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Bailey's Take on C-USA

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, September 7, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


Pirates in “Must Win” Situation


Although I’m not one of the people around town in a desperate panic, I do think that the Tulane game is a “must-win” game for the Pirates. A loss would send them to 0-2, but more importantly, ECU would be 0-1 in Conference USA.

Add that point to the fact that East Carolina travels to Syracuse next week, and there is a real possibility of an 0-3 start.  The Orangemen are always tough at the Carrier Dome, and I think the Pirate coaching staff felt going into the season that the Syracuse game would be September's toughest test.

Garrard Fired Up about Tulane Game

Senior Quarterback David Garrard said after practice Wednesday that the Pirates would not lose back-to-back games.

“We never lose two games in a row, and we will not start this season,” said Garrard. “We are going to go down to Louisiana and take care of business and make everyone in Eastern North Carolina and in the country happy.”

Garrard threw two interceptions on Saturday against Wake Forest, but one of those was a gift from the intended receiver, who dropped the football right into the defender's hands.

“We will be better as an offense,” Garrard said. “We have worked hard in practice all week and I am confident that things will be better.”

Conference USA Comes Up Short

As expected, Southern Miss and Louisville were the bright spots from last week’s games. The Golden Eagles beat Oklahoma State, while Louisville rolled past Kentucky.

But the league still failed to pick up a big “national” win. Cincinnati had a great chance last Sunday, before falling to defending Big 10 champion Purdue 19-14.

The Bearcats were driving for the winning score late in the game, but an illegal procedure penalty negated a 30-yard gain on fourth down that would have given the Bearcats a first-and-ten inside the ten-yard line.

The following day, Memphis was about to pull off the “Labor Day Shocker”, leading 18th ranked Mississippi State 10-0 in the third quarter.  But somebody let the Dogs out, because Mississippi State scored 30 unanswered points to win 30-10.

This Week’s Games:

Cincinnati at Army

The Bearcats played tough against Purdue, and now travel to one of the most beautiful football settings in the country, Michie Stadium along the shores of the Hudson River.

Army has won this game in both of the teams' previous meetings at Michie. Former East Carolina offensive coordinator Todd Berry has high hopes for the Cadets, who were just 1-10 last season.

The Cadets are also the only C-USA team that has yet to play a game this season.

UAB at (5) Florida State

This is the second straight year that a C-USA team will play in Tallahassee. Louisville lost to the Seminoles last year, 31-0.

UAB opened its 1998 season on the road at another Top 5 team, falling at #3 Nebraska 38-7.

Last week, in a Thursday night game, the Blazer’s defense did not allow a touchdown and limited Montana State to just 155 yards in UAB’s opening 41-13 win.

East Carolina knows first hand that the Blazers have great athletes. Again, this is the type of “national” game that really benefits C-USA.

Western Carolina at Louisville

Louisville quarterback Dave Ragone threw for a career high 368 yards in the Cardinal’s win over Kentucky last week.  Meanwhile, the Cardinal defense held the Wildcats to just 213 total yards on 65 plays.

Western Carolina, from the Southern Conference, beat Mars Hill 15-6 to open its season.

Chattanooga at Memphis

This is the second match-up of the weekend between C-USA and the Southern Conference.

Chattanooga beat Stamford last week while Memphis was falling at Mississippi State.

Tommy West had to be encouraged by his team’s play against the Bulldogs. Memphis led 10-0 in the third quarter, before the Dogs rallied.

This is the 22nd meeting in the series, but the first since 1963. Having played the Mississippi State game on Labor Day, the Tigers had just four days to get ready for the Moccasins.


The Horned Frogs and the Ponies have played 82 times dating back to 1915.  SMU leads the all-time series by a slim 38-36-7 margin, but TCU has won two straight and three of the last four.  The Frogs won last year’s game 62-7.

This will be TCU’s third straight road game. The only other Division I teams that had three road games to start their year were Miami of Ohio, Utah State and North Carolina.

Brian Bailey's C-USA Power Rankings

  1. Louisville... Cards pass Kentucky test, Ragone makes Louisville team to beat.

  2. Southern Miss… Golden Eagles off this week, getting set to take on Alabama.

  3. TCU… Horned Frogs should take care of SMU, gain more confidence.

  4. East Carolina… Hoping that David Garrard and Company bounce back in a big way.

  5. UAB... Blazers should have little trouble with Montana State.

  6. Cincinnati… Bearcats should have beaten Purdue.

  7. Memphis… Strong first half moved Tigers up in Power Rankings. Second half sent them back.

  8. Army… A win over Cincinnati would do wonders.

  9. Houston... Off this week, looking forward to Georgia.

  10. Tulane... Gave up 70 to BYU, then 48 to LSU. Here’s hoping the trend continues.

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02/23/2007 01:19:28 AM

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