HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- With the spread-out nature of Conference USA, most championships in the 21 men's and women's sports are played on a campus.
There are only three exceptions: Men's golf, women's golf and rowing - not exactly sports in which ticket sales are a top priority.
The football championship is unique in that the campus site is determined late in the season and played at one of the teams' home sites. That will be the case at noon Saturday, as Marshall visits Rice in C-USA's ninth championship game.
In many respects, it's just like a regular-season game - one team flies to the event; the home team stays sequestered in a familiar hotel Friday night. But does that home team really have an advantage?
Maybe, but it's not overwhelming.
Of the eight games, the road team has won three. Perhaps the most memorable came in 2011, when Southern Mississippi rained on the Bowl Championship Series hopes of sixth-ranked Houston 49-28. The Golden Eagles intercepted Case Keenum twice, returning one for a touchdown, and scored on a blocked punt.
In 2008, East Carolina won 27-24 over Tulsa, intercepting David Johnson five times and getting a late Ben Hartman field goal. Johnson entered the game as the nation's top-rated passer.
In 2005, Tulsa upended Central Florida 44-27, shutting out the Knights after halftime before 51,978 at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
The history is not important to the Marshall team. This is: The Thundering Herd is playing better on the road this season.
Their three losses all came away from Huntington, but the margin was a total of five points in regulation, with the game at Virginia Tech going to triple overtime.
Two hinged on special teams miscues, the games at Ohio and Virginia Tech. The other one can be chalked up to porous defense.
The Herd had to ground out two of its three road wins, 24-23 over Florida Atlantic and 45-34 over Tulsa. The third was a gimme, 48-10 at woeful Florida International.
You can point out that those three opponents finished a combined 10-26 and MU's road losses came to teams a combined 23-13.
You would be correct, but the Herd hasn't always conquered losing teams on the road. Going 10-49 on the road from 2005-12, the Herd lost to Alabama-Birmingham twice, among others.