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Pirates headed to Big Easy or St. Pete

League's bowl bids coming into focus

From electronic reports

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East Carolina's bowl destination will be determined by the outcome of Saturday's Conference USA Championship game between Central Florida and host Tulsa, Conference USA officials indicated on Monday.

If the West Division champion Golden Hurricane prevails, the Pirates will face Sun Belt member Louisiana-Lafayette in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 22 at noon. The game will be played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where ECU defeated C-USA foe Tulane two Saturdays ago.

If UCF wins the league title game, the Pirates will take on an opponent to be determined in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, FL, on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. The Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl is played at Tropicana Field, the home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays.

ECU officials announced that bowl tickets will go on sale beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 via Bowl Ticket Central, ECU's online post-season ticketing platform. Applications will be mailed on Monday, Dec. 3 to football season ticket holders and Pirate Club members. A priority deadline of 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10 has been established.

ECU's bowl appearance will mark its sixth in seven years and its second under third-year head coach Ruffin McNeill. The Pirates finished the regular 8-4 overall and 7-1 in the conference, good enough for a share of the East Division title with Central Florida. The Golden Knights earned a spot in the title game by virtue of their win over ECU on Oct. 4.

The winner of the Tulsa-UCF matchup will face an opponent to be named later in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 31. If Tulsa loses, it will receive a berth in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, TX, on Dec. 29. If the Knights lose, they will play in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.

Other C-USA teams headed to bowl games are Southern Methodist and Rice. The Mustangs have already accepted an invitation to play in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Monday, Dec. 24.

The Owls' fate hinges on Tulsa's destination. Rice will play in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl if the Golden Hurricane earns the Liberty Bowl bid. Otherwise, the Owls will appear in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

PAGE UPDATED 11/27/12 03:15 AM.

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