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Insights and Observations

Henry's Highlights
Monday, January 2, 2006

By Henry Hinton

Crystal ball foretells tantalizing year


7:00-9:00 a.m.

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Happy New Year! For my first column of 2006, Iíll take a stab at some predictions for the new year.

I have no crystal ball and have never felt like I have ESP (although I do have ESPN and ESPN 2), but I figure everyone else makes predictions this time of yearÖ why not me?

Letís start with East Carolina, of course.

I predict that Jeremy Ingram will continue to make a huge difference in Ricky Stokesí team. So much so, that by mid-January the Pirates will be competitive in Conference USA. Iím expecting a huge turnaround from the disappointing start to the season.

I predict that the 2006 Pirate football team will go bowling in December. In spite of a treacherous schedule that includes nine bowl teams from this season, Skip Holtzís squad will ride the arm of James Pinkney to a winning record.

Speaking of Pinkney, I predict he will attend class this year and stay out of academic trouble.

Also regarding Pinkney, I predict he will be a contender for the offensive player of the year in C-USA in 2006.

Now, letís move to baseball. I have to qualify my prediction about Billy Godwinís first Pirate squad. If ó and itís a big IF ó all of the surgeries on ECU pitchers prove to be successful, I predict the Pirates will have a record better than last yearís 35-26 ledger.

That will be difficult to do considering some of the new teams in C-USA are some of the best in the nation, particularly Rice and Central Florida. Where the league can be accused of slipping down a notch in basketball and football, not so in baseball. ECUís dream of getting to Omaha has some new obstacles now that C-USA is one of the toughest leagues in the country.

Now onto some other prognostications:

Sorry Carolina Panthers fans, no Super Bowl this year. I predict the Panthers will beat the Giants this week and maybe even get back to the NFC Championship game. Jake Delhomme will have to be flawless to get that far, something he is rarely capable of doing. I donít see them making it back to the big game.

Contrary to much recent speculation, I predict that former ECU Coach Steve Logan will NOT return to college coaching in spite of being wooed by different universities. Logan is currently slated to be the offensive coordinator of the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe next spring.

However, with all the openings we will see pop up this week in the NFL, donít be surprised to see his name thrown around at that level. Logan has made a name for himself at the professional level and now that he needs a paycheck he may finally take a pro job on an offensive staff in the NFL.

Oh, by the way, I predict that Terry Holland will have a less difficult time making the athletic department budget this year. Fewer coaches on the payroll, especially those of the highly-paid, not-working variety.

I predict that former ECU star David Garrard will get traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to one of many teams in the NFL that need a good quarterback. Garrard has proven himself to be an effective starter for the Jags during Byron Leftwichís injury. Without him, Jacksonville would not be in the playoffs. Itís a shame Garrard will probably see little or no action this weekend against New England.

Some team will step up and give the Jags a first round draft pick this time around, which is what they wanted for Garrard last year. Now he is more of a proven commodity and a much better quarterback than many who started this year in the NFL. What about Garrard playing for the New York Jets? Broadway Dave?

And finally, I predict another national championship for USC in the Rose Bowl against Texas. I know, itís a no-brainer.

Happy New Year! Go Pirates, Panthers, Jaguars, Patriots (or whoever you will cheer for in 2006).

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04/21/2008 07:08:49 PM

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