Hello. Welcome to the third installment of "Foe"Rensics. It seems there was a decided preference for incorporating some actual real facts into this, so I'm going to stick with it and see how it goes. As always, there may be places where I've stretched the truth a bit. This week, we're traveling to the pirate infested waters of Greenville1, NC, home of East Carolina.
1. Western Carolina is not as good at football as Alabama, huh?
A. No, they are not. From a statistical perspective, their defense accounted for 1/3 of their catches which, yay Bud! but not-so-yay for our offensive prospects.
2. So, East Carolina's up next, huh? They seem to be pretty sissy pirates if they wear purple.
A. In an interesting quirk, East Carolina was actually founded by pirates. Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, had become quite distressed towards the end of his illustrious career at the caliber of pirates that the Americas were turning out. Fearing a "Plunder Gap" was developing between the US and the British and French, he set out to establish a school devoted to the finer arts of pillaging. He founded that institution just up the Tobacco River from his lair on the Outer Banks and served as the first dean before being tragically beheaded in a boating accident2.
In Teach's honor, the East Carolina football team was initially known as the Teachers (It's so much better when I don't even make it up). When they realized that people didn't really get the 'Blackbeard' origins of the mascot, they decided to be a little more blunt.
Today, ECU still has a small but vibrant department dedicated to the noble art of high seas robbery. Their program is internationally renowned and, in fact, draws many of it's students from abroad, particularly East Africa. Interestingly, the UN is considering sanctions on the NCAA for recognizing East Carolina's athletics programs in spite of ECU's flagrant flouting of International Maritime Law.
3. Gee, that's great! I love sailing!
A. Indeed. Also, as it seems your tastes run to the finer things in life, the next time you enjoy a scrumptious meal at Golden Corral followed by some Monday Night Raw, you have ECU alumni James Maynard and Vince (AND LINDA!) McMahon to thank for those American cultural treasures.
4. Okay, what's the skinny on ECU?
A. Well, at 2-0, they are the first team we play this year that enters our game with a win (THANKS for the schedule help, Bama). Aside from a STRONG out of conference schedule (also known as ALL ACC TEAMS with a side of ODU) they have a decent shot to rebound from a so-so year in 2012 to make a play for the Conference USA Eastern Division title. I would venture to say they have a slightly different philosophy to winning football games than Bud and Frank. They seem to be more of the mindset of Let's Try to Break the Scoreboard With Points On Points On Points vice smothering your opponent to death. To put their overall program in perspective, though, they have spent YEARS pining to get into the Big East, the conference everyone else has been trying to get out of. Now that the Big East has collapsed into the AAC (which is, sorry, a pretty blatant attempt to be right ahead of the ACC alphabetically) they have finally gotten their wish.
5. Well, that's sort of sad. Who's their coach?
A. Currently, Ruffin McNeill, who you may recall filled in for Mike Leach at Texas Tech after Craig James attempted to implicate Leach into the ongoing investigation into James' quintuple hooker homicide. Ruffin continues a strong ECU tradition of cool coach names, following predecessor Skip Holtz and John Thompson, who despite his historic success at Georgetown, only won three games in two years at ECU.
Ruffin is an ECU alum, though AGAIN, we are dealing with someone who attended Clemson without playing football there. I'm not going through that Frogurt bullshit again.
6. Do they allow the pirating students to play football?
A. Ever since an unfortunate peg-leg-through-the-facemask incident, no. Plus, wearing eye patches really screws with your depth perception, which is detrimental to the passing game.
7. Any players with cool names?
A. As it so happens, they have a guy with the last name of Mayo-Tapp, who will probably play if he's not being eaten by Tommy Boy. Also, they have a Montese, Maurice, Marquise, Marquez, and Marquis, which has GOT to be confusing for Coach Ruff. I imagine a film room scene like this:
Coach Ruff: Okay, Marquez, this is where you have to pick up the slot receiver.
Maurice: Uh, Coach, I'm Maurice.
Coach Ruff: Dammit. Marquez!
Marquez: Here, Coach! But I'm a running back. Do you maybe mean Marquis?
Coach Ruff: Oh. Okay, Marquise!
Marquise: Coach, he said Marquis.
Coach Ruff: GODDAMMIT. MARQUIS!
Marquis: Right here, Coach. But I play offensive line, so unless you want me to pick up the slot receiver and eat him, wrong dude.
Coach Ruff: DOES ANYONE HERE WITH A TWO SYLLABLE NAME STARTING WITH M PLAY DEFENSE FOR ME?
Montese: I do, Coach! But I go by Caleb.
