What 8-0 Marshall Means to Major College Football

By Amy Daughters -

Marshall is undefeated through eight games, just four wins away from scoring its first perfect run since going 13-0 in 1999.

That was the same year the Thundering Herd won the MAC title, beat BYU 21-3 in the Motor City Bowl and were ranked No. 10 in the final AP poll.

Included in the run was a 13-10 win at Clemson in the opener.

Though these were all high-marks for Marshall, a conference crown and a decent bowl game was the best it could get for its undefeated record back in 1999.

Compare this with Wisconsin, who that same year lost early back-to-back games to unranked Cincinnati and No. 4 Michigan, finishing the regular season 9-2. That didn’t stop the Badgers from winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl, where they knocked off No. 22 Stanford 17-9.

At 10-2, Wisconsin finished ranked No. 4, six spots better than 13-0 Marshall.

Though lots have changed in college football in the 15 years since the 1999 season, one thing hasn’t: If your team doesn’t play in a power conference, you won’t play for a national title.

No matter how good you are.

Even though the BCS and new College Football Playoff scheme were both supposed to right the wrongs inherent to a sport with 120-plus teams competing for a single title, both have fallen short.

That is, if we’re ever going to take a team from the American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West or Sun Belt seriously.

That is, if we’re ever going to stop acting like Arkansas and Arkansas State—both full-fledged FBS members—are playing for the same prize.

What’s wrong with 8-0 Marshall being completely left out of the College Football Playoff rankings?

I mean, come on, the Thundering Herd got the coveted No. 23 nod from the AP, and if they don’t lose, they may even get a chance to square off with Rutgers in the highly-fantastic Heart of Dallas Bowl.

The case of Marshall, whether they go undefeated or not, highlights a blaring inequity in big-time college football.

It’s simple: Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday could never get up in front of his team and in good faith say, “Boys, if we win every single one of our 12 regular-season games and then beat the winner of the Conference USA West division, then we’ll play for a national championship.”

No, instead he, along with the other 59 coaches of non-power teams, will have to dumb that message down to, “Boys, if we win every game, including the conference championship, we may get to play in the Cotton Bowl Stadium, but not in the actual Cotton Bowl.”

Do wins over Miami (Ohio), FCS Rhode Island, Ohio (not State), Akron, Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee, FIU, FAU, Southern Miss, Rice, UAB and Western Kentucky mean that Marshall should play Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, with the winner going on the national title game?


Because comparing Marshall to Florida State is like comparing apples to oranges, or apples to raisins.

Not because the Thundering Herd don’t field a championship-level football team, but because you’re comparing a mid-size company to a huge conglomerate.

According to USA Today’s athletic finances database, Florida State banks a cool $91.4 million in revenue each year, while Marshall claims a paltry $27.6 million in revenue.

That means the Seminoles have access to three times more cash than the Thundering Herd.

And where Florida State averaged 75,421 in home ticket sales last season at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, the Thundering Herd averaged 25,153 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington.

This makes Marshall’s No. 61 average rank in recruiting from 2011-14 understandable and it underscores how Florida State got to an average of No. 5 over the same time period.

What it all comes down to is that the FBS operates like one big happy family, where every member program is treated equally, when in fact, there are two distinct levels existing under the guise of equal opportunity.

The message that 12-0 Marshall, or 12-0 Houston, or 12-0 Northern Illinois sends isn’t “the College Football Playoff has it all wrong!” but instead, it’s something more like, “the FBS has it all wrong!”

No perfect college team, in any sport, should be barred from playing for a national title because they have fewer resources or because they are smaller.

This is why programs move from one division to the next. And this why the FBS needs to be split into two separate divisions, operating independently from one another, providing each member school the opportunity to play for a true national title.

Marshall deserves to play for such a prize, and Doc Holliday deserves to advertise such an opportunity to the athletes he signs to represent the Thundering Herd football program.

