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Bailey's Take on Conference USA

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, November 23, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Get Set for some Bar-B-Cued Pancakes


Maybe Coach Steve Logan has the recipe. Bar-b-cued pancakes was his suggestion for tailgating on Friday morning.

As long as nobody brings any turkey hash. That was the worst part about Thanksgiving at my house. Come Friday, Dad would whip up a batch of hash, and expect everybody to like it as much as he did.

Of course, what to have at tailgating is the least of the Pirateís worries on Thanksgiving.

The Pirates are still trying to figure out just what the problems in the second half are all about.

Some say it is conditioning. Others say it has NOTHING at all to do with conditioning.

I say it does have something to do with the change in strength coaches, but I also say thatís just one of the dynamics that is happening.

I was on the sideline in the Louisville game, and this Pirate team had given every ounce of energy in trying to win. Are they out of shape? No, but they certainly arenít winning games in the fourth quarter, either.

The Southern Miss game is one of the most difficult games the Pirate coaches have faced in years.

Sure, there is a bowl game to play for ó but this teamís attitude was ďLiberty Bowl or Bust,Ē and the Pirates came up empty in their bid for the Memphis trip.

More then one Pirate coach told me that nobody wanted to go to Mobile or Pontiac. Most of the group enjoyed last yearís trip to Houston, but odds are the Bowl wonít invite the Pirates in back-to-back years.

Regardless, Mobile has the first pick after Memphis, and will take East Carolina if the Pirates win on Friday. If Southern Miss runs the table, the Golden Eagles will most likely make a return trip to Mobile.

A GMAC Bowl representative told me that Southern Miss wasnít all that attractive to them, because their fans donít stay for the entire week. The Southern Miss fans are more likely to show up on game day, and then go home.

To be honest, Iím not sure how many Pirate fans will go back to Mobile after what has been a disappointing season for the most part.

Perhaps after the sting of the Louisville loss wears out, players and fans will be more receptive to one of the other bowls involving Conference USA teams.

Marshall is headed to Mobile, and the Thundering Herd should be nationally ranked for the bowl. Marshall will bring between 10 and 15 thousand fans to Mobile.

It will be very odd, if the Pirates do go to Mobile, that the other team will likely have more fans in the stands.

Forget the bowl talk, though. The Pirates need a win over Southern Miss to soothe the pain of another season without a C-USA title.

Letís hope that Dowdy-Ficklen is rocking on Friday morning.

Conference USA This Week

This week's slate of other league games is a light one ó only two games are being played ó but the implications for the Pirates are important in both match-ups. The outcome of one will have a direct bearing on whether ECU gains a share of the conference championship, while the other involves teams which are jostling with the Pirates for potential bowl slots.

Louisville at TCU

The Pirates will be rooting for the Horned Frogs Friday night, with hopes of sharing the C-USA title with the Cardinals. Louisville is going after a school record 11th win this season. TCU is still in the bowl hunt, but these Cardinals are hot. TCUís only shot is for Louisville to come in overconfident, but I donít think that will be the case.

Cincinnati at Memphis

Two teams going after winning season hook up at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Memphis snapped a three game losing streak with that win over Army. The Bearcats had an off week after falling to East Carolina. I think Cincinnati is the better team, but the Tigers may have the edge at home.

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02/23/2007 01:19:51 AM

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