AAC Media has Pirates finishing fifth in East division

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, July 16, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. — Following consecutive 3-9 seasons, the East Carolina University Pirates didn’t receive much love from American Athletic Conference media members. On Monday afternoon, they were predicted to finish fifth in the east division above only the departing University of Connecticut.

UCONN will return to the Big East Conference during the 2020-21 season after being denied a request to be a football-only member of the AAC.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco was asked while on the podium whether or not there would be a team filling in for UCONN.

“We have no plans to add a team to replace UCONN,” Aresco said.

The AAC Media members predicted that the University of Central Florida (19) will win the east division for a third consecutive season, while Memphis (15) received the most first-place votes to win the West.

Last year marked the first time that the AAC media majority predicted the winner of the conference in the UCF Knights.

Cincinnati, University of South Florida and Temple were all predicted to finish ahead of ECU this season in the East.

The Pirates are looking to gain some respect amongst the division under new head coach Mike Houston.

Houston took the jump to Greenville from James Madison University, where he and his staff won an Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Championship in 2016. Houston’s overall head coaching record sits at 80-25, with playoff appearances in six out of eight seasons coaching Division-II’s Lenoir-Rhyne and the FCS’ Citadel and JMU.

“Our goal is, in time, to get our program where we are picked at the top year in and year out,” Houston said according to The Daily Reflector. “We want to compete for conference championships, so that means we have to qualify for the championship game. If those aren’t your goals, then why are you playing? Our goal is a to get this program to that point in the very near future.”

ECU returns 13 of 22 positional starters with six on offense and seven on defense. The Pirates welcome back 45 lettermen from last year’s team, so experience won’t be an issue unless 2019 class signees earn some early playing time.

ECU’s first game is set for noon on the ACC network against the North Carolina State Wolfpack in Raleigh on Aug. 31.


East Division

Team (1st Place Votes) – Points

  1. UCF (19) – 169
  2. Cincinnati (11) – 157
  3. USF – 107
  4. Temple – 101
  5. ECU – 66
  6. Connecticut – 30


West Division

Team (1st Place Votes) – Points

  1. Memphis (15) – 165
  2. Houston (14) – 162
  3. Tulane – 108
  4. SMU (1) – 87
  5. Navy – 70
  6. Tulsa – 38

First-place votes in parentheses