A Look Behind the Purple Curtain with Bonesville's Web Roundup Curator

Friday, October 31, 2014

By Greg Vacek

'Body of work' will matter at the end



Elections weekly in college football

Al Myatt

You can't avoid the realization that an election day is approaching. Reminders are everywhere. Every week in college football has an election day, when voters rate the teams for ranking purposes. ... More from Al Myatt...


College Football Playoff Rankings

Released date: Oct. 28, 2014

 1. Mississippi State 7-0
 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)

Official College Football Playoff Website


American Schedule

Memphis 40, Tulsa 20 (ESPNU)
Cincinnati 38, Tulane 14 (ESPN2)
ECU at Temple, 12 pm (ESPNN)
UCF at UConn, 12 pm (CBSSN)
Houston at USF, 4 pm (ESPNN)
Last Week's AAC Scores >>> ..... | Thursday > ECU 31, UConn 21 (ESPNU) ..... Friday > Cincinnati 34, USF 17 (ESPN2) ..... | Saturday > Memphis 48, SMU 10 (ESPNN) ..... UCF 34, Temple 14 (CBSSN) ..... .....


Recruiting Class of 2015-16 Verbals

Northern Durham (NC) HS SF Kentrell Barkley (left); Trinity Valley (TX) CC PF Clarence Williams (right): Thumbnail sketches...


Playoff model has fatal flaw

The debate rages on. A team has to win convincingly in order to move up in the polls unless the team plays a higher-ranked opponent, and then any victory will move the needle upward. ... More from Brian Bailey...


Audio: The Brian Bailey Show

The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Brian's guest this week was ECU outside receivers coach Dave Nichol (right): Replay show...


Audio: Coach Ruff Weekly Presser

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with the media at his weekly press conference on Monday (courtesy of Pirate Radio 1250; Bonesville file photo): Select clip...




Inside Game Day | Photos... | Post-game Audio...

AAC SCOREBOARD >>> ..... | Thursday > ECU 31, UConn 21 (ESPNU) ..... Friday > Cincinnati 34, USF 17 (ESPN2) ..... | Saturday > Memphis 48, SMU 10 (ESPNN) ..... UCF 34, Temple 14 (CBSSN) ..... .....

How good is ECU?

Al Myatt

GREENVILLE — 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 Conference ... More from Al Myatt...

PURPLE HEART: East Carolina coach and alumnus Ruffin McNeill joins in on the fight song in front of the "Boneyard" in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium after the Pirates' hard-fought victory over American Athletic Conference foe UConn. ©Bonesville.net. [W.A. Myatt photo]

View more pix in W.A. Myatt's photo gallery...

Audio: Ruff Post-game

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with the press after the Pirates defeated UConn 31-21 Thursday night (recorded by W.A. Myatt; file photo): Select audio clip...

By Greg Vacek
©2014 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

View ECU's Football Schedule

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 7 rankings.

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 G5 pack.

"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 control.”

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 hunted.

“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 granted.

“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 the challenge.

“We know we have and will catch everyone's best shot.”

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11/01/2014 03:34 AM