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Why TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl Is One of the Consistently Best

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Story by Pete Fiutak

Yahoo Sports

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East Carolina vs Coastal Carolina How To Watch

Date: Tuesday, December 27

Game Time: 6:45 ET

Venue: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, AL

How To Watch: ESPN

Record: East Carolina (7-5), Coastal Carolina (9-3)

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East Carolina vs Coastal Carolina TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl 5 Things To Know

– Coastal Carolina came close to having a special season, and it could still be a 10 -win campaign. It started 6-0 and then 9-1, got rocked by James Madison, and rolled in the Sun Belt Championship by Troy.

Head coach Jamey Chadwell decided he’d rather be working at Liberty, Grayson McCall entered the transfer portal, and now the program is in a holding pattern for the Tim Beck era to begin. On the plus side, McCall is still playing in this before leaving.

– East Carolina had an interesting year. It was wildly inconsistent – good enough to blowout UCF and win at BYU, and flaky enough to get destroyed by Houston and lose to Navy – but it’s still going to be a winning season. The balanced offense knows how to crank up the yards. But …

– East Carolina has been a bowl game nightmare. Since getting by Boise State in the 2007 Hawaii it lost four of the last five and went 4-9 since 1992. It was supposed to play Boston College in last year’s Military, but it got canceled thanks to COVID.

– This is just the third bowl game for Coastal Carolina, with all coming in the last three seasons under Chadwell. The Chanticleers lost a thriller of a 2020 Cure Bowl to Liberty, and last year hung on for dear life to beat Northern Illinois in the 2021 Cure.

– The 2020 Birmingham Bowl – coming at the end of the 2019 season – was a rough 36-6 Cincinnati blowout over Boston College, and the 2020 season version was canceled. Other than that, this has been one of the consistently best bowls of the season. Four of the last five were thrillers including Houston’s win over Auburn last season in the final moments.

Why East Carolina Will Win The TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

Coastal Carolina’s missing parts are more of a problem than East Carolina’s. But even at full strength, the Pirates have the style to give the Chanticleers problems.

ECU is usually dominates the turnover battle, it’s great offensively on third downs, and it’s going against a team that’s struggles on defense at getting off the field.

The Pirates haven’t turned the ball over since October 8th, going six straight games without a mistake and with eight games on the year with no turnovers. Coastal Carolina struggled over the last three games – two losses and a close call against Southern Miss – partly because it gave it up seven times.

Combined the lack of turnovers with almost no issues with penalties, and East Carolina isn’t going to beat itself.

Combine all of that with what East Carolina is about to do against a Coastal Carolina pass defense that was the worst in the Sun Belt, and it’s a nice mix. However …

Why Coastal Carolina Will Win The TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

Grayson McCall, have a day.

Assuming he’s really and truly going to still play in this – and not be off being a Florida Gator or something – he going to crank up huge numbers against a Pirate secondary that allowed a nation-worst 299 passing yards per game.

From Houston and Clayton Tune pushing for 435 yards, to Temple rolling up 527 yards and five scores in a loss, to everyone by Navy and BYU coming up with at least 200 yards, everyone got fat on the East Carolina secondary.

Even with McCall out for a few games with a foot injury, the offense still worked. One of the most efficient passing games in America should be able to fire at will, but …

East Carolina vs Coastal Carolina TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, What’s Going To Happen

It might have to be the Coastal Carolina defense that handles most of the work. The Chanticleer offense will hardly be its normal self – the offensive line is going to struggle against the East Carolina defensive front – but the D should be active enough to make an impact.

East Carolina will play with a bit more fire and energy. It’ll make up for the big plays it’ll allow down the field with steady play on offense. It might not always be about fireworks with what the Pirates will do, but they’ll be balanced and will win both the penalty and turnover battle.

East Carolina is 7-0 when scoring more than 27 points. Coastal Carolina allowed 27 points or more seven times.

East Carolina vs Coastal Carolina TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, Prediction, Line

CFN Prediction: East Carolina 37, Coastal Carolina 26

Line: East Carolina -7.5, o/u: 64

ATS Confidence out of 5: 3

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl History

Dec 28, 2021 Houston 17, Auburn 13

2020 Canceled

Jan, 2, 2020 Cincinnati 38, Boston College 6

Dec. 22, 2018 Wake Forest 37, Memphis 34

Dec. 23, 2017 USF 38, Texas Tech 34

Dec. 29, 2016 USF 46, South Carolina 39 OT

Dec. 30, 2015 Auburn 31, Memphis 10

Jan. 3, 2015 Florida 28, East Carolina 20

Jan. 4, 2014 Vanderbilt 41, Houston 24

Jan. 5, 2013 Ole Miss 38, Pitt 17

Jan. 7, 2012 SMU 28, Pitt 6

Jan. 8, 2011 Pitt 27, Kentucky 10

Jan. 2, 2010 UConn 20, South Carolina 7

Dec. 29, 2008 Rutgers 29, NC State 23

Dec. 22, 2007 Cincinnati 31, Southern Miss 21

Dec. 23, 2006 USF 24, East Carolina 7