College Football Playoff
Released date: Oct. 28, 2014
2. Florida State 7-0
3. Auburn 6-1
4. Mississippi 7-1
5. Oregon 7-1
6. Alabama 7-1
7. TCU 6-1
8. Michigan State 7-1
9. Kansas State 6-1
10. Notre Dame 6-1
11. Georgia 6-1
12. Arizona 6-1
13. Baylor 6-1
14. Arizona State 6-1
15. Nebraska 7-1
16. Ohio State 6-1
17. Utah 6-1
18. Oklahoma 5-2
19. LSU 7-2
20. West Virginia 6-2
21. Clemson 6-2
22. UCLA 6-2
23. East Carolina 6-1
24. Duke 6-1
25. Louisville 6-2)
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How good is ECU?
East Carolina became bowl
eligible for the eighth time in
the last nine seasons with a
31-21 American Athletic
Conference football win over
Connecticut at Dowdy-Ficklen
Stadium on Thursday night. The
Pirates improved to 6-1 overall
and 3-0 in the American Athletic
More from Al Myatt...
joins in on
front of the
foe UConn. ©Bonesville.net.
pix in W.A. Myatt's
Audio: Ruff Post-game
coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with the press
after the Pirates
defeated UConn 31-21
(recorded by W.A. Myatt;
Select audio clip...
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View ECU's Football
There is a reason the FCS
football playoff and NCAA basketball tournament committees do not
publish weekly polls. College Football Playoff organizers state the
early rankings are to “condition the public” prior to the final Dec
ESPN paid a lot of money for
rights to the College Football Playoff, so committee
chairman/Arkansas AD Jeff Long will discuss the committee's picks
each Tuesday on the ubiquitous sports network.
Robert Hill, the chair of
the FCS football committee, questioned the wisdom of releasing
rankings each week, Yahoo Sports reported. The FCS rates teams
internally on a weekly basis.
Releasing the rankings each
week "kind of boxes yourself in as to how you explain your way out
of it at the end," Hill said. "So and so may be playing much better
at the end and really should be in, but because you ranked them so
far down to start with, you don't get to move them up."
East Carolina is No. 23 on
the inaugural College Football Playoff rankings, the only "Group of
Five" school ranked. Many in the media have opined that this puts
ECU in the driver’s seat to earn a bid to a high-profile "access"
bowl (Peach, Fiesta or Cotton).
In the grand scheme of
things, this initial ranking may be irrelevant. Preseason rankings
mean nothing — ask the North Carolina Tar Heels. Midseason rankings
mean very little. There is still a lot of football left to be
played. Stiff challenges lie ahead.
With teams like Marshall,
Boise State and Colorado State also vying for the access bowl spot,
American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco is happy that
one of his league's teams has positioned itself at the head of the
"We were pleased and
relieved a bit, but it’s early," Aresco told the Orlando Sentinel
Wednesday during the league's basketball media day in New York.
"I think the key sentiment
is that it’s a long season, anything can happen and I never root for
one of our conference teams against another, but we’re pleased East
Carolina’s earned it," he added.
East Carolina’s next
challenge will be in Philadelphia, where it can match its best start
since 1999. ECU has won 7 of 11 all-time meetings with Temple, but
the teams haven't met since 1995.
Though the Pirates will be
aiming for a sixth straight victory within a single season for the
first time since winning 11 in a row in 1991, Coach Ruffin McNeill
has kept his team grounded during the run.
“We don’t coach for
rankings," McNeill said. "I’ve never coached that way and I’m not
going to start now. What we coach is playing our best on every play
and embracing our roles to make the team better. That’s what we can
Each opponent is now aiming
for the target that will remain squarely on ECU's back as long as it
continues to win. The Pirates are no longer the hunter, but the
“I was proud of the win (against
Connecticut) and proud of our kids,” McNeill
said during his weekly press conference, “Wins are hard in this
business. I’ve coached probably about 460 games and I cherish each
win. I told the kids not to think about defending winning because
they don’t have to.
"They listen, but
they’re just kids, too.”
With winning comes increased
pressure and attention, including scrutiny from fans and media on
how the Pirates win. "Style points" seems to be the catch-phrase of
the day as margin of victory and degree of domination creep into the
thinking of armchair quarterbacks.
In the real world,
however, Coach Ruff is trying to keep his charges focused on another
tough road game against a Temple team anchored by a talented defense
that has kept opponents in check.
"They play a lot of guys,
but they only allow 19 points per game," noted McNeill.
Second-year Owls coach Matt
Rhule called ECU the best opponent the Owls have faced in his two
years at the helm.
The Pirates need to be
particularly wary heading into this matchup. Temple was in a similar
situation last year when it hosted current NFL quarterback Blake
Bortles and then-No. 15 Central Florida. The Owls played the Knights
tough and came within minutes of pulling off one of the biggest
upsets of the season.
Ultimately the Pirates will
be judged by their body of work, how they perform over the entire
season — including if they can win a championship in their inaugural
season in the American. Past the midway point in the season with
several taxing conference games ahead, McNeill takes nothing for
“The competition is going to
get better each week in this conference," he said. "One of the
things we knew getting into this conference was the competition from
top to bottom would be tough, so we expect that and look forward to
“We know we have and will
catch everyone's best shot.”