The good news,
East Carolina's football team is going to a bowl game for the first
time since 2001. The bad news, the Pirates are headed back to the one
state they can't seem to win in. ECU is winless in nine games inside
the borders of the 22nd state of the Union, and they have come in all
shapes and sizes.
The Pirates have been thoroughly beaten by Auburn three times (35-10 in
1985, 45-0 in 1986, and 38-21 in 1994), dropped a 23-22 decision to
Alabama in 1998 after the Crimson Tide's defense returned an attempted
point after by the Pirates for two points of their own, fell three
times to UAB including this years heart breaker when Phillip Henry
fumbled at the Blazers goal line, and two bowl games in Mobile
including the 64-61 double overtime loss to Marshall the last time ECU
made a bowl game.
Why does ECU stumble in the birth place of Helen Keller? Why do they
get hammered in the Yellowhammer state? Why do they get marched on in
Birmingham? Maybe Pirates are cursed in the state. Jean Lafitte, the
popular Pirate of the early 19th century, was known to peruse the Gulf
Coast and spent some time in Mobile. But the self described Privateer
is believed to have gone down with his ship in a hurricane in the Gulf
of Mexico in 1826 and Pirates haven't done much plundering in the state
since. And outside of the that small strip of coast, the rest of the
state is landlocked (not good for Pirates).
Or maybe it's just one of crazy laws of nature that will never
change; ECU always beats Army (8-0 all time), icy bridges always
freeze before icy roads, and rock always beat scissors.
To add to the pessimism, ECU will face a South Florida team they
have not beaten in three previous tries. That includes a double
overtime heart breaker in 2003 when an extra point hit the upright and
bounced out for a 38-37 loss.
Or maybe it's all leading up to the Pirates breaking all of these
jinxes December 23rd and finally finding a cure to their Alabama blues.