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College Football Preview: East Carolina at Tulane

Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS ó When East Carolina coach Skip Holtz reflects on his team’s upsets over Virginia Tech and West Virginia, he sees every reason why his 14th-ranked Pirates ought to take Tulane seriously.
“The last two teams we played both had a ranking next to their name and we did not, and here we are 2-0,” Holtz said. “We just have to make sure that we don’t let the circus atmosphere around a winning program interrupt what we’re trying to build right now.”
Holtz won’t deny that his program appreciates all the attention that has come with being ranked for the first time since 1999. Yet he also worries about how fast his team could plummet out of the rankings with a loss to Tulane (0-1) today in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
The Green Wave won only four games last season, ending with a 35-12 loss at East Carolina. But Tulane didn’t exactly look like a pushover last weekend at No. 11 Alabama.
The Crimson Tide won the game 20-6, but scored only one offensive touchdown. One of Alabama’s scores came on a blocked punt and another on a punt return.
Tulane threatened to score four times, but the Wave missed two field goals. The game was even closer than the score indicated, which Holtz saw on film this week.
“I know people are going to look at it and say that last year they only won four games and that this is a team which has been on the lower side of the conference when you look at it over the last five to 10 years,” Holtz said. “This is a football team that … walked into Alabama, a team which absolutely dismantled Clemson on national television a week (earlier), and only gave up 172 yards.”

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