With the Charlotte 49ers’ move to Conference USA, many fans were looking forward to the rivalry between ECU to would increase all the more with them in the same conference. As if facing them once in basketball was enough, the possibility of facing them at least twice with more than mere bragging rights on the line (as well as in other sports, especially baseball–where the Pirates, like the Niners, have enjoyed a record of success) made the mouths of fans water. That feeling would be magnified that much more in 2015, where we’d finally see how the Green and White stacked up against their team on the gridiron.
But now that won’t be the case. That’s because ECU, along with conference mate Tulane, announced their plans to ship off to the Big East beginning in 2014; Tulane in all sports and ECU in football only (for now).
Niner fans probably could care less about Tulane in the Big East, and have taken to message boards with an air of derision about the Green Wave’s plans. The Pirates, on the other hand, are a different story. Gone is the long-awaited football rivalry that would begin in 2015, the Niners’ first year in CUSA and FBS. And, if the buzz about ECU going to another conference (perhaps the CAA) in all other sports is correct, those basketball games won’t be rendered completely meaningless, but hoops fans will be disappointed as well. The good news: we’ll get at least one year to enjoy the two teams go at it in conference play. Plus, how would you like to recruit against a Big East team in your backyard, which is what Alan Major and Brad Lambert will effectively be doing?
All is not lost. There’s no reason to think that ECU won’t be a non-conference option on the football schedule down the road (and the basketball schedule if they completely bolt). We may yet get a few diamonds in the rough to come here. But in any event, it looks like the realignment train isn’t completely done rolling yet.