Take on Conference USA
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, October 19, 2001
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Mixed Up Message on Friday Football Front;
Tuesday Game Gets Thumbs Up
The East Carolina
athletic administration continues to take heat about the decision to play a
college game on a Friday night, a night usually reserved for high school
The Pirates will play
Southern Mississippi on the Friday night after the Thanksgiving Day Holiday.
Earlier this year,
Charlie Adams blasted ECU about the decision.
Adams is an ECU graduate who just
happens to be the Director of the North Carolina High School Athletic
Adams went so far as to
ask each one of the high school football coaches in attendance at each of
the Regional meetings to write the East Carolina administration to voice
their individual concerns.
ECU Athletic Director
Mike Hamrick once again had to defend the position when he was questioned by
a caller on his weekly radio show this week.
The good news is that
Hamrick told the caller that he was opposed to playing on Friday, and that
he has asked ESPN and Conference USA not to schedule the Pirates on any more
On the other hand, the Pirate
Athletic Director's remark to the
caller that “95 percent of our local high schools won’t be playing that
night anyway” is just flat out wrong
With the 1-A
playoff pairings including just about every team in each league, there will
be many teams in our area that will be very much a part of the playoff
The Friday after
Thanksgiving is the second week of the state playoffs all around the state.
And it’s not just the local teams that ECU should be worried about, because
the Pirates recruit and have fans from all over the state.
Even if we have several
upsets in the first round of the playoffs, we will still have plenty of
football from our area teams in the second round of the playoffs.
In fact, several schools
have told me that they will consider playing on Saturday, if they make it
that far. The only problem with that situation is, if we have bad weather
the “rain” date would move to Monday.
I believe Hamrick when
he says he would rather not play on Friday nights, and I also believe that
ECU was given little choice in the matter. It’s unfortunate that ESPN and
C-USA have forced Hamrick into the position of having to defend a scheduling
decision with which he disagrees.
But it's also important
for Hamrick to make himself fully aware of the number of high school games
which might be impacted. Armed with that kind of information, he will
be in a better position to lobby the ESPN and C-USA brass to leave ECU out
of the Friday night mix in the future.
Tuesday Night Football is a Hit
Tuesday night college
football seemed to be a hit, according to those who discussed the topic on
talk radio on Wednesday.
In Greenville, we have
the opportunity to listen to both Fox Sports Radio 1250 out of Farmville,
and the Sporting News Radio Network on the Talk FM 98.3.
Everything that I heard
was very positive. Of course, the Louisville-Southern Miss game came off of
the heels of that Monday night disaster between the Cowboys and the
Several callers on both
stations said they liked the idea of Tuesday night football. Conference USA
got just what it wanted, because Southern Miss-Louisville was pretty much
the only game in town.
The only thing that I
don’t like about playing on Tuesday is that it takes away from the fun of a
college football Saturday. East Carolina has only three home Saturdays this
season, and that’s a shame.
The Cards and the Golden
Eagles put on a good show. Louisville put the game away
with a strong fourth quarter, but the game most certainly gave football fans
their early week fix.
Louisville’s win puts
them on a collision course with East Carolina on the Thursday night before
Thanksgiving. Southern Miss gave Dave Ragone fits, but Ragone held tough and
led his team to a very important Conference USA win.
The Golden Eagles have
two losses, and will now need lots of help in their bid for a league title.
But you have to think that Southern Miss will be a big factor when the bowl
shuffle begins in late November.
Don’t forget Cincinnati
is still unbeaten in league play. The Bearcats get both Louisville and East
Carolina at home this season.
Now for a look at this
week's games and my updated
C-USA Power Rankings:
CONFERENCE USA THIS WEEK
Memphis at East Carolina
The Pirates are a
ten-point favorite, and go after a measure of revenge against a Tiger team
that ultimately cost ECU the league title last year.
This is a much different
Memphis team then the one that we are all used to. This Tiger team in the
past has struggled on offense. This year, Tommy West has teamed up with
offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner to open things up.
The Tigers will try to
spread the Pirates defense out on Saturday. ECU is still looking for the
answers on defense, but this Memphis team may bring more questions to town.
I think the key to this
game will be in getting pressure on the Tiger’s quarterback, most likely
Travis Anglin. It seems like every quarterback the Pirates play against has
a career day.
If the Pirates can
pressure the quarterback, it will take some of the pressure off of the
Pirate secondary, which desperately needs a big day this weekend.
Coach Steve Logan may
not agree, but his best game plan may be to control the football. Usually
you want to keep the other team’s offense off the field. But Logan may want
to pound the Tigers with plenty of doses of Leonard Henry to keep his own
defense off the field.
The Pirates can take a
big step toward a bowl bid with a win for Homecoming on Saturday.
Conference USA is as
wacky as ever. Just when I thought that TCU might battle for the conference
crown, the Frogs go to Tulane and get gigged, 44-28. (Gigging is a Southern
tradition that is against the law and definitely against everything that
PETA stands for.)
I asked Coach Logan if
he was surprised by the game.
“Nope,” he said. “I know
if you go to Tulane and you’re not ready to play, you’ll lose against that
This will be the first
ever meeting between the Black Knights and the Horned Frogs. It’s also the
first ever league game hosted by TCU.
The Green Wave makes its
first ever visit to Birmingham and Legion field to take on the Blazers.
Tulane will be riding high, after dusting TCU last week.
In the only other
meeting between these two teams, the Blazers won a double-overtime thriller
back in 1999. Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey threw for 325 yards in that
The Green Wave does have
an outstanding offense, and they seem to be getting better as a team.
The Pirates are now big
Tulane fans, with the Wave scheduled to play both Southern Miss and
Louisville later in the season.
Cincinnati at Houston
A lot of the talk around
town about the Conference USA championship has not included Cincinnati. That
may be a mistake.
The Bearcats are 3-0 in
league play, with wins over Army, Tulane and UAB. The Cats still have
Houston, Louisville, ECU and Memphis on
Cincinnati has won five
of the last seven meetings with the Cougars. The Bearcats have also won
their last six Conference USA games going back to December, including three
on the road.
Bailey's C-USA Power Rankings 
1. Louisville…The Cards pass a
big test with win over Southern Miss.
Carolina…The Pirates need a win this week to keep pace with the Cards.
3. Cincinnati….Still not sold on
the Bearcats, but can’t argue with 3-0 league mark.
4. Memphis…Tigers hope to keep
Conference USA title hopes alive in Greenville.
Southern Miss…..Golden Eagles outplayed Louisville most of the way before
the self-destruction in 4th quarter.
Tulane… Never thought the Green Wave would move up this high, this year.
Horned Frogs took big step backwards with loss to the Wave.
UAB…Blazers have lost three in a row since running up the score against
Black Knights show class. I agree with Coach Logan that Todd Berry will
get the job done at West Point.
Houston…Cougars could run the table. Why couldn’t Houston be on the ECU
schedule in 2001?
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02/23/2007 01:19:41 AM