Pirates Beware!

by Chris Stansbury

There are several reasons why the East Carolina football team and coaching staff as well as the Pirate Nation should be on full alert this weekend. Saturday’s game against Central Florida in the Citrus Bowl is screaming TRAP and here are three reasons why.
First, any time a team, and it doesn’t matter if you are talking high school, college or professional teams, any team that comes off an emotional, dramatic late win when they were the underdog is bound to have a setback. The coaches can do their best to prepare for the next week, but the fans spend all week talking about it. The media keeps talking about it. It’s just difficult to maintain that level of energy and excitement.
Second, Central Florida, sitting at 2-6, is basically the exact same team that finished 7-1 in Conference USA last season and played in the conference championship game. The Golden Knights return 42 starters from ‘05, including every single player that scored a passing and rushing touchdown. That means the weapons are still in place, but for some reason they just aren’t hitting. YET!
Number three, East Carolina is UCF’s homecoming opponent. Historically, the Golden Knights have played in front of their largest crowds on homecoming. And they have given those homecoming fans a lot to cheer about. UCF has won 10 of its last 11 homecoming games.
While these signs may point at trouble for East Carolina this week, there are some things playing into our favor.
One, we pretty much gave Central Florida a win last year in Greenville with six turnovers. That won’t happen again.
Two, UCF has lost three straight games and given up an average of 47 points during those games. If it goes into a shootout, advantage East Carolina.
But, it won’t get into a shootout because the Pirate D has turned into a well oiled machine that continues to shut down opposing offenses.
There is concern that this game could be a trap, but if you see the trap coming, you won’t fall in.

Chris Stansbury