The kickoff time for East Carolina's season-opening non-conference contest against Virginia Tech, scheduled for August 30 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, has been set for 12 noon (EDT) to accommodate a live ESPN national television broadcast according to an announcement from the network Friday.
The Pirates will open Skip Holtz' fourth season at the helm of the East Carolina program by playing the second contest of an active nine-game agreement that will continue a series with the Hokies that began in 1956. The meeting against Virginia Tech, which wrapped up the 2007 season with a No. 9 national rank and an appearance in the Fedex Orange Bowl, will mark the second consecutive year the two programs have met after a 17-7 Hokie triumph last September. In all, ECU won four of the first seven matchups before Virginia Tech rolled off six straight.
East Carolina posted an 8-5 overall record last year, which marked the Pirates' highest win total since an 8-4 ledger in 2000. In addition, ECU captured its first bowl victory in seven seasons when it handed No. 22 Boise State a 41-38 setback in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. The Pirates closed the season by winning seven of its last nine and four of its last five games while finishing league play with a 6-2 record to earn a second-place standing in C-USA's East Division.
The national telecast will be the fourth for East Carolina in its last 14 games on an ESPN entity, dating back to regular season matchups against the Hokies and West Virginia, and the Pirates' bowl clash against the Broncos last December. In addition to the opener, ECU's home battle against the Mountaineers (Sept. 6) and road date at UCF (Nov. 2) are other contests in 2008 scheduled for national broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2.