East Carolina College Football Preview

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East Carolina

College Football

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Schedule and Odds

East Carolina lost a lot of firepower from last year’s team that put up 70 points on North Carolina among other things, but the Pirates will still have a deep roster. Despite having a new quarterback, they are expected to reach a bowl Game again with their over/under set at 7 wins (at 5 Dimes), even with a tough non-Conference Schedule.

Replacing Shane Carden and Josh Hardy, along with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley won’t be easy, but ECU will at least have some experience at wide receiver. They also hired from within for the new OC and Ruffin McNeil also likes what they have in new quarterback Kurt Benkert. The offense may not be as good as a year ago, but it will still probably be the strong suit for the Pirates.

Isaiah Jones (81 receptions, 830 yards) is expected to turn into the next 1,000-yard receiver, with Davon Grayson and Jimmy Williams expected to step up as well. RB Breon Allen is gone, but senior Chris Hairston should be able to fill the backfield just fine. The offensive line will be the most experienced group for the offense with Four starters returning and that should be a huge boost for all of the new faces in the offense.

But if the offense takes a step back, what’s going to happen on the defensive end, where the Pirates have never really excelled? They have improved in McNeil’s tenure, no doubt, but they still were merely average in a bad offensive Conference last year.

Linebacker will be an area they don’t need help at with seniors Zeek Bigger and Montese Overton returning, two of their top-three tacklers from 2014. The secondary loses some big names, but have quality guys still in the ranks with Josh Hawkins and Domonique Lennon. The question may be on the line where only Johnathon White returns for the front three. This team doesn’t win with defense, but if they can jump a level from last year, that’d be enough for them to reach six or seven wins with a new quarterback.

As for ECU’s Schedule, non-Conference Games at Florida, BYU and hosting Virginia Tech are not friendly at all and could end up being three losses. While the Pirates won at VT last year, the Hokies are expected to be better and are out for revenge. The good news is that their Conference Schedule is still lacking a bit with Navy being their toughest test out of the West. Reaching a bowl Game could come down to the end of the season when East Carolina faces UCF and Cincinnati in back-to-back Games. They lost to both of those teams last year.

The offense will inevitably take a step back and with a tougher non-Conference slate, this doesn’t look like a team that will surpass the seven-win mark. However, this team has made eight bowls in nine years and another bowl Game should be in sights with a deep roster.

2015 East Carolina Football Schedule

Sept. 5 vs. Towson
Sept. 12 at Florida
Sept. 19 at Navy
Sept. 26 vs. Virginia Tech
Oct. 3 at SMU
Oct. 10 at BYU
Oct. 17 vs. Tulsa
Oct. 22 vs. Temple
Oct. 30 at Connecticut
Nov. 7 vs. South Florida
Nov. 19 at UCF
Nov. 28 vs. Cincinnati

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