Comments (62)

While it’s not completely fair overall, I think you should have made more of a point that the top non-power conference team gets to play in a “BCS” bowl. So no, Marshall wont end up in the Heart of Dallas bowl if they go 12-0, they will end up in one of the biggest bowl games, guaranteed. Not completely fair, but its better than what your making it out to be. Not to mention how much money they and every other team in the MAC, Sun Belt, MWC, AAC, and CUSA is making from the CFP even if they never will play in it

Yes the Group of 5 highest rated champion plays for the one big bowl game spot every year. All 5 conferences knew this when they agreed to the CFP and signed on. All ten conference signed on. So they knew it was to play in the big bowl game. That one game is better than anything that the non-AQ conferences had a “real chance” to play for under the BCS. Yes the group of 5 may never play for a national championship but the exposure from the New Years day bowl game is huge and the money it brings is huge. There is always a shot for the Group of 5 schools to make the CFP top 25. Take ULM for example. There OOC schedule included 4 games against Power 5 schools (Wake Forest, Kentucky, LSU, and Texas A&M). They won one game (Wake). If they would have won all 4 then they would be in the CFP top 25 ranking. Still wouldn’t be in the top 10 due to Texas A&M, Kentucky and LSU all being either unranked or lower ranked but ULM had it’s chance. Got to win. The Power 5 are still scheduling the Go5 schools and will continue to. Just have to win the games.

You can thank the aCc for all this power b.s. If money is power, I guess they are in one of those so-called conferences. But they certainly don’t have many good teams in the acC football power-wise…….

I really don’t have a ton of sympathy for a team that didn’t – for whatever reason – schedule an OOC team with a pulse this season. A lot of teams across the nation could go 12-0 if they played MAC & C-USA teams every week.

Dan-This schedule as with all college schedules was made a couple years ago. Louisville of the ACC was supposed to come play at Marshall but they asked to push the game back 2 years due to their league change. Not a ton of P5 teams asking to come play at Marshall. They had to get another game last minute thus the 1AA team.

I’m not trying to be a jerk. At a certain level, you can only play the teams on your schedule… that being said, you shouldn’t cry foul and say it’s so unfair when you never played a single power 5 conference team – even a Wake Forest or an Arkansas this season. I’m sorry – I’m not picking on anyone in a non p5 school. I grew up rooting for Tulsa. But they make a concerted effort to play Oklahoma or Oklahoma State or Ohio State or Texas every season. So if the miracle does happen – they can point it out and say – hey guys we went 12-0 and beat this legit Big XII team. Marshall can’t do that. And we won’t know how they would have performed had they played a legit p5 team this year. I’m not being a jerk – I’m only stating facts. They haven’t played a single good team this year.

That is exactly correct Dan! I don’t understand why some writers think that just because a team is 8-0 or 12-0 that they should, for some reason, be considered on the same level as the best college teams in the country? Schedule is everything! High School or College, it is all the same, it is all about how good your opponents are! It is so simple and so logical. The same thing happened with Boise State a few years ago.. They sneak up on one major school early in the season and then played patsies the rest of the season and they thought they should be ranked in the top 10- it’s bunk!

Ar shall had a home game with Louisville schedule and they pushed it back to 2016, can’t help that. Plus, it’s hard to get teams to play a good mid major.

Well, technically Marshall is 9-0 after beating Southern Miss 63-17 spoiling their homecoming. Now this may just seem like a normal blowout of an inferior team, but there’s something you gotta realize…everybody talks about how MU’s schedule is the weakest in the nation and how they’re gonna blow everybody out and go 12-0. You have any idea what kinda motivation that is for EVERY team on MU’s schedule this year? They’ve been getting everybody’s best shot all year. They ALL wanna be the one to knock MU off. USM tried 2 onside kicks IN THE FIRST QUARTER! MU was down 14-0 and didn’t even get the ball until 5:00 to go in the 1st and answered 63-3. I would understand this argument if these games were even close, but they are not. Rakeem Cato has been re-writing national record books (Russell Wilson’s consecutive games with a TD pass streak) as well as MU records held by the likes of Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich. They have one of the top rb’s in the nation (Devon Johnson) averaging 150 yards a game and he didn’t even play tonight. MU still ran for over 300 yards. Last season they went 10-4 and beat Maryland in the Military Bowl. Marshall didn’t select their opponents this year. They’ve simply been the most balanced offense in the nation averaging over 45 points a game. Winning by an average of 30 points a game. The defense is allowing 16 points a game. They haven’t scored less than 35 all year. C’mon…Colorado State? Boise State? Colorado State hasn’t been relevant for years and Boise, everybody’s favorite Mid-Major, just gave up 400 yards rushing to New Mexico (3-7) in the first half! And i’ll close with this little tid-bit… MU also beat the Akron Zips who beat the Pitt Panthers who beat Va Tech who beat Ohio State who just beat Michigan State. Strength of what? I think it’s time to grade these teams the right way. Not strength of schedule, but strength of TEAM.

