Battle of the Carolinas: Birmingham Bowl Game Preview
There are ten Division 1 college football teams in North Carolina. Two of them will be facing off for the first time at Protective Stadium in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama.
The game is on December 27, 2022, between the East Carolina Pirates and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The Chanticleers are favored by 7.5 points. The game total is 62.5.
East Carolina: Seeking A Return to Bowl Glory
The East Carolina Pirates are trying to end their losing ways in bowl games. It’s been nine years since they won a bowl game. The East Carolina Pirates are coached by Mike Houston. Houston previously coached at James Madison, where he won a national championship at the Football Championship Subdivision level.
This is the first season that the Pirates have been above .500 in the American Athletic Conference since 2014. The Pirates started off the season by losing a close game to top-25-ranked North Carolina State. The best wins of their season were their wins against UCF in Greenville, and their road win against BYU the following week.
Coastal Carolina: End of an Era
Coastal Carolina has had a packed history in their short time in existence. Coastal Carolina University didn’t have a football program until 2003. The Chanticleers joined the FBS level of college football in 2017 by becoming a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
The program began making noise in the pandemic-tinged season of 2020, when head coach Jamey Chadwell led Coastal Carolina to its first win against a ranked team. During the season, they were ranked as high as #11 in the country, due to some unexpected match-ups that were a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jamey Chadwell recently made the decision to leave Coastal Carolina. Chadwell is taking the job at Liberty, Coastal Carolina’s regional and former FCS-level rival. Tim Beck, the offensive coordinator of North Carolina State, will be taking over in 2023.
In addition to changes on the sideline, Coastal Carolina will also undergo change under center. Starting quarterback, Grayson McCall announced his intention to enter the transfer portal after Chadwell’s intentions became clear. Oddly, he’s coming back for 1 last game with the Chanticleers.
During the season, Grayson McCall had a 69% completion rate, and threw 24 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He will have plenty of interest in the transfer portal, and this is a showcase game for him.
I think this will be a Birmingham Bowl shootout between teams that are more than capable of putting multiple touchdowns on the board.
East Carolina moneyline and the over is the way to go for me. If McCall is going to play “one last game” the game will become about offensive execution, and who gets the ball last.