ECU Pirates motivated by preseason prediction

From East Carolina's surprising season to Central Michigan's big game, the non-BCS and independents are covered here.

Updated: November 9, 2006, 7:27 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to ESPN.com
James Pinkney burns inside when recalling the July day when Conference USA announced its preseason football poll.

Like many of his East Carolina teammates, Pinkney perused the poll to see where the league's coaches had slotted the Pirates. He scanned and scanned, all the way to the bottom of the page.

Last. That's where East Carolina was projected to finish in Conference USA's East Division. Dead last.