Colorado St beat Boston College in Boston and Colorado on a neutral field. They lost to one of the best Group of 5 teams, Boise St–who appeared in and won multiple big time bowls in the BCS era, in week 2. Colorado St had Boise St, Utah St, Nevada, and Air Force on their schedule all of whom will be bowling and 2 of which also defeated Power 5 opponents. Colorado St is a legitimate football team.

Doesn’t matter who you play, if you go undefeated, you should have a chance, especially in the new Playoff form. How will we know how good this team is if they don’t get a shot. Boise St was there at one point, and when given the chance they made it exciting and showing it doesn’t matter who you play, who you play doesn’t dictate how good you are. If Marshall had Michigan on there schedule, still wouldn’t matter because Michigan is down this year. If Marshall goes undefeated and is left out of the playoffs, why have the playoffs? So big schools that had a hiccup gets a second chance, how bout the little guys get a first chance. At least Marshall is killing there opponents week in, week out. Even then, shouldn’t matter, if you go undefeated, you should have a chance over a 1 loss team, ya there are tougher conferences, but all in the same league, if they cant represent their conference when they are undefeated, then move them down a league. If they make it to the top 4 playoffs and get killed, so what. Make teams play a power conference team every year then if the lack of quality opponents. I want to see the little guy get the shots when the opportunity presents itself, or just make another league without the power conferences. Somethings gotta give

If they played an SEC and an ACC team that were solid and beat them both – then yes, I’d be more inclined to follow your logic that they are getting “shut out” of a title shot. But they don’t even play in the MWC or American – it’s watered down C-USA. The kids that get recruited by the MAC/Sun Belt/C-USA schools know going in it’s going to be an icy day in hell for them to play for a National Championship. If they won a few games against the big boys and went undefeated, they would be deserving of a conversation about including them in the CFB playoff – but they didn’t. Wins against Rhode Island, FIU, FAU, Ohio & Akron don’t scream legit title contender to me.

This is how I feel about it. A team that goes undefeated in their conference, is no different than any other team in any other conference, going undefeated. This is from the point of view of the team. The eyes of the team, the OOC games is the only difference between the them and the OOC teams. This undefeated team might continue their streak in the playoffs, if giving a chance. I rather put an undefeated team in the playoffs than another team, since the other team already have a loss. Anytime a team loses, there is a chance that they don’t make the playoffs or the National Championship Game. No one should have to tell an undefeated team that their perfect season is going to end without a National Championship Trophy, something that shows that a team is the best team of the season.

Look at Notre Dame in the 2012-13 season! They get to choose who they want to play, with no conference restrictions to anyone. They went 12-0 and got into the title, just to get their butt back to them by Alabama (12-1). Now, if Notre Dame didn’t go to the BCS National Championship Game, because they wasn’t part of a conference that year (or maybe cause they didn’t play a SEC team), people would have gone crazy about it.

Now, we need a 6-team playoffs in the 2009-2010 season when Alabama, Texas, TCU, Boise State, Cincinnati, and Florida was undefeated at the end of the regular season. Alabama got a shot at the title after beating undefeated Florida, and Texas beat Nebraska; but what happened to the other 3 undefeated schools? They had to settle for major bowl games. Luckily, TCU .vs. Boise State was a battle of the undefeated teams, but Boise State had to finish their perfect season with no shot at the National Title. Sadly, the following season, TCU felt the same fate as Boise State 2009-10 team, TCU finished their perfect 2010-2011 season with no shot at the National Title.

