An ACC Team Comes to Greenville

by Brian North

Pirate fans get their wish this Saturday as an ACC team makes a rare appearance at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. ECU has played 52 games against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (sorry, those 12 games against Va Tech, 11 games against Miami, and seven games against Florida State before they were in the conference don't count). But only eight of those 52 games were played in Greenville, although this is the fourth straight year the Pirates have lured an ACC school down East.

UVA will make its first trip to Eastern North Carolina joining the precious few who took the chance to play in a great environment. Wake Forest has been the bravest ACC team with four trips to the Fick. Duke has unsuccessfully ventured to Greenville twice, and NC State and North Carolina have each made one trip east of I-95. The Pirates have won five of the eight home meetings with those teams and they hope to add a big BCS feather in their cap Saturday night.

This will be just the second career meeting between the Pirates and Cavaliers. ECU smoked the Whahoos 61-10 in Charlottesville back on November 8th, 1975. Pat Dye's squad racked up 699 yards of offense against former Pirate coach Sonny Randle's team two years after Randle left Greenville for Thomas Jefferson's school.

It would be nice to see Pirates fans get this excited when Conference USA opponents like Tulsa come to town, but it is understandable when a regional school with national cache comes to town and generates lots of interest. Plus it's a golden opportunity to face a BCS school and get a quality name brand victory.

This is also a recruiting border war, since both ECU and Virginia heavily solicit top players in southeast Virginia. It's not the biggest game ECU will ever play, but it certainly has some importance for all involved. A win would be a nice lift for those Pirate fans who loathe the big time programs who they feel look down their noses at the likes of ECU. These opportunities don't come around every day, so enjoy the atmosphere Saturday night.
Brian North