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Predicting the season

Various HTC writers make their picks for how ECU will fare on the field this season.

ECU opens the season Saturday against Old Dominion.

Dave Cucchiara

As I approach my swan song semester at ECU, this year marks the fifth season I’ve had the privilege of watching Pirate Football. I’ve seen the student section move from the 50-yard line to the end zone. I’ve seen the pregame introduction go from an old wooden pirate ship to a giant blow-up skull and I’ve witnessed all of this team’s miraculously defining moments of the last five years.

ECU enters the 2013 season this Saturday with one of the easiest and winnable schedules in recent memory. With eight starters returning on both defense and offense, improvement is inevitable. All that combined experience should propel the Pirates past some perennial foes that have given them trouble in the past. I’m predicting the most successful season of Pirate Football in over 20 years.

Old Dominion (W)
Florida Atlantic (W)
Virginia Tech (W)
North Carolina (L)
Middle Tennessee State (W)
Tulane (W)
Southern Miss (W)
Florida International (W)
Tulsa (W)
UAB (W)
North Carolina State (W)
Marshall (L)

Record Prediction: 10-2

Dan Hunt

I am placing a heavy emphasis on the near certainties that the coaching regime has shown over the last few years for my season prediction. Coach Ruffin McNeill and staff have been able to avoid completely puzzling losses for the most part, especially last year, but they have yet to show the ability to really get over the hump or compete with “the big boys”. However, this is by far McNeill’s most talented team to date, so I am erring on the glass-half-full side.

With that in mind: 10-3 after a conference championship victory over Tulsa. The Pirates will go 7-0 in games against ODU, FAU, Middle Tennessee State, Tulane, Southern Miss, FIU and UAB. They will win one of the two toss-up conference games against Tulsa and Marshall (probably Tulsa at home. Marshall will be fired up on Nov. 29). The Pirates will win one of three against the ACC, and I am leaning towards NC State.

Just for fun: ECU will upset Ole Miss in the Liberty Bowl, 38-24, bringing their final record to 11-3. I have envisioned a very successful 2013 campaign for quite some time now.

Record Prediction: 9-3 (C-USA champs, Liberty Bowl champs)

Phillip Henry

It’s time to kickoff the 2013-14 college football season again!!

Football fans all over the country are getting excited because football season is back! Which means its time for some hard-hitting, touchdowns and rivalry games. It’s also important to see which teams will emerge to become the champions of their conference. At ECU it's going to be an exciting football season as well.

Of course with every new season, come new expectations and new predictions. I personally HATE predicting the results of a season unless it’s about individual performances for wide receivers BUT, I'll make an attempt.

I predict the ECU Pirates to go 8-4 this Season. I also think they WILL play for the C-USA CHAMPIONSHIP.

Phillip Henry
Former ECU WR
Hawaii Bowl Champion
WIDE-OLOGIST

Follow me for my Top 5 WRs for College and NFL 2013-14 Season

Twitter: philliph32

Record Prediction: 8-4

Stephen Igoe

I’m not a big prediction guy due to the unknown side of sports and the intangibles that go into college football, but you guys seem to love them, so why not?

Like a few above me, I see seven games that should be wins for ECU on paper. Of course, we know games aren’t won on paper, but predictions are made on paper, so…sorry to all the football coaches out there. ECU has better talent than the majority of the teams left in C-USA, so let’s just assume the Pirates get those seven wins they “should.” Two conference games – Marshall and Tulsa – in my mind, could both go either way. If you win one of those games and take care of business in the rest, ECU is likely sitting in the C-USA championship game.

Non-conference wise, this is where things get tricky. Want to have the potential for an amazing season? Find a way to win two of the three ACC games. A good season can still be accomplished with a single BCS non-conference victory.

Overall, anything less than seven wins would be a disappointing season for ECU with the talent returning. Eight wins would be a solid season. Nine wins would be a good year. 10 wins would be a great season, and anything beyond that and then the word “special” begins to get tossed around.

With that said, I’m going 9-3. I’m predicting ECU wins the games it should win, defeats Tulsa at home, gets a non-conference victory at N.C. State, but falls to Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Marshall (I still expect ECU to make it to the C-USA championship with a loss to Marshall after looking at the Herd’s conference slate).

Record Prediction: 9-3

Chris Lehman

Predicting a football season can be made on a variety of facts and views and all of it is all in good fun, so in the spirit of fun and investigative journalism here is my prediction for the 2013 football season.

The schedule for the Pirates on the surface has the makings of an average one for the team. But when we take a closer look during this year of transition from Conference USA to The American Athletic Conference with some CUSA teams already gone and some new ones on the slate for this year, its easy to say a bowl appearance should happen this year.

I say eight wins would be a disappointment this year because of some of the teams that are on the block. Shane Carden looks to be on top of his game and has some really good repertoire going with his receivers. The loss of Justin Jones and Jabril Solomon will be noticed, but East Caroline is deep at wide receiver. The defensive line looks to be very strong and much faster then last year. The defense as a whole looks much more capable of stopping the run and putting pressure on the quarterback to force those much-needed mistakes. I see ECU winning nine games with losses coming to UNC, Tulsa, and Virginia Tech. I believe ECU will sweep the East Division and have a re-match with Tulsa in the Championship Game in Tulsa.

Record Prediction: 9-3

Pat Meine

ECU will finish the regular season 9-3, and East Division Champions. I originally had ECU at 10-2 until the recent hit the receiving corps took. Yes, I know Shane Carden has had a great summer, and the Pirates still have Justin Hardy, but last season Jabril Soloman posted 17 catches for 410 yards, and if you think losing a 6-8, 277-pound receiver who can out muscle just about every DB in the nation isn’t big, you’re lying to yourself.

So how will the nine win season pan out then? The Pirates will split their non-conference matchups with wins over ODU (but watch for this one to be closer than anticipated), and a big home victory over Virginia Tech, but will drop both in-state rivalries on the road.

As far as conference play, there are only two teams which I think can challenge ECU this year, one being Tulsa and the other is Marshall. I think Tulsa takes a close one at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, but the Pirates win at Marshall to end the season and punch a ticket for a rematch against the Golden Hurricane in the conference title game.

As for the post season, I think Tulsa will take the conference title, but ECU will come out with a Hawaii Bowl win over whoever is left in the Mountain West.

This will be a good year for the Pirates and a chance for Rick Smith to get his defense in line before a move to a more challenging conference and a 2014 season that will certainly boast higher expectations.

Record Prediction: 9-3 (C-USA East Division Champs, Hawai’i Bowl champs

What do you guys think of the predictions? Which writer’s forecast has the best chance of coming true? What are you guys’ prediction of how the season will go?

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