Now, the BCS wanted to wait until after the 100th Rose Bowl to change up the system and create a 4-team playoff system (after seeing that there was a case that needed a 6-team playoff system). Well, the FBS is now in the situation where they going to leave up to the 13 voters on who gets in and ranked, yet there is no rule on if a team is undefeated, they should at least be ranked. Now, I have created my own polls and have the team ranked in the 20s, with a chance they will move up after winning more games, and their defeated opponents wins more games as well.

I honestly think that teams should be ranked, based on how many games they have won, and how many games their defeated opponents have won as well; with a twist of multipliers that’s based on the teams winning percentage and defeated opponents’ conference or “SUBDIVISION: FCS, Power 5, Group of 5”.

If an undefeated team is in the FBS, treat them like any other undefeated team in the FBS.

I’d like to see a modified system:

16 teams. 8 teams get automatic bids. 8 teams are at-large bids.

The selection committee would pick the 8 at large teams.

Of the 8 teams that get automatic bids, 5 would be from the Power 5 three would be from the non-power five.

The three from the non power five would be determined by three play in games matching the five non power five champions and one wild card team from those same conferences. The matchups would be determined by the selection committee.

The three that got in would join the other 5.

Not really sure why Marshall would need to play a “solid Power 5” team when many of the Power 5 teams are playing teams weaker than Group of 5 teams. Where are teams such as Miami, Maryland, Flordia Gators, Arkansas and Tennessee ranked? All conferences have teams which are weaker than others. Just saying. If you are a Power 5 team and you beat a weak Power 5 team does this mean you are stronger than a strong Group of 5 team beating a weaker Group of 5 team. Maybe….Maybe not.

Do not forget that Tulane went undefeated in 1998, the first season of the FBS, and was not even considered for the championship game. They routed BYU in the Liberty Bowl and wound up ranked #7 in the Coaches Poll and the AP while getting ignored by all the media.
The Entitled Five concept is archaic. The only way the Entitled Five should continue is with rotation in for high achievers from the so called Other Five and rotation out for non contributors like Wake Forest, Purdue, Rutgers,Iowa State, Vanderbilt….

Sorry, it’s a buyer’s market, and the buyers are the fans. Ask your average college football fan if they want to bump Auburn or Oregon out of this year’s playoff to watch— Marshall. Bet I know what the answer is. Is it fair- no, it’s business. We are almost, if not past, the point where we need to create another division for the AAC, CUSA, Mountain West, SunBelt, and MAC to compete in.

Very true…. That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Boise State getting the nod into a new year bowl over Marshall. Its all about the $$$. Hate them or love them, Boise St garners a lot of attention every time they take the main stage.

I agree, if a team or set of teams honestly has no chance of winning a national championship within their division, then the division should be split.

Money makes the world go round. Non-conference teams buy their way into CFB, by way of recruiting and crowd attendance. It says alot about a school that brings the “whole package” concept, but Marshall is the Mouse That Roared this season. Lucky breaks and wins against high schools make their undefeated record stand out. The harsh truth is, they only have one leg of the stool…meaning, a National title bid requires a powerhouse that brings top-notch players, top-notch coaches, and programs that will survive long-term. Proving yourself on the field versus players representative of the country’s best allows an empire to take its place where it belongs.

I’m not sure I agree that a BYU or East Carolina went 12-0/13-0 against their schedules, they would not have ended up in the playoff.

Have any of the math dudes who provide rankings formerly in the BCS done any projections? (not a rhetorical question, I’m not sure of the answer)

Bottom line on Marshall’s schedule. Louisville game was moved, WVU dropped them despite in state pressure to maintain the series. (By the way, instead of Marshall, the Mountaineers played something called Towson University this year) and a number of other so called P5 programs won’t schedule one and ones with the Herd. Marshall, rightfully so won’t go play a “money” game with no possibility of a return match that the school’s fans deserve.

It is what it is. But one thing is for certain, no matter what the sport, no matter the level going undefeated is hard and when a team accomplishes that feat it deserves to be rewarded.

Look at Ga Tech. Look at their wins and losses. Can you honestly say they are better than Marshall? I have had the pleasure of seeing both play and I can honestly say Marshall would beat them by 2-3 TD’s 90% of the time. Yeah, Marshall’s schedule is light but schedules are made 3-5 years in advance. With conference shuffling and UL’s move to the ACC last year, Marshall was left to scramble and this is what they got.
They are a very solid club that could beat many P5 teams.

