Mike Hamrick cannot sit around and pull his hair out over what might happen in the next year or two with conference realignment.
For starters, Marshall's athletic director has a fair amount of hair to yank, particularly for a fifty-something male. Second, he is in the same boat as dozens of other ADs - powerless to alter the thinking of the Big Ten, which wields the opening tile in the next game of conference dominoes.
His job right now, most of all, is to make the Thundering Herd program as attractive as possible, in case the school wants to (or has to) shop itself around.
"You wait, and then you react," Hamrick said. "As far as Marshall is concerned, what we're trying to do is get our program as good as we get, so if change does occur you're in a situation where you have to do something different, you can sell yourself.
"Are we in that position now? I'm not sure if we are, but we're working hard to get there."
Hamrick was across the country when Conference USA was the league most bombarded by the Atlantic Coast Conference-triggered realignment. As athletic director at Nevada-Las Vegas, he abetted that - he chaired the Mountain West Conference's expansion committee, which eventually added Texas Christian.
That was the next-to-last move in the C-USA shakeup, with the league replacing TCU with Texas-El Paso. Before then, the league added Central Florida, Marshall, Tulsa, Rice and Southern Methodist to come to 12 teams.
That was in response to losing Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette and South Florida to the heavily raided Big East, Charlotte and Saint Louis to the Atlantic 10 and Army to football independence.
Football-wise, that earthquake seemed to deepen the division between the so-called BCS conferences and the rest of what used to be called Division I-A.
Yes, there was the increased access that led to Boise State "busting the BCS" twice, but only the Mountain West has made a credible case for a seventh league landing a BCS automatic bid.
But really, the big prize is joining one of the six BCS automatic qualifying leagues, and several schools are ready to pounce on a Big Ten-sparked opportunity.
If you're reading this, you've probably seen a zillion permutations of what the Big Ten will do, and its ripple effect all the way to the Western Athletic and Sun Belt conferences.
As the thinking goes, the Big Ten will get whomever it wants and will expand to 12, 14 or 16 teams. Does it relieve the Big East of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and/or Rutgers? Does it relieve the Big 12 of Nebraska, Oklahoma and/or Missouri? Or does it rope in Texas or Notre Dame, the biggest prizes of all?
Whatever happens (unless the Big Ten just lures Notre Dame, or does nothing), a free-for-all will ensue, as happened in 2003. Conference USA will no doubt feel it, perhaps losing schools, splitting up or even imploding.
A chunk of its schools fancy themselves as BCS-league candidates, including:
Memphis carries the mighty corporate backing of FedEx, which is bigger than Elvis in that city. If you don't believe that, consider this: Memphis International Airport has been the world's busiest for cargo for 18 consecutive years, with FedEx planes jamming the nighttime skies.
It may be no coincidence, either, that FedEx has pulled its name off the Orange Bowl after a two-decade sponsorship.
Any league that adds Memphis wins a basketball gold mine, NCAA infractions history notwithstanding. The Tigers drew an average crowd of 16,500 in the rebuilding year of 2009-10, and their fans react to the slightest developments surrounding the program.
But basketball tends to take a back seat in the realignment process. The Tigers are down in football, which isn't unusual. The week of the Marshall game, they had to practice at a high school field when their on-campus facilities became waterlogged, much to their embarrassment.
The Tigers could land in a BCS league and still suffer the poaching of local football talent by all those surrounding Southeastern Conference schools.
Enrollment is comparable to that of Ohio State. There is an on-campus stadium, entering its fourth season. The indoor practice building is slightly older and the basketball arena is slightly newer. It's a top-20 TV market, in the middle of a hotbed for football talent. Financial commitment doesn't seem to be an issue, as George O'Leary's $1 million-plus salary illustrates.
So if the Big East or ACC needs an addition, what's not to like?
It may be as simple as UCF somehow failing to establish itself as much as Interstate 4 rival South Florida, which launched its football program 18 years after UCF did. It could be political, as UCF is overshadowed by Florida, Florida State, Miami and, recently, USF.