Please excuse my horrible Photoshopping skills. This is my remix of ECU’s football field logo.
We’ve taken a look at the OTHER games to watch in Week 1. Now it’s time to take a quick look at THE game to watch!
Coach Ruffin McNeill (former App State Assistant) is in his 3rd year at ECU and still has not had a winning season, although it’s been close. In 2011, the team went 5-6-1 including wins against UCF, UAB, Memphis, Tulane and Navy. Their losses included UNC, UTEP, VA Tech, Houston, South Carolina, Marshall, & Southern Miss.
There are plenty of negatives to look at. First they’ve lost their starting QB from last season, Dominique Davis. Statistically, their turnover margin was flat out atrocious at -1.17, #119 out of #120 FBS teams. They ranked DEAD LAST in Net Punting yds at only 29.63 per punt. Perhaps more importantly, their scoring defense ranked #97 and their rushing offense was #105.
Their passing offense was ranked #20th in the country, however as mentioned previously, their QB is gone. Their pass defense was #33 in the nation. Their biggest positive is that they get 22 more scholarships than we do. Honestly, I can’t find much else. They just weren’t that great of a team last year.
ECU has a reputation of being a solid team with a rabid fan base. However, that reputation was established with the previous coach. If you just look at the numbers from the past 2 seasons, this is an extremely average team by FBS standards. But they are still an FBS team.
Yes, FBS teams have more scholarships, but this distinction is largely misunderstood. FBS teams get 85 full scholarships, while FCS teams get only 63. However, FCS teams can divide theirs into partial scholarships for up to 85 players. So in fact, an FCS team has the potential to offer financial aid to just as many players as an FBS team. Yes, FBS teams still have a significant scholarship advantage, but it is not QUITE as wide as people think. The larger recruiting advantage, in my mind, is the idea of “playing at the highest level” and playing a more enticing schedule.
People like to point to the Michigan game as an example of an FCS team upsetting an FBS team. But that was spectacular because Michigan was ranked in the top-5 in the country. FCS teams beat unranked FBS teams EVERY SINGLE SEASON…and it will happen this year.
No FCS team has more FBS wins than Appalachian State. A win here would make 8 total. We lead the series 19-11. It’s time to stop making excuses. Yes we’re playing at their place. Yes they get more scholarships…but you know what. We’re STILL gonna kick their ass.
Appalachian State 34 / ECU 32