From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

Brian Bailey

Heading South for the “Pre-Holidays”

Audio: Brian Bailey Show
The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. This week's guest was ECU coach Ruffin McNeill: Replay show...

Heading South for the Pre-Holidays


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Richmond, Roberts-Campbell shine


Pirates pluck Virginia gem


Recruiting thumbnail: Kyron Speller...


Thanks, Derek, rest in peace


'Big loss for the Pirate family'


Pirates hungry for a bowl win


By Brian Bailey
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If you are getting a Christmas present from me this year, you better hope I have it bought by Thursday.

If not, you’re either out of luck or getting a Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl tee-shirt.

The East Carolina football team will leave on Thursday this week and begin its bowl week of activities on Friday. It will be a relatively short trip for a bowl game, with the activities basically surround the weekend before the Monday kickoff from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Several fans have told me that the hustle and bustle of Christmas makes it nearly impossible to make the trip. I certainly understand that because it seems like Christmas has snuck up on us. I enjoy the season, but not as much when the Pirates are involved in an early bowl game.

The Pirates will continue practicing this week.

East Carolina will host the media on Wednesday for a pre-bowl luncheon. The team will then leave for the bowl game on Thursday.

“It’s been good so far,” said Pirate coach Ruffin McNeill. “We have gotten our young kids a lot of reps and we have gotten a jump on spring football.”

The Pirates may have a couple of things going for them on the psychological front in this matchup against Ohio.

This is a team desperate to shake off the regular season finale loss at Marshall. The Thundering Herd crushed East Carolina on that “black Friday.”

The Pirates also have a chance at a tenth win, something the program has only done once before. In the 1991 season the Pirates finished 11-1 and beat North Carolina State in the Peach Bowl.

The program also hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2007 Hawaii Bowl. You certainly can’t blame these most recent bowl losses on many of the players on this team. However, Coach McNeill realizes the pressure is on.

Many times the teams that do the best in bowl games are the teams that are the hungriest. That should bode well for the guys in purple.

Make that the guys in black, because the Pirates have enjoyed wearing their new black uniforms this season.

While the game in St. Pete is indoors, several Pirates say they are still looking forward to some better weather in Florida. Temperatures each day are expected to be around 80 degrees with very little chance of rain.

“It’s been pretty miserable around there with the weather,” said quarterback Shane Carden. “I think we are all looking forward to the trip.”

I also look forward to it.

The Pirates need to close out their Conference USA era with a win in the bowl game. That would be a great way to kick-start their entry in the American Athletic Conference.

We’ll see you at the bowl game, but this Santa has lots to do before he packs his sled for St. Pete.


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12/17/2013 06:34 AM