It’s all about money and the P5 is basically an NFL Lite these days. They have ruined college football. Next up – paying players and it goes to the highest bidder. ESPN and the media feed off of this and downplay the smaller schools.

When you fluff your schedule, you look like a winner. Personally, I have never lost a UFC fight. Nor have I ever lost a NASCAR race, nor lost a Superbowl.

Sure their schedule is weak but they’re 8-0, they’ve won every game by 15+ points, and their average MOV is 29.4 ppg and it could be 40, the backups have been in for most of the fourth quarter almost every game and given up several late TDs. I’m not saying they should be in the playoff but they should at least be in the CFP Top 25, at this point ESPN’s bowl projections have a 2 loss Boise State getting the G5 bowl spot over undefeated Marshall who they have playing a MAC team in the Bahamas bowl.

Look at the team, not the schedule. It’s a team that has handled the competition very easily often resting starters the last quarter. They are balanced, motivated and intelligently coached. I think my beloved Herd may have a problem against the size of an elite team, but that’s why you play the games. I would think a fan of CFB would want to see what happens for themselves. The front end of our schedule was designed to look like: Miami O on the road, a traditional rival that would serve as a tune-up game, Louisville (moved for understandable reasons at the Cardinal’s request), Akron on the road, a team that handily beat Pitt, and Ohio U, a traditional rival and generally a contender for their conference championship. Maybe it’s not murderer’s row, but it is a logical OOC conference schedule.


Why create another FCS/I-AA?

Didn’t we already do that?

Were we satisfied then?


As sympathetic as she wants to come off, the writer just doesn’t get it. We are not incapable of playing con5 programs. We can stay on the field with Florida State as well or better than many ACC teams. Give us time and we’ll grow the program and we’ll do more than stay on the field… give us time and progress like we’ve shown over the last 20 years, and you’re going to be amazed at what we can do.

What we want isn’t just to have another go at I-AA…

There are enough teams to have 8 16-team conference. Conference champions could play in an 8 team play off. The runner ups in bowl games. Thus making cfb more meaningful and it makes complete sense.

This is an interesting suggestion but how would that work exactly? Who goes where? Not to mention how would convince the power conferences and the NCAA of this move?

There have been teams (then) outside of the power conferences in recent years that would have been worthy of inclusion in a playoff (Boise, TCU, Utah). Marshall isn’t there. If you play in CUSA, you know you won’t get any ‘good’ wins in conference, so you need to schedule a couple good game OOC. That doesn’t just mean one game against Indiana, Vandy, or Colorado. Schedule a couple teams in the middle or top of their P5 conference, because your Michigan victory might not be worth as much as you thought when you scheduled it. Yes, the P5 teams schedule cupcakes OOC and have some weak teams in conference, but their conference schedule guarantees them a couple top opponents also.

I’d rather see The Committee give the Go5 spot in the New Years’ Bowls to a one- or two-loss Colorado State, or East Carolina to send a message. You’ve got to beat *someone* to be considered. There have been years when 2 Go5 (then Go6) teams may have been worthy of the top 12 slots. This year, I don’t see one.

Well said. Colorado State and even Boise have played a tougher schedule. East Carolina now has 2 losses so they are less likely. Marshall hasn’t played anyone and there is no excuse for it. The big dogs will always welcome Marshall to come in to their house .The Bigger schools aren’t going to take a pay cut to play a mid major on the road in a small stadium in the middle of nowhere.

I’m soooooooo tired of hearing about how great Marshall is …. Marshall, Marshall, Marshall …

I watched Louisiana Tech against Auburn. They didn’t embarrass themselves, they just weren’t as deep or fine-tuned, but they showed promise. La Tech will crush Marshall in the C-USA championship game. Then, this hand-wringing will go away.
Furthermore, choosing to play Rhode Island, a school that was going to move to the low scholarship NEC from the CAA until GaSo, AppState, and ODU bailed and were begged to stay belies that UMaine, a perennial FCS challenger was also available, but needed a home and home. As one of you said, Boise State showed how you do it…. you go play anyone, anywhere. Whatever it takes. If you are going play an FCS team, play one that’s been in the FCS playoffs.

It will be interesting if Marshall wins out….if Marshall then wins the C-USA Championship….if Marshall is ranked as the highest of the P5 teams (which definitely should occur if they win out and win C-USA), then they will play in a major bowl game, and someone ranked in the top 10.

When that happens, and IF Marshall wins that game, will we always look back at this year’s Herd and wonder “what-if”? I think they will have a right to make that argument. Maybe they can use that momentum into a new conference placement.

Marshall goes undefeated, they get to play in one of the top bowls, probably the Cotton as they must take the top team from a non power 5 conference as the last pick in the major bowls. And for people crying about undefeated teams, remember Hawaii and Northern Illinois, both completely outclassed when they got to a major bowl.

Not that it matters a ton, but…. The ESPN anylists are projecting Boise State getting the major bowl nod. So….. Assuming Marshall is a shoe in isn’t exactly correct. Sad thing for Marshall is that Boise State makes a lot more fiscal sense. We likely will not know until December 7th. I will point out that Marshall fans seem to be fully expecting the new years snub, but time will tell. Boise State is so passionately hated and loved that it brings a lot of viewers and fans in the seats. From a business standpoint its the obvious choice.

Marshall is drumming their competition of a weaker schedule just as they should. If they were not— then some of these concerns raised in this thread make sense. An undefeated and terrible Texas A&M team just beat number 3. Marshall COULDNOT pull off a similar upset — just because they play in CUSA?! Somewhere I am reminded of someone saying “that’s why you have to play the game…”

It is comedy to think that any heavy-weight wants to sign up for Marshall as one of their non-conference games. It is only a lose-lose for them. If they don’t beat them bad… It’s a loss in the perception of pollsters. If they lose… Its a terrible loss. And as far as WVU and other “heavy-weights” regional to marshall – it costs them recruiting. To say MARSHALL SHOULD play someone…. I say- yeah they should. But when Louisville backs out against THIS team THIS year only to replace them with Murray St (not a conference team) it makes you scratch your head and wonder why…?

If any of you naysayers actually watched a Thundering Herd game you would see there is talent and depth ….. Duke – yeah they got a suppppper tough schedule. Ga Tech….. Sooooo daunting.
The Herd would thunder over the 20-25… And I think a few of the team in the teens,

Well said Hutch ! I was just noticing that marshall fits nicely between missisippi state and alabama in terms of how much they beat southern miss by. Maybe this should be our new way of ranking! J./k I do think marshall should be in the lower 20s or upper teens, not because they are undefeated but because of their pure dominance.

I agree with the premise that the college football should be in a least two divisions.
Once upon a time there was Division I, Division II, etc.
In my opinion something like that should be the case now. My alma mater, Louisiana Tech is a good school with (this year) a good football team. However, it is not the flagship university of the state of Louisiana and it could not compete in athletics in the SEC. That being said,
it can compete with schools similar to it in terms of athletics, academics, etc.
At age 89, my Louisiana Tech B.S. degree is almost 64 years old. In 1950 Tech competed in the long gone Gulf South Conference. Those schools are still around. That level of play maybe but I doubt it.
Thanks to all hands.
Radford B. Allen, Jr.
Louisiana Tech (Louisiana Polytechnic Institute) B.S., 1951

Truthfully, the FBS-FCS model is broken. The 65 chosen programs who have all of the money are forcing out the 64 who are supposed to be playing at the same level as they are but have drastically lower budgets. The NCAA needs to step in and create a third level of competition in between FBS and FCS for the Group of 5 conferences and the elite of FCS. Let them have their own playoff and crown a national champion. Let’s stop pretending that at the beginning of the season all 129 teams all have an equal shot at the title. Look at the way high school football is organized–here in Ohio we have 7 divisions–this allows schools of the same size and same available resources to play each other in meaningful competition. College football needs to be the same way.

“Tina Mae” says…
This is a bunch of bull. If Marshall University is a “Division I” school, it should be treated like a “Division I” school, not some little stepchild down on her luck. What is fair is fair. What ever happened to the “Cinderella Team” that frequently appears in the “Division I Final Four” in basketball? Don’t football teams deserve the same fair chance at a “Championship ?”

As a courtesy, the selection committee should throw Marshall a bone and rank them evenly with the AP and Coach’s poll (Low 20’s). This would at the very least help a small but undefeated program make SportCenter. The exposure could aid recruiting efforts and perhaps shrink the gap between consistently good programs in lessor conferences and the all mighty money conferences. Aside from hype and media, I really don’t see any other reason for ranking teams beyond the Top 15 at this point in the season.

Though in a non Power 5 conference, my alma mater, University of Memphis, is playing respectable this year in the AAC with a 4-1 conference record, 6-3 overall ( two of the loses were to UCLA in Pasadena (42-35) and to Ole Miss (24-3)… the score was 7-3 well into the 4th quarter. Memphis will likely get a bowl game this year … maybe play a 6-6 or 7-5 SEC team. Hoping this year is the beginning of a trend and the Tigers continue to schedule a couple of teams in the Top 15 that they played down to the wire (like they did this year). Over the years, Memphis has beaten many of the SEC’s best (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Miss. State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Arkansas (3 times) … also, S. California.

Since Caleb Adkins didn’t have a reply button, I’ll have to post here. Caleb, you’ve pointed out that since Marshall dominated everyone, and since their QB and RB are ‘killing’ everyone, they should be included in the national championship talk. My question: who cares? Who cares that they’re setting all these records against inferior opponents. That’s called “stacking the deck.” The long and short of it is – they play no one. Getting UAB’s best shot means squat. Play Big 12 schools week in, week out, then come talk to us about ‘deserving’ a shot.

That’s weird why would anyone say, “Play Big 12 schools week in, week out, then come talk to us about deserving a shot”? The Big 12 is a weak example of a tough P5 schedule this year! Hell a weak WVU team was in contention to possibly win that conference for 2/3s of the season. Bottomline, Marshall would have torched the weak SEC lite defenses of the Big 12 and Marshall’s defense is well suited to stop their spread offenses. I’d love to see Marshall vs. a Big 12 or ACC champ this year (yes including FSU). Clemson and Louisville are laughable though. Aside from three decent teams (Baylor, TCU, KSU- verdict is not out yet on these teams yet) the Big 12 is seriously soft this year.

BTW- CSU unfortunately your or Boise States misfortune is Marshall’s gain and vic versa or we would probably be routing for each other however, no one can say with a straight face that BSU or CSU has either the talent or the balance of this Herd team this year! Seriously!

Yes, if Marshall actually rolls La Tech by 21 points in the C-USA Championship Game, I’ll change my tune, and wish We Are U. best of luck in the Peach Bowl… which only happens really if Boise gets by San Diego State. Otherwise, Colorado State is going to pass you by. CSU is probably the best Big XII candidate school out there, has a huge alumni base, and fits well with K-State, Ok State, and Iowa State in size and program.
But, it’s still B.S. for Marshall to have chosen Rhode Island as a replacement for Louisville. UMaine is a solid, often FCS playoff team and needed a game, too. Instead, you went for the worst 63-scholarship team in FCS in Rhode Island. That’s the point.

Consider the fact that Marshall has played Florida, Clemson, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Kansas State, Ole Miss, and other teams from the so called Power 5 over the years. Also consider most of the games were played on the road. I have to ask why contracts are written to allow home and home games to be moved or bought out by the larger schools. I can only guess $$$$ as Marshall’s stadium can’t seat 100,000 like Tennessee. So if those who have money are the ones who always are considered the elite then how do the non-elite even have the resources to move up?

As a direct comparison, the Herd performed better than the Gophers in beating mutual opponent Middle Tennessee at home. Marshall won by 25 (49-24), whereas Minnesota won by 11 (35-24). ALSO,

USM at Miss State = 49-0 (49 point win)

USM at Alabama = 52-12 (40 point win)

MU @ USM = 63-17 (46 point win)

Nuff’ said

The teams in Conference USA may not have hot records, but the one thing they aren’t looking at is the margin of victory. Not to many teams would have the margin of victory against those teams that Marshall. Until the smaller conferences that has an undefeated team gets to play in the playoffs there is always going to be doubt in a lot of people’s minds that have actually seen those teams play that the so called National Championship playoffs has given the #1 ranking to the top team in the country. I would like to know how many of the committee members have actually watched Marshall and any of the teams play. I have watched a couple of Marshalls games on tv. They look more impressive to me that Florida State, who has played some sloppy football while squeaking by with come from behind victories.ver

marshall is spanking teams week by week….while its impossible that they have a title shot this year….maybe in the future they can change the playoff set up so that any undefeated team from any DIVISION 1 conference can get a chance to play….in the mean time nobody will ever know if Marshall is good enough to be a National Champ…I would guess they would get crushed

Cknott…don’t think you know what you are talking about. Northern Illinois played Florida State in the Orange Bowl and the game was 17-10 in the 4th quarter. FSU scored the last 2 touchdowns but how can you say they were outclassed when they had a chance to win?!? Also, for every un-defeated regular season Hawaii, NIU that lost their bowl game, there are Utah (should have been in the 2008 national champ game), Boise State, and TCU (before they joined the Big 12) who won and didn’t get a chance at the national championship.

The bottom line is that the 4 team playoff system is no better than the BCS system it replaced and it is biased towards the power 5 and the committee is very subjective. If we had a FCS championship bracket with FBS all along I guarantee that one of the group of 5 (or non-automatic qualifying in BCS) conferences would have won the national championship by now (think Utah in 2008 or TCU in 2010).

Although Marshall is a very good football team, it is their fault that they will not be able to play in the college football playoff. If they want the committee to recognize them, they need to schedule more difficult out of conference games. Maybe even play a ranked team. But definitely play a power 5 team.

Marshall has the same problem WVU had when they were in the Big East in regarding not be taken seriously. In order for Marshall to be taken seriously they need to switch to one of the power 5 conferences and play more difficult teams instead of being of playing in a high school conference and high school teams. Like a previous poster said about Marshall being a stepchild. They are known to WVU fans as the red headed stepchild of WVU. Until their strength of schedule changes Marshall will never be taken seriously as a Division I team. Marshall and WVU play an in state basketball game every year and the only reason Marshall and WVU doesn’t play football anymore is WVU stadium accommodates way for fans that the small stadium Marshall has. WVU stadium holds 60,000 compared to Marshall stadium that holds 38,000 you do the math. Both schools get lot of money to play their friends of coal bowl. I would personally love to see Marshall and WVU play each other in a bowl game myself.

(CBaisden Reply) CFP Committee member and WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck is why the Marshall-WVU series stopped. FACT-

IN 1979, Mountaineer Field has a capacity of 38,000. FACT-

In 1980, WVU opens its new and current stadium (now known as Milan Puskar Stadium) with a capacity of 50,000 – after end zone expansion the seating is now 60,000. FACT-

In 2010 in Huntington- A record crowd of 41,382 at sold out Marshall Stadium is in attendance when WVU pulled out an OT come from behind win 24-21. WVU has only one home sell out the entire season. FACT-

In 2011, 60,758 would attend the Marshall-WVU game which was played at WVU and accounted for 1 of the 3 sell-outs that WVU had that season despite being ranked in the top 25 all but 2 weeks of the season. FACT-

In 2012, 59,120 attend the Marshall-WVU game at WVU just missing a sell out despite WVU being pre-season ranked #11. WVU would sellout two home games that season. FACT-

In 2013, WVU schedules William and Mary in place of Marshall which does not sell out. WVU does not record one home sell out all season in 2013. In addition to William and Mary WVU’s OOC schedule includes Maryland and Georgia State. WVU’s final home game of the season attendance was 33,735 FACT-

So explain to me again why WVU would rather play the likes of James Madison, Norfolk State, William & Mary and Georgia State than play MARSHALL? I think the facts speak for themselves!

Bottomline- Marshall is growing its program and having success. Not too long ago WVU was in a very similar situation as an up and coming mid-major! Seems like WVU would understand now more than ever that having an in-state rivalry game with a stronger Marshall as well as a renewal of the back yard brawl with Pitt really benefits WVU! I’m sure WVU fans and student athletes welcome the close proximity of these games given the tremendous distances in the geographically challenged Big 12!