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2013 East Carolina
Schedule and Odds
East Carolina is one of the favorites to win Conference-USA in their final year in the conference before joining the AAC. They return numerous starters on both sides of the ball and bring in a new defensive coordinator (Rick Smith) to help their weakest area. Even with some of their toughest competition from last season gone, the Pirates don't have the easiest of schedules.
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There's no reason to believe ECU won't be just as good, if not better than they were last year. They return all notable players on the offensive end and should be even better this season. Quarterback Shane Carden did exceptional in his first season completing 66 percent of his passes. His top target returns in Justin Hardy who amassed 88 receptions, 1,105 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012. It's likely both of them can repeat those numbers against some new teams. Running back Vintavious Cooper also returns after notching 1,049 yards in his first season with the Pirates. Behind an offensive line that returns four starters, East Carolina will once again have a solid, balanced attack.
The Pirates brought in Smith with the hopes he can get the secondary back on track and create more turnovers. They were torched early and often last year through the air, but return three starting seniors to the unit, so there is at least experience. Running a 3-4 scheme, Smith will likely use a number of packages to mix up things and get this squad rolling. They'll be led by top linebackers Derrell Johnson and Jeremy Grove who are some of the best in the conference.
2013 East Carolina College Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Old Dominion
Sept. 5 vs. Florida Atlantic
Sept. 14 vs. Virginia Tech
Sept. 28 at North Carolina
Oct. 5 at Middle Tennessee
Oct. 12 at Tulane
Oct. 19 vs. Southern Miss
Nov. 2 at Florida International
Nov. 9 vs. Tulsa
Nov. 16 vs. UAB
Nov. 23 at NC State
Nov. 29 at Marshall
Opening the season with three straight home games will be nice for the Pirates, but getting back-to-backs against Virginia Tech and North Carolina may not be too kind. That's followed by C-USA openers on the road against Middle Tennessee and Tulane. The game against the Blue Raiders may be one of ECU's toughest in the conference this year as MTU is arguably the best newcomer.
East Carolina has a nice schedule mid-season with a home game against last year's conference winners in Tulsa highlighting the opponents. This game could be a preview for the eventual C-USA title game. To end the season, road games at NC State and Marshall will be big games. Marshall has the ability to win the East division so that will be an important finale.
With a number of returnees and some talent to go with it, East Carolina hopes to leave the conference with a championship. Their tough non-conference schedule could once again hamper their chances at double-digit wins, but they'll be close.
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