ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Alabama Blues
by Brian North
12/6/06

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.

Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com