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Bailey's Take on Conference USA

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, December 4, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Pirate Fan$ Influenced GMAC Pick;
Time for Leaders to Step Forward


Iíve learned one key element when covering bowl possibilities over the years. The more committee members with whom you talk from each bowl, and the more you can get those people to keep talking, the closer you get to the truth.

Bowl matchups are easier to cover in this age because so many conferences have agreements with so many bowls.

Conference USA canít get a slot in the BCS, but the league can get their teams in four different bowls. Two of the bowls are against MAC teams, another league that is good but not nationally known, and even further away from the BCS than is C-USA.

Over the years, you get to know whom to trust and whom not to trust. Some people will tell you anything, but others guide you in the right direction.

Take last week, for instance. By just talking to a couple of people who were in the know, we pretty much had the C-USA bowl situation figured out.

A representative from the Bowl admitted that his bowl might take the winner of the Texas Christian-Southern Miss game ó if the Mobile Bowl opted for East Carolina. Thatís exactly how it went down, and now the Frogs and the Eagles battle for a spot in the post season.

Nothing is fair in the bowl business. Bowls are about making money ó making money for the game, for the city, for the state. Itís more of an economic windfall then a playoff game.

Southern Miss Coach Jeff Bower had a valid point in his acid remarks about the GMAC Bowl overlooking his team. I donít think I would have been quite as vocal, seeing that Bower might need that bowl next season.

Though the GMAC Bowl gets the second pick in the bowl structure, it doesn't necessarily have to take the second place team. All teams that are bowl eligible are also eligible for the second pick.

It just so happens that East Carolina has a great travel reputation, and a reputation for spending money.

Ironically, the Pirate fans will most likely be outnumbered in Mobile. In fact, early estimates are that the Thundering Herd fans may exceed 12 or 15 thousand.

East Carolina officials have indicated that they hope to send 8 thousand to Mobile.

Pirate Seniors Want One More Shot

There were a number of factors to blame in what many consider to be a disappointing 6-5 season for East Carolina this year.

But these Pirate seniors have one more shot to go out a winner.  I heard the talk leading up to the Louisville game, and I heard it before the Southern Miss loss.

I donít want to hear any more talk. Somebody has to rise up and be a leader for this team.

Championship teams have players that refuse to lose. I think somebody has to step up and say that losing is not an option.

Discipline seems to be a problem. Missed assignments and turnovers are directly linked to the poor second halves that have plagued the Pirate cause.

Maybe Coach Logan will let me talk to the team before the game. I may not know as much football as the rest of the staff, but I think I can get a fire going in somebodyís belly.

I donít necessarily think that Coach Logan has to be the guy to get the team fired up, but I do think that somebody has to!

Donít talk about redemption. I want to see it on the field!

Conference USA Power Rankings [120401]

1. Louisville - Conference USA Champs Head to Memphis.

2. Southern Miss - Still at Number 2 in Power Ratings, despite snub by GMAC Bowl.

3. East Carolina - Pirates hope to save their best for last in Mobile.

4. Cincinnati - Bearcats head to Motor City Bowl to face MAC Champion Toledo.

5. TCU - Horned Frogs need a win over Southern Miss to slip into the bowl picture.

6. UAB - Blazers fall short against a very good Pittsburgh team..

7. Memphis - Tigers' loss to Bearcats has UM thinking of next season.

8. Army - Congrats to Todd Berry and the Black Knights for win over Navy.

9. Tulane - Green Wave hopes to see some improvement in 2002.

10. Houston - Cougars run the table for a 'perfect' 0-11 season.

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02/23/2007 01:19:56 AM

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