GREENVILLE, N.C. - In the spirit of Black Friday, Marshall's football team is shopping - but for only one item. Sounds just like a bunch of men, doesn't it?
If the Thundering Herd wants to land this reward, it's going to have to hit harder than the hardy souls jostling for a Wii U at Best Buy at 4 a.m. The big present today is a bowl bid, and it isn't going to come gift-wrapped.
At East Carolina's Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, there are no layaways.
Just as it did last year, Marshall has backed itself into the hardest route to a bowl, going 5-6 and needing a season-ending win against ECU. The Herd won that in double overtime in Huntington, but the task is tougher this time around.
Historically, Marshall has known nothing but agony in Greenville, losing all six trips dating back to 1968. It has lost to the Pirates in three different stadium capacities (20,000; 43,000; current 50,000), two different names (Dowdy didn't join Ficklen until 1994), in games close and not so close.
The Herd even lost despite one of the better individual defensive performances in school history by Albert McClellan - and that 33-20 loss wasn't a cliffhanger.
So all that history doesn't mean diddly, you say. But the history written over the past three months means everything.
The two late turnovers against Ohio, remember those? The two fourth-down incompletions late in the game against Tulsa? The 38-31 loss at Alabama-Birmingham?
Until the 2 p.m. kickoff today, those losses loom larger than life. When the ball goes in the air, Marshall controls its fate.
As the Herd (4-6 overall, 4-3 Conference USA) gets one crack at its third bowl game in four years, it will have to do the following: