Oddsmakers have Tuesday’s Coastal Carolina vs East Carolina matchup in the Birmingham Bowl set for an offensive showdown with a total of 65.5. That makes sense, as CCU has the 3X defending Sun Belt Player of the Year running their offense while the Pirates QB threw for the 15th most yards in the country.
Coastal Carolina (9-3) is a +7.5 underdog on Tuesday afternoon despite the chance for a third straight double digit win season with a victory. One huge factor in the Chanticleers getting over a TD in the Birmingham Bowl is because the architect of those successful seasons Jamey Chadwell is leaving to take the Liberty job and will not coach in this game. The public is noticing too, with 54% liking East Carolina to win this by more than a TD.
End of an Era(s) for Chanticleers
It’s been a pretty solid run for Chadwell, who has guided Coastal Carolina to a 31-6 record the last two season. The Chanticleers got the first bowl game win in program history in 2021, beating Northern Illinois 47-41 although it should be noted CCU has only been in the FBS since 2018.
Chadwell is gone, but QB Grayson McCall has decided to play in the Birmingham Bowl despite his plans to leave the program in the offseason to enter the transfer portal or even possibly entertain the NFL.
Chadwell’s success goes hand in hand with McCall’s dominance he has thrown 70 TDs to a mere 7 INTs the last three years while being named the conference Player of the Year three straight times. McCall set an FBS record last year with a 207 passer rating (73% completion, 12 yards/att, 23 TDs/3 INTs) and hasn’t been far off those numbers in 2022 (64.1/9/24/2).
QB Duel Should Be Entertaining
McCall will get a lot of hype in the Birmingham Bowl mostly because of the success he’s had the last three years and because he’s leaving the program in the offseason perhaps for a Power 5 school or to join Chadwell at Liberty. It’s very possible that Pirates QB Holton Ahlers steals this show however.
The Senior Ahlers is extremely experienced having played in 54 games over his career. He’s thrown for over 3,100 yards in three of his last four seasons and had 1,927 with 18 TDs in the shortened 8-game 2020 COVID season. This year Ahlers has set career bests in completion percentage (67.1), yards (3,408), TDS (23), and rating (148.8).
Ahlers gets to fire away at a Coastal Carolina pass defense that was one of the worst in the country (281.7 ypg) and who has also lost their best rusher Josaiah Stewart who is transferring to Michigan. East Carolina also has a 1,300 yard rusher in Keaton Mitchell who will be important to eat up the clock because the Pirates pass defense is even worse than CCU’s (299.5).
Free Coastal Carolina vs East Carolina Betting Pick
Coastal Carolina is going to be without their coach, but McCall could also run this offense in his sleep. In a game where both QBs will likely be able to move the ball at will, +7.5 points is just too much.
Free Pick: Coastal Carolina +7.5