Also, WVU is expected to have a down year. While that doesn't mean a heck of a lot - Mountaineer fans certainly won't be switching allegiances - the Thundering Herd might have the opportunity to swipe at least some of the state's spotlight.
All simply sets up well for Marshall, and just in the nick of time for Holliday. In an Athlon magazine list of coaches on the hot seat, he came in at No. 12 nationally.
Understandable. In three seasons as head coach, Holliday's teams have gone 5-7, 7-6 and 5-7. If my math is correct, that's 17-20. Not good.
Again, the non-conference schedule has been lightened. Holliday has had time to bring in his recruits for his systems. He has one of the nation's brightest quarterbacks in Rakeem Cato. He returns 15 starters. It's time to rock and roll.
Actually, MU fans have been quite patient. Coaching at Marshall is a tough gig, considering the school's location - WVU to the east, Kentucky and Louisville to the west and Ohio State to the north.
Herd fans, though, were used to winning. They cheered teams with 10 or more wins for 11 seasons before NCAA sanctions hit back in 2002. Since 2003, no MU team has won more than eight.
Of late, the school has been struggling within C-USA. Because of realignment, though, the current C-USA is basically the Mid-American Conference, MU's former league. At least in regard to strength.
What's encouraging for MU fans is Holliday embraces the situation. On Monday he said he enjoys high expectations. "If we take care of business and prepare," the coach said, "we've got a shot to have a pretty good football team."
The time to show it is now.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.