ECU picked to finish fifth in AAC East

The Pirates received 62 points in the preseason football poll, well behind division favorite USF, which received all 30 first place votes

James Guillory—USA Today Sports
Scottie Montgomery led the Pirates to a disappointing 3-9 record in his first season as a head coach in 2016

Expectations are low for the East Carolina football team this season. But not as low as they could be. The Pirates were picked to finish fifth in the American Athletic Conference’s East Division on Tuesday, placing above UConn in the preseason poll conducted as the league’s annual media event in Newport, R.I. ECU, which is coming off a 3-9 season in Scottie Montgomery’s first season as coach, received 62 points in the balloting. UConn ended up with 42 points. Both teams placed well behind predicted division front-runner South Florida, which got all 30 first place votes. The Bulls also picked up 26 of a possible 30 votes to win the overall AAC title. Central Florida (126 points), Temple (119), Cincinnati (100) placed second through fourth in the East Division balloting. Memphis was the choice to win the West Division with 22 first place votes and 169 points. Houston (six), Navy and Tulsa (one each) also picked up first place votes while SMU and Tulane bring up the rear. The two division winners will meet in the AAC Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the home site of the division champion with the best conference record. ECU will begin the 2017 season at home against James Madison at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2 with television coverage on ESPN3. 2017 AAC PRESEASON FOOTBALL MEDIA POLLChampionshipTeam (Points)USF (26)Houston (2)Memphis (1)Navy (1)East DivisionTeam (1st Place Votes) — Points1. USF (30) — 1802. UCF — 1263. Temple — 1194. Cincinnati — 1005. ECU — 636. UConn — 42West DivisionTeam (1st Place Votes) — Points1. Memphis (22) — 1692. Houston (6) — 1373. Navy (1) — 1284. Tulsa (1) — 1025. SMU — 646. Tulane — 30(first-place votes in parentheses)