GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — East Carolina wants to leave Conference USA with a title.
The Pirates enter their final season in the league they've called home since 1997 as a favorite to claim a third title in six years.
East Carolina and Tulane are leaving C-USA for the American Athletic Conference beginning next season.
Coach Ruffin McNeill says he welcomes the high expectations that come with being picked by his fellow C-USA coaches as the favorite in the East Division.
He says the Pirates "have a target on our back and will get everybody's best shot."
With a strong core of returning players — 16 starters are back, including quarterback Shane Carden and running back Vintavious Cooper — East Carolina has plenty of reasons for optimism.