us. Virginia Tech lost key personnel this year and figured to be in trouble. The Tech offense can't compare to West Virginia's.  Where you'd have to be concerned with East Caroline is on the defensive side of the ball. This is a team that is largely intact from a year ago. A look back to last year shows this team giving up some big time points to quite a few teams, many not too good. They gave up 31 to North Carolina, 28 to Southern Miss, 35 to Houston and 38 to UCF. They gave up 30+ points 7 times last year and who did they give the most up to??? Right, West Virginia who hammered them 48-7.

So, all the credit in the world to Skip Holtz and company for winning some close games last year in some shootouts with conference USA opponents. But are they ready to take out West Virginia? Has the defense that averaged giving up 30 points per game last year improved that much? Will there be a let down after last weeks upset? Remember, this West Virginia offense is also largely intact from a year ago.

Bookmaker.com - Where the Line Originates

The motivational edges should be there for EC. Last weeks game was at a neutral site. Now they get to come home to a crowd where there's actually some excitement and high expectations for a change. Winning breeds confidence. They get a crack at a team that has dominated them over the years going 17-2 straight up but it wasn't always easy. In Holtz' first year they went into Morgantown and almost pulled the upset losing 20-15 and holding WVA to just 127 yards on the ground. In 2006 it was a 27-10 loss (17-7 after 3 quarters). So they know they can compete. As we've seen over the last few years with teams like Rutgers, Wake Forest and Kentucky, when these types of programs, teams not used to winning consistently, get a crack at the big time, they have to take advantage. The opportunities before them may not come around again any time soon. To a man, East Carolina realizes this.

While the defense may be cause for some concern, the offense certainly gives us hope. They had no trouble finding the end zone last year averaging 31 points per game and the West Virginia defense has plenty of new faces this year.

Special seasons for programs like East Carolina don't come often. They've come close to WVA before but this is the year they have to break the door down if it's ever going to happen. They'll have a rabid crowd on hand for a game that will be the biggest some of these kids will ever play in. The game opened up at WVA-9 at Pinnacle and -8 at Bookmaker and sharp action came in on the Pirates at both books after a few initial early hits on WVA.

We love backing teams on a huge emotional roll. The emotion can oftentimes make a team better than it really is. If EC pulls the upset, it certainly would not be a shocker. Many actually expect it. We'll make a small play here on the Pirates + 8.


 

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