Nuggets of Gold
Thursday, November 5, 2009
By Adam Gold
Adam Gold is
program director of the Triangle's "850
the Buzz" and host of "The G-spot with Adam Gold."
Risky game at a risky time
All rights reserved.
circumstances, Thursday night ought to be a great opportunity for East
Carolina’s football program.
A national television
audience, a nationally ranked — and beatable — opponent in Virginia Tech,
and a chance to show off the all-purple uniforms (just playing a hunch
But, these are anything
but normal circumstances. The 2009 East Carolina Pirates would be a lot
better served with a game against some directional school than with a
knockdown, dragout affair with the Hokies.
Remember, I said that
these are not normal circumstances.
When the season began,
there were a lot of different goals for these Pirates. Some were talking
about the prospect of ECU being a BCS buster. Others were talking about a
Top Ten ranking, and all Pirate fans were hoping for a second straight
Conference USA championship.
Well, busting up the Bowl
Champsionship Series party was tossed into the New River when the Pirates
walked the plank at West Virginia, and thoughts of the Top Ten were flushed
into the Neuse when ECU made T.J. Yates look like Joe Montana in Chapel
The silver lining inside
that little black rain cloud, however, was that it brought into clear focus
the lone remaining goal: winning Conference USA.
Eleven months ago, ECU
brought home the league trophy for the first time. This year, the East
Division — and a spot in the title game — are once again there for the
taking as the Pirates open the November portion of the schedule.
All they need to do is to
stay healthy. And that is why this game is so risky.
In most seasons, the
Pirates would be playing this game in September, before the craziness of the
season’s final month kicked off. In a normal year, this is a statement game
matching the little guy with a chip on his shoulder against the big guy
looking to swat away the proverbial fly.
circumstances, this game would have a lot more meaning for the underdog.
But remember, these are
not normal circumstances because East Carolina has bigger snapper to broil
(sorry, I just can’t get with calabash).
The Pirates' entire focus
has to be on the final three league games. Next week’s game against Tulsa is
25 times more important than Thursday night’s primetime affair in
Greenville. The following Saturday’s game at home against UAB is even more
vital, and the regular season finale against arch-rival Southern Miss is
That’s not to say that
there are no positives to be achieved Thursday night. East Carolina could
win the game, show off to the college football-watching masses, escape
unscathed and carry an enormous amount of momentum into the final three
And, with nothing to
lose, this game allows Skip Holtz and company to really throw the playbook
wide open and have fun with the offense, though I realize that East Carolina
and wide open offense are mutually exclusive terms.
I just wish this game was
more cupcake than statement. Because in order to reach the most important
goals left on the table, East Carolina is going to need to win the final
three a lot more than Thursday night.
In most cases,
beating the Hokies is probably better than sweeping the Golden
Hurricane, Blazers and Golden Eagles. But these are not normal
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11/05/2009 02:26:07 AM