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 galleryfurniture.com 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
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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