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East Carolina Pirates 2015 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2015-2016 Football Previews (AAC)- Pirates

The Pirates have developed a reputation as a bit of a giant killer over the years taking down ACC teams with some regularity.

NCAA Football Gambling Lines

AAC Conference Lines

ECU Pirates
Head Coach: Ruffin McNeil
2014 Record: 8–5 (5–3 The American)
Odds to Win College Football Championship (from BetOnline): +30,000
Odds to win AAC (from BetOnline): 7/1
Season Win Total (from 5Dimes): Bet The Field

Led by experienced QB Shane Carden they were on the map (ranked as high as 18) last season thanks to wins over both Virginia Tech and North Carolina but they could not keep it up over the long term and a season that started with so much promise was frittered away in conference play and ended with a bowl loss to Florida (who is on the schedule in September).

Coach Ruffin McNeil has this group believing they can compete with anybody and even though he is not looking to move he is underrated.

With a team that is probably not as good as a year ago the Pirates did themselves no favours with their scheduling in 2015. This year they take on an ACC opponent of course (Virginia Tech again) but also travel to Florida and BYU.

All three games could easily be losses and if so that is going to to make it tough to achieve much more than a .500 season.

Their AAC schedule is middle of the road in terms of difficulty. They definitely have to get off to a fast start.

Strengths

It is hard to say what the strengths will be for this team. McNeill was a defensive coordinator before becoming the head coach in Greenville yet at ECU he has had some of the more prolific offenses in the country.

I don’t expect them to change much just because they are reloading their personnel. However for the first time in a while the best players on the team may be on the defensive side of the ball. LB Zeek Bigger racked up 140 tackles last season plus two picks and a score.

Also, DE Terrell Stanley is back healthy. The edge rusher had 7 sacks in 2013 but missed all of last season. That total would have led the club last season and he can help create some big plays for a defense that struggles to make stops.

The QB situation may be unsettled but in Isaiah Johnson they have an all league calibre receiver.

Weaknesses

The combo of QB Shane Carden and WR Justin Hardy was lethal for the last three seasons and both are gone. Sophomore Kurt Benkert looks like the replacement for Carden but he has thrown only 8 collegiate passes and is far from proven.

If the passing game is not effective they are not going to be able to turn on a dime and suddenly become a running team.

Further, it will create a terrible cycle wherein they will likely find themselves behind a lot and need to throw more. On defense there are not enough playmakers for this team to think they can come in and dominate and win.

Just once last year did they give up less than 300 yards of offense (against D1 competition).

Prediction:  6-6

The Pirates have won eight or more games the last three seasons but this is going to be a down year. The nonconference schedule is going to be a real challenge and might be all losses except for a game against FCS Towson.

If that happens getting to the .500 record I predict is going to be a challenge.

The AAC is not great but a team without a reliable quarterback cannot expect blitz through even the bad teams on their league schedule. Their most difficult AAC games are the last two on the schedule so they might look like a contender before taking on UCF and Cincinnati late.

If they could go 6-2 in the league it probably just won’t be enough to win it.

ECU Football Schedule:

September 5 – Towson
September 12 – @ Florida
September 19 – @ Navy
September 26 – Virginia Tech
October 3 – @ SMU
October 10 – @ BYU
October 17 – Tulsa
October 24 – Temple
October 30 – @ Connecticut
November 7 – South Florida
November 19 – @ UCF
November 28 – Cincinnati

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About The Wiesguy

The Wiesguy is a newcomer to the handicapping scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada he is always sweet on the underdogs and you can often find his thoughts, musings and picks at moneydogs.blogspot.com.


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