Projected 2017 record and S&P+ ranking: 4-8 (100th)
Biggest strength: The passing game. The receiving corps just lost a 150-catch wideout but appears far more balanced and deep this year, and ECU just added a high-caliber QB transfer to test returnee Gardner Minshew.
Biggest question mark: In theory, the massive amount of injury that the defense dealt with last year should create depth and experience in 2017. But … is there actual talent here?
Biggest 2017 game: The USF game (Sept. 29) is the AAC opener for a team that lost seven AAC games by double digits last year and has a point to prove. Sounds pretty big.
Summary: Critics of ECU’s firing of Ruffin McNeill found plenty of affirmation when new coach Scottie Montgomery oversaw a total first-year collapse. But the Pirates were so banged up that they never had a chance. Can a deeper, more experienced ECU squad prove that Montgomery has the upside to justify the move?