Week 8 – East Carolina at UAB

Posted Oct 19, 2012

Week 8 Fearless Prediction – East Carolina at UAB.

East Carolina (4-3) at UAB (1-5) Oct. 20, 7:00, FCS

Here's The Deal: Up-and-down East Carolina remained in the hunt for a postseason game with last week's comfortable victory over Memphis in Greenville. The Pirates have alternated a loss with a win every weekend this season, a trend they're hoping to snap this Saturday in Birmingham. Winners of the last five in this series, ECU is also bucking to remain a viable contender in the muddled East Division picture of Conference USA. Youth, a new coaching staff and a brutal schedule felled UAB during the first half of the year. The Blazers are coming off another humbling defeat, 39-17 to Houston, and can point to Southeastern Louisiana of the FCS as their only victim of 2012.

Why East Carolina Might Win: While there have been exceptions in the fall, the Pirates are a team that has taken its lead from the defense for a change. Already one-dimensional on offense, UAB will have no choice but to air it out against an ECU front that closes lanes quickly with Jeremy Grove and Kyle Tudor. The Pirates also figure to have success rattling a gimpy Blazers O-line that ranks 119th nationally in sacks allowed.

Why UAB Might Win: If a Conference USA opponent is going to beat the East Carolina D, it might have to come through the air, where the team has holes. The Blazers continue to like the potential of redshirt freshman QB Austin Brown, who has shown flashes over the last month. He'll look to get athletic receivers Nick Adams, Jackie Williams and Jamarcus Nelson in a position where they can make plays and occasionally get behind the secondary.

What To Watch Out For: Coming off last week's performance, East Carolina hopes it's found a quarterback for the future. No, Shane Carden doesn't have eye-popping physical ability, but the sophomore did throw five touchdown passes without a pick last week. He's accurate on the intermediate throws, and is developing improved chemistry with top receivers Justin Hardy and Justin Jones.

What Will Happen: East Carolina's see-saw season will generate a winning streak for the first time, courtesy of a narrow road victory at Legion Field. Carden has renewed confidence to go along with a pair of quality pass-catchers, and the Pirates defense is quietly the best since Ruffin McNeil inherited the program from Skip Holtz. It'll be close throughout, but ECU will have the better mix of offensive talent to escape Birmingham and pull to within a victory of bowl eligibility.

CFN Prediction: East Carolina 28 … UAB 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) East Carolina -3 O/U: 54
Must Watch Rating (5 – Seven Psychopaths, 1 – Here Comes the Boom): 1