ORLANDO, Fla. - The good thing about this weekend is this: Noah's Ark now comes equipped with not one, but two wireless routers, thus ensuring I could send the following string of loosely organized thoughts.
While the folks back home were suffering sunburn in the local pumpkin patch Saturday, Orlando turned into one large lake. Most Central Florida fans chose not to hydroplane across the city to see their team grind out a 16-6 win over Marshall.
The more I scanned the thinning gallery at Bright House Networks Stadium, I more I was thinking how good the crowd at the West Virginia-Bowling Green game really was. Memo to Dana Holgorsen: Not everybody can be "Iron Man" all the time.
This city of mouse ears and tollbooths received 6.16 inches of rain Saturday, by the official National Weather Service count. Radar indicates the rain was stronger to the northeast, where the UCF campus sits.
A few Orlando residents I heard from, including UCF coach George O'Leary, had trouble remembering an unrelenting rain quite like that - even from tropical storms.
"I've been in football for a long time, and I've never been involved in a game where it rained like it did," O'Leary said.
Marshall had similar weather in the season opener, but it involved a lot of lightning and a lot of sitting around.
"The last one at West Virginia wasn't too damn dry," joked Herd coach Doc Holliday. "It seems like this is the year of the wet game. Hopefully, we're through with this for now, because those conditions out there are not conducive to [good play]."
I'm not sure what the rest of the season has in store meteorologically, but I'm sure of this: The much-discussed first half of the schedule is in the rear-view mirror, and Marshall has survived.
A record of 2-4 is not ideal, but it's a game ahead of where I pegged this team before the season. For a few nervous Herd fans, it's two games ahead. And I'm sure a few Herd fans would have accepted a split of the Southern Mississippi/UCF double a couple of months ago.
Here's another point of optimism: This team is 5-1 against the point spread.
Coach Doc Holliday doesn't give an owl-in-the-pressbox hoot about that, but I do, and here's why: (a) over a number of games, you get an unbiased
measure of expectation from people who carry no attachment to any program, and (b) Mark Snyder's Herd teams couldn't beat the spread five times in two seasons.
I'll add a (c) here: It gives me confidence that Marshall can go 4-2 or better the rest of the season, thus landing in a bowl game. Before the season, I looked at a split of the final six games after a 1-5 start, for a 4-8 record.
Here's another factor that should perk up Herd fans: There isn't a strong defense left on the schedule. No West Virginia, no Virginia Tech, no Louisville and certainly no UCF remaining.
The really fearsome obstacle is Houston's 10-yard-a-minute offense, led by Case Keenum. The No. 25 Cougars' defense limited East Carolina to three points on Saturday, but it still ranks 71st in total yardage allowed.
Then again, it's the Steel Curtain compared to Marshall's other five remaining foes.
In descending order, those teams are ranked 98th, 110th, 116th, 117th and 118th. Stunningly Memphis is in the middle of that pecking order, ahead of this week's MU foe, Rice, and Alabama-Birmingham.
That's good news for a Marshall offense that could use a pick-me-up and a dry football.
The Herd gained 130 total yards and six first downs Saturday, an eerie throwback to the 1970s. It went 2-of-14 on third down, in part because its median distance was 7 yards. In fact, the Herd faced third-and-7 five times.