IT'S BEEN almost uncanny. My knack, that is, of predicting Marshall's football record throughout the years.
Until last season. The prediction was 4-8. The Thundering Herd's final record, against a brutal schedule for a non-BCS school, was 7-6, capped by the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl victory over FIU.
Good for Doc. Coach Doc Holliday's record now stands at 12-13 at Marshall, but the tick is going up. Is his team a year away yet? Yep. But let's take a look, while I get my MU predicting mojo back.
Sept. 1, Marshall at West Virginia - As I said in my Sunday piece, MU's Rakeem Cato, Aaron Dobson, Tron Martinez and Travon Van will certainly test the Mountaineers' new 3-4 defense. But the Herd defense lost sack star Vinny Curry and its top three tacklers - including Omar Brown - from last season. That's not good going against the bunch from Morgantown this season. WVU 42-21
Sept. 8, Western Carolina at Marshall - The question here isn't whether Marshall defeats the Catamounts. It will. The question is whether WCU enters the game with a win or loss to Division II Mars Hill. Oh yes, and look for former Herd quarterback Eddie Sullivan's return after transferring. He completed 6-of-13 passes for 36 yards in the Cats' fall camp wrapup this past Saturday. Marshall 40-17
Sept. 15, Ohio at Marshall - As it stands, MU would enter this game as a 3-point favorite. If that holds, expect bettors to jump all over the game since Ohio drubbed the Herd 44-7 last season at Peden Stadium. OU has 15 starters returning from a team that defeated Utah State in the Famous Amos Potato Bowl. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton, son of former major league catcher Mickey, returns. Yet, mark this down: MU wins. Marshall 28-27
Sept. 22, Marshall at Rice - The losing streak will end at eight. Finally, finally, finally Marshall will win a game in the state of Texas. The key for the Herd will be to keep a collective level head after downing Ohio. Rice certainly has enough quality players - see tight end Luke Wilson and defensive back Bryce Callahan - to win. Last year, the Herd barely won (24-20) at home. Cato and MU's offense, however, will be improved. Marshall 31-27
Sept. 29, Marshall at Purdue - This is a terrific opportunity for Marshall to score an upset. As it stands, the host Boilermakers would be a 6-point favorite, but they will be hosting Michigan the week after and could get caught looking ahead. What will prove a problem is Purdue's runners and offensive line against Marshall's defensive front. Purdue 28-14
Oct. 6, Tulsa at Marshall - This is the type of game Marshall will be able to win next year. The Golden Hurricane, though, defeated the Herd 59-17 last season and will now start Nebraska transfer Cody Green at quarterback. Green isn't all that, but he did play 17 games for the Cornhuskers. Also, TU is stocked with running backs and receivers. Tulsa 40-28
Oct. 20, Marshall at Southern Miss - See above introductory sentence and apply here. Coach Larry Fedora took a powder and left for North Carolina. Eagles QB Austin Davis is gone. It's a real opportunity for the Thundering Herd, but the hunch is Southern Miss offensive and special teams threat Tracey Lampley will be the difference. Southern Miss 30-17