2017 Football Preview – American – Pirates
Looking for 2017 East Carolina Pirates predictions? The Pirates endured a brutal 2016. They were getting used to a new regime in Greenville under first-year head coach Scottie Montgomery, and it came with all the headaches one would expect. ECU couldn’t stop anybody on defense, with their rush ‘D’ and red-zone defense being especially atrocious.
NCAA Football Gambling Lines
- 2017-18 College Football Preview – East Carolina Pirates
- Head Coach: Scottie Montgomery
- 2016 Record: 3-9
- East Carolina Pirates Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +50000
- Updated Sportsbook Bonuses For Today
- ***More 2017 NCAA Football Team Season Previews***
But this year, there’s a reunion of sorts with Montgomery, formerly a co-ordinator at Duke, and sixth-year transfer Thomas Sirk.
The Pirates must hope for something to spur them forward this campaign.
Can the Pirates, often a decent AAC outfit and always one with spirited fans in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, put enough components together to claw up the American Conference standings in 2017?
2017 ECU Pirates Predictions: Team Strengths
Snag Artists: The Pirates feature depth at wide receiver, which is good news for whoever wins the QB competition between transfer Sirk and 6’2, 215-lb junior Gardner Minshew. East Carolina still have plenty of weapons at the position even with the departure of Zay Jones, who only led the nation in receiving yards and receptions last year.
The gems of the group would be Quay Johnson, Jimmy Williams and Davon Grayson, all seniors. This should translate into a healthy aerial attack in the second year of Coach Montgomery’s rebuild effort.
A year ago, the Pirates were sixth in America in passing; they should be right up there again.
Any grabs ECU can get out of senior TE Stephen Baggett is a bonus.
Isolated Stars on ‘D’: East Carolina may have plenty to improve on that side of the ball, but the front four will be led by junior pass-rush specialist Yiannis Bowden and senior LB Jordan Williams.
In the secondary, the star of the show is rangy athlete (6’4, 200-lb) Bobby Fulp. Bowden led the team last year with 7.5 tackles for loss, so he can be disruptive in the secondary. Keep an eye on CB/safety ‘tweener Aaron Ramseur, who apparently impressed Montgomery in spring ball.
2017 East Carolina Pirates Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Swiss Cheese Run Defense: Opponents ran all over ECU in 2016; that has to change if the Pirates are to see any notable bump in their record. The Greenville faithful will be relying not just on Bowden to continue being disruptive, but also DTs Demage Bailey and Jalen Price.
The miserable defense was mostly the reason the Pirates lost nine of their last 10 games last season and went winless on the road for the first time since 2004. Clearly, improvement is a must.
East Carolina also must be concerned about ball security, and the disparity of which the Pirates are yielding turnovers versus forcing them. ECU coughed the ball up 24 times in 2016, while the defense only came up with eight turnovers, last in the Bowl Subdivision.
On special teams, it looks as if sophomore Jake Verity will handle both the kicking and punting duties. He has big shoes to fill with former K Davis Plowman and P Worth Gregory; on top of having awesome names, they were accomplished veterans for the Purple and Gold.
The special teams coaches desperately need to get the return games back on track, as they were near the bottom of the conference a year ago.
East Carolina Pirates Prediction: 4-8
It appears as if Coach Montgomery is taking this rebuild in Greenville in the right direction, but it isn’t an overnight fix. The 2017 schedule does not do the Pirates any favors. Carolina has an opener against defending FCS champion James Madison, followed by three consecutive games against Top 25 opponents – West Virginia, Virginia Tech and South Florida.
Only the most loyal Pirates fan wouldn’t put at least three of those four games down in ink, in the loss column.
When you are changing your defensive scheme, one might think the last thing a team would want to deal with is a QB controversy, but it looks like that’s what ECU gets with Sirk and Minshew. The good news is that both are good players and whomever emerges ought to be able to pilot that side of the ball.
Finally, ECU has further tricky road games at Houston and Memphis later in the season. All of this is to say that if the Pirates can improve upon their 2016 record by a game or two, it should be considered a moderate success for Montgomery and his staff. 2018 is when you should really see the new regime’s fruit begin to blossom.
2017 East Carolina Pirates Football Schedule
- 9/2/17 TBD J. MAD. (FCS)
- 9/9/17 TBD at WVU
- 9/16/17 TBD VT
- 9/30/17 TBD S. FLA.
- 10/7/17 TBD TEMPLE
- 10/14/17 TBD at UCF
- 10/21/17 TBD BYU
- 10/28/17 TBD at HOU
- 11/4/17 TBD @UCONN
- 11/11/17 TBD TUL
- 11/18/17 TBD CINN
- 11/25/17 TBD @MEM
What do you think about our 2017 East Carolina Pirates predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
The 2017 College futures betting season is here in full force! If you like to bet on NCAA football, you are in the best possible place for online betting. CappersPicks.com has NCAAF odds up on a ton of futures, and you will also find College football lines up for early games as well.
Check out our Updated College Football Betting Odds.