Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is East Carolina Legit?

The media is now hyping ECU to epic proportions following their dismantling of WVU yesterday. Obviously, the back-to-back wins look really impressive and, on paper, are probably the two best wins any team in the county can claim after two weeks. Having said that, let’s get a little crazy here and suggest that Virginia Tech really isn’t all that great and WVU is undergoing massive change with their new coach Bill “I’m terrible” Stewart. Virginia Tech is not a top 25 team this year and only crept into the preseason rankings as a result of their past history and the probability that they will contend for a championship in the very weak ACC. Having said all that, ECU needed a blocked punt TD with less than two minutes to go to win the game. That’s hardly a blow-out against a team that lacks any impact skill position players.

The West Virginia game was a statement game for ECU and completely embarrassed WVU (which I am very grateful for). ECU showed a fast, aggressive defense, exactly the one needed to counter the spread attack of WVU. But, again, this WVU team is not the team from last year and was ranked so high due to its success last season and the prior couple years under Rich Rod. Bill Stewart, inexplicably, has tweaked Rich Rod’s spread that so perfectly fit Pat White to a more pass-oriented attack. The issue that I have with this is that it takes the physicality of WVU’s offense out of the game. WVU used to manhandle and punish defensive line’s and had a nasty, intimidating attitude (remember Owen Schmitt?). All the same, ECU dominated WVU, which is still the favorite to win the Big East (that’s not saying much though), and looked sharp throughout the game in an electric atmosphere in Greenville, NC.

Up to this point, ECU undoubtedly should be ranked in the top 25. But for those buying into the media calling for ECU to be ranked in the top 15 or top 10, I beg for you to remember Hawaii last year and all the other supposed BCS crashers. We all rout for the underdog and I love what Holtz is going with the ECU program, but I do not think that they could win any BCS conference (even the Big East – I think they would wear down and trip up a couple times along the way to Rutgers, Louisville, Cincy, South Florida, or even UConn). If ECU manages to keep it together and go undefeated, I would love to see them in a BCS game (not the title) and possibly bring some magic to the bowls like Boise State did.

So, I guess it comes down to what is considered to be legit. For non-BCS teams, I think going undefeated with victories over four BCS teams (NC State and UVA still to go) would seem to be legit. Undoubtedly, a team needs to beat a ‘legit’ team, unlike Hawaii last year, to be considered a top 25 team. At this point, the jury’s still out if VT and WVU are ‘legit’ and could render all this hype meaningless.

1 comment:

LBrooks said...

the hype IS meaningless.