8. Shit, not more Calebs.
9. Do they have any Fullers?
A. Once again, we are dealing with a Fuller-less team, which makes me really question why Vegas set the line at only -7.
10. Do they have any good rivalries?
A. Well, according to Wikipedia, their biggest rival is North Carolina State. NC State officials, when reached for comment, assumed I meant North Carolina, and laughed at me when I insisted I was calling about ECU. HOWEVER, apparently the 'rivalry' must be real as it has a trophy, known as the Victory Barrel.
11. That's...that's pretty sad.
A. Oh, it gets better. If you scroll a little further down the Wikipedia page, their next 'rival' is North Carolina, who they've played 7 times in the last 21 years. After that is Southern Miss, just because ECU has played them more than anyone else in the last 35 years. This frequency is attributable to an unfortunate condition known as "Stuck in Conference USA Since About the Same Time".
A. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Scroll JUST a bit further and the last team outlined in this section is none other than your Virginia Tech Hokies! Which is both very funny and, because we'll play them roughly 2,342 more times before we play Florida State again, very sad.
13. Okay, I'm having trouble taking them seriously at this point.
A. Yup. But, now that they are joining the AAC (#goaac) I'm sure they will develop a feisty rivalry with Villanova, which will lend an air of credibility to the program. In a somewhat redeeming move, their players take the field to Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix (a much stronger color based choice than this). If we didn't already have Enter Sandman, I would TOTALLY love to see our players come out to Jimi's Foxy Lady.
Some of Jimi's later stuff was weird.
14. Wow, rock on. So, I've never been to Greenville before. Where should I eat?
A. Me neither! But the internet has allowed me to become just as effective a tour guide as any Greenvillager3. According to Trip Advisor, the best place to eat in Greenville, NC is Kasturi Indian Cuisine, because, of course, small town in Tidewater North Carolina? EXCELS AT INDIAN FOOD. For more insight into their high quality cuisine, a review from Trip Advisor:
"I loved the food. I disliked the fact that I didnt understand the Indian words."
I know, right?! That is just the WORST part about eating international cuisine, they expect you to learn their goddamn language to order the food. I mean, just call things by their American name. If they don't have one, just call it something we're familiar with so we're not pushed out of our comfort zone. Like, the hell is Chana Masala? Just call it a Hot Dog, or something. I like those and I will probably like Chana Masala if I think it's a hot dog.
15. Jeez, maybe they should drop the Pirating Department and add an Indian Language Department. Any other food recommendations?
A. It just so happens that some of our faithful readers offered recommendations last week (under threat of bodily harm if I didn't include them). Quick related story; a couple of years ago I went to my wife's family reunion in New Jersey because, classy. While I was chasing my 2 year old near a fish pond, a older gentleman came up to offer some advice on kid friendly tourist attractions near by. We got to talking and it turned out he was from North Carolina, a couple hours north of my parents (who live in Wilmington). Since I have been unable to locate good barbecue in Wilmington4, I asked him for recommendations. He told me B's Barbecue in Greenville was worth the drive, and if I went, I was to call him so he could take me (this man, who I had met 20 minutes earlier, was dead serious). I have not yet made the trip, but B's is on my bucket list5, and I think you all should check it out as well.
16. Back to the Hokies. LOGAN THOMAS COUNTDOWN TO FIVE INTERCEPTIONS:
A. Apparently Logan wants to get all of his interceptions out of the way early, which is smart. Throwing them during conference play is bad. He currently stands at three interceptions for the year, This means he still has 10 (or 11, or 12) games to throw his remaining two.
17. Final thoughtswhat should we watch for in the game?
A. Assuming Lady Sybil doesn't show up to distract everyone, I will be watching to see:
- If Bonner and Facyson will share some INTs with Kyle and Kendall this week.
- If this level of defensive rage is sustainable for the entire out of conference schedule.
- If my deeply held wish that some ECU students wear parrots on their shoulders to games comes true.
- What will happen more, our WRs dropping passes or the commentators talking about dropped passes.
- If Logan is allowed to run the ball again.
Thanks for joining us and for your informed and inquisitive questions. Next week we'll head into the hills of West Virginia to explore Marshall (instead of WVU, unfortunately).
1This is apparently COMPLETELY different from Greensboro for you geographically challenged folks out there. Which I'm totally not.
2As a general rule, you should not attack two British warships simultaneously.
3Confusingly, there is also a Greenville in SOUTH Carolina, and if you are going there, word on the street is Pita House is pretty good, which I now realize I have no good reason to know.
4Barbecue in Wilmington, NC is so bad my aunt recommends people eat at Smithfields if they are going out to eat barbecue, which is like the McDonalds of barbecue. Do not get me started on the boiled ribs I have been served at "barbecue" restaurants in Wilmington.