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Bailey's Take on Conference USA

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, October 5, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


As Tar Heels Loom, Logan Wants
Garrard to Assume No Extra Burden


Wednesdays are the last day that players can give interviews on normal game weeks.

I talked with Pirate Coach Steve Logan and ECU quarterback David Garrard briefly after Wednesday’s practice.

My question to both was about Garrard. I asked if this was the type of game that David needed to really play well in, to get some of the state and national recognition that I thought he deserved.

Evidently, someone close to the Pirate quarterback, intent on keeping Garrard's role in perspective, had already discussed that same idea.

“That would be the worst thing for us on offense, for David to feel that he has to do something extra,” Pirate Coach Steve Logan explained. “If he will just run the offense, like we need him to run it, then we’ll be just fine. We don’t need him to do anything on his own. Those stats will come, if we play as one offensive unit.”

Garrard agreed with the Coach.

“I just want to go out and get us playing Pirate football,” he said. “And I am looking forward to the game. I am from that area. I know lots of the Tar Heel players, and I think it’s going to be fun.”

Bunting Keys on Henry and Townes

While most opposing coaches talk more about Garrard, North Carolina’s John Bunting seems to be more concerned about the Pirates' speed.

“Leonard Henry can literally break it on any given play,” said Bunting. “I mean it, he will be a real challenge to stop.”

Bunting also went on about the Pirate’s new weapon returning kicks, redshirt freshman Marvin Townes.

“He may be the best that we have faced,” said Bunting. “And that’s saying something after playing Oklahoma, Texas and Florida State.”

Cards Kick Off this Week's League Games with Strange Win

Louisville 7, Colorado State 2?

The Cardinals got the football weekend started with a win, but it was anything but pretty.

I’m not sure if Colorado State was that good, or if Louisville is that bad.

I do know that the two teams that are expected to battle East Carolina for the league crown scored a combined total of ten points in their last two games. That counts the 3-0 win for Southern Miss over UAB, and Thursday night’s win for the Cardinals.

With that said, I like East Carolina’s chances against both of those teams at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Nobody in the conference appears to have an offense as explosive as the Pirates'.

There are three league games on the Conference USA schedule for this weekend. The most attractive of the bunch is in Memphis, with Southern Miss taking on the Tigers. Up in Cincinnati, the Bearcats will be hosting Tulane while at West Point, something has got to give with 0-3 Houston taking on 0-3 Army.

Meanwhile, outside the conference, UAB will be visiting Central Florida while the Pirates are trying to gain the league a little respect in Chapel Hill.

Southern Miss at Memphis

The Golden Eagles scored just 3 points last week, but that was good enough for a key, conference win over UAB. The Golden Eagles have had at least one shutout in seven straight seasons. Southern Miss. leads the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 6.3 points per game.

This will be the 52nd meeting between the two teams, making this the most-played rivalry in the league. The Golden Eagles have won the last seven games between the two teams. They also have a five game winning streak at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, including victories in the 1997 and 1999 Liberty Bowl games.

Tulane at Cincinnati

These two teams played in the very first game in the league’s history back in 1996. Tulane is unbeaten in the series in league play, having won all four contests. Overall, Tulane leads the series 10-2. The Green Wave picked up its first win of the season on Saturday, beating Southern 41-7. The Bearcats lost last week to rival Miami of Ohio 21-14.

Houston at Army

It’s a matchup of two winless teams at Michie Stadium this week. Army lost a heartbreaker to the Cougars last year, when Houston blocked a 32-yard field goal on the game’s final play. Army was a winner in the last meeting at West Point, 26-14. That win was a part of the Cadets 7-4 record that season. Houston dropped its third straight game to a former Southwest Conference team last week, losing to Conference USA foe TCU 34-17.

UAB at Central Florida

At one time, Central Florida was a hot name as far as the growth of Conference USA was concerned. That idea has since cooled, but the Orlando market is most attractive to television.

The Golden Knights are just 1-3, but their losses have come against the likes of Clemson, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

UAB allowed only three points in that loss to Southern Miss last weekend. The Blazers loss was key to East Carolina’s title hopes, because ECU and UAB don’t play one another this season.

Now, for this week's Conference USA power rankings:

Brian Bailey's C-USA Power Rankings [100501]

1. Southern Miss.… Golden Eagles pass huge test against UAB; defense among the best in the nation.
2. UAB…. Close loss to Southern Miss. keeps the Blazers in second slot.
3. Louisville.… Bounced back last week with big league win over Memphis, but 7-2 over Colorado State?
4. East Carolina…. Pirates step outside of the conference, looking for state pride.
5. TCU…. Horned Frogs deserve spot in upper division of C-USA.
6. Memphis.… Still like the Tigers chances down the line.
7. Cincinnati…. Should move up with win over Tulane this week.
8. Tulane…. Green Wave gets win over Southern, moves up two slots.
9a. Houston…. Battle for 9th slot to be decided this week at Army.
9b. Army…. See Above.

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02/23/2007 01:19:36 AM

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