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Pirates guaranteed a bowl game

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Regardless of Saturday’s outcome against Tulane, the East Carolina Pirates are going bowling for the second straight year.
The Pirates, who lost 24-7 to South Florida in last year’s Papajohns.com Bowl, were guaranteed a bowl berth without even having to play a game last week.
Six teams from Conference USA qualify for a bowl game. ECU (6-5 overall, 5-2 C-USA) will be joined in the postseason by UCF (8-3, 6-1), Tulsa (8-3, 5-2), Houston (7-4, 6-2), Memphis (6-5, 5-2) and Southern Miss (6-5, 5-3).
The bowl games that C-USA is affiliated with are the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 21 against the top Sun Belt team, the Papajohns.com Bowl on Dec. 22 against the Big East Conference’s fifth-place team, the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 23 against a WAC opponent, the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 against the Big 12’s eighth-place team, the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 29 that has the top C-USA team facing the SEC’s seventh-place team and the GMAC Bowl on Jan. 6 that matches the C-USA’s second team against a MAC opponent.
The Pirates can still earn a trip to the Liberty Bowl with a little bit of help. ECU needs to beat Tulane (4-7, 3-4) in Saturday’s 1 p.m. game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, and have UTEP (4-7, 2-5) upset UCF in Florida to win the C-USA East division title.
Holtz’s team would then play either Tulsa, who plays at Rice on Saturday, or Houston, who plays host to Texas Southern in a non-conference game, in the C-USA championship game.