Many times coaches from bigger programs try to win the psyche-out battle by playing up the smaller program’s teams. UNC coach Larry Fedora doesn’t have to do that after East Carolina, 12 point underdogs, hammered the Tar Heels 55-21 last season. This time many oddsmakers have ECU, playing in Greenville, slightly favored over UNC (generally two or three points).
East Carolina has been the team with the inferiority complex and perhaps a certain amount of jealousy that North Carolina gets more attention being in the ACC and having a large fan base, despite the Pirates having arguably better teams.
Let’s face it, East Carolina fans rather beat North Carolina than another other team in the country with the possible exception of NC State. North Carolina fans don’t value the game as much but perhaps after the embarrassment last season, the Tar Heel players will. We know the ECU players and fans will be as fired up as if they were the underdogs.
“I don’t think our guys have to be convinced that it’s going to be intense. I think they understand that,” Fedora said. “I think we’re the underdogs going into this game from my understanding, from what I hear about everything.”
And the Pirates have the home field edge. “We’re going to go into a place that’s going to be a sold out, hostile crowd,” he said. “I’ve never really thought about any team that you play, their fans really liking you, so it’s kind of the same way every time, and so they may be a little more rabid than somewhere else.”
He said it will be an environment that should be a lot of fun to play in. Not if you get beat 55-21 again coach.