AP Voter Roundup, Week 10

October 30, 2014 by Derek Redd

As was the case last week, we’ll let College Poll Tracker show you the nitty-gritty. We’ll highlight some specifics. There’s a little less juice to this poll now that the College Football Playoff rankings, which decide the national semifinals and Group of Five choice, were released on Tuesday, but we’ll still take a look at how the AP poll shook out.

Overall record

Marshall: 8-0

East Carolina: 6-1

WVU: 6-2

Ranking this week

Marshall: 23rd

East Carolina: 21st

WVU: 20th

Highest ranking

Marshall: 16th (Michael Lev, Orange County Register)

East Carolina: 15th (Lev; Jim Polzin, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wisc.; Mike Sorensen, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah; Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News)

WVU: 12th (Grant Ramey, Maryville (Tenn.) Daily Times)

Where voters ranked them most

Marshall: 23rd (13 voters)

East Carolina: (tie) 21st (11 voters) and 22nd (11 voters)

WVU: 19th (12 voters)

Voters who left team off their ballots

Marshall: 9

East Carolina: 2

WVU: none

Bowl Projection Roundup, Round 6

October 30, 2014 by Derek Redd

Here’s the lineup for this week …

Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com) — Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Iowa; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Brett McMurphy (ESPN.com) — Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Maryland; Go5 Pick — Alabama vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mark Schlabach (ESPN.com) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Northern Illinois; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Phil Steele — Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame

USA Today — Hawaii Bowl vs. Nevada; Go5 Pick — Ole Miss vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Jason Kirk (SBNation) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Toledo; Go5 Pick — Colorado State vs. Ohio State in Fiesta Bowl

Mike Huguenin (NFL.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Alabama

College Football News — New Mexico Bowl vs. Utah State; Go5 Pick — East Carolina vs. Ole Miss in Fiesta Bowl

Bill Bender (SportingNews.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Georgia

Granted, some of these came out before the first College Football Playoff rankings, which had East Carolina at No. 23 and Marshall nowhere to be found, were released. The folks who had Marshall as their Go5 pick last week have the Herd there this week. One of the minor changes was McMurphy slotting Maryland in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against MU in a Military Bowl rematch. I can’t say anyone in the Metroplex would be jazzed to see that game, though.

Conference USA in Review, Week 9

October 28, 2014 by Derek Redd

This week’s non-conference record: 0-1

Overall non-conference record: 23-26

This week’s non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 0-1

Overall non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 16-24

This week’s record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-1

Overall record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-21

C-USA in the Polls: AP — Marshall (23) ; Coaches — Marshall (23)

Trending Up

Rice — What in the world has gotten into the Owls? After beginning the season 0-3, Rice has won four straight after its 41-21 win over North Texas. The Owls have scored 41 points in three of its last four games, and it looks like David Bailiff’s squad will attempt a run at its second straight C-USA title game. Rice and West Division leader Louisiana Tech meet Nov. 29.

Devon Johnson — Break a 26-year-old Marshall record, find yourself in this spot for another week. His school record 272 yards and four touchdowns bailed out the Herd in its 35-16 win over Florida Atlantic. The junior is on pace to end the regular season with 1,804 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns. That would be the fifth best rushing total and tied for the fourth best touchdown total in conference history. If that happens, folks might have to conduct a deep debate as to who the C-USA MVP really is.

Trending Down

UAB — The Blazers are headed the wrong way after a 4-2 start. Sure, that 45-17 loss to SEC foe Arkansas doesn’t affect UAB’s conference hopes, but the Blazers weren’t even competitive against a middling Razorbacks squad, falling behind 38-0 before finally scoring halfway through the third quarter. Louisiana Tech and Marshall are on the horizon, so the road to bowl eligibility won’t be easy.

UTSA — That drubbing of Houston to begin the season is looking more and more like an outlier. The Roadrunners lost their second straight and sixth out of their last seven with a 34-0 loss to UTEP. At 18.1 points per game, UTSA sports one of the country’s worst offenses. A far cry from the team that looked like the West Division favorite coming into the season.

Redd’s C-USA Title Game Prediction He’s Guaranteed to Get Wrong — Louisiana Tech at Marshall

 

Gameday, Part VIII — Any nailbiters today?

October 25, 2014 by Derek Redd

So here’s how my day is going so far …

My boss, ladies and gentlemen!

In more interesting news, Grantland has made its way to a Marshall University press box. Couple that with the Herd’s mention on Rolling Stone’s website, and that’s been a heck of a weekend for the team.

The Herd would like this game to be a little less eventful. It definitely would like this game to be less eventful than last season’s, when the Herd needed a last-second field goal from hometown kid Justin Haig to win by a point in Boca Raton.  Some differences between that game and this season. Marshall rushed for 139 yards and gained 355 total in that game. The Herd averages 287.4 rushing yards and 574.9 total yards this year.

As far as the injured masses, Davonte Allen is still out. Could the bye week be enough time to recover from his upper body injury? Time will tell. Gary Thompson’s still out, too, but if he’s coming back, bet on the end of the season. The previously banged-up Remi Watson, who wore a rockin’ Ace bandage/ice pack combo at the end of the FIU game, is dressed.

That should be it for now. Stick around below to see running commentary from both me and Mr. McGill. Otherwise …

Happy Last Game Before the Last Bye Week, Y’all.

Live Blog Marshall vs. FAU

Numberosity — Florida Atlantic Week

October 24, 2014 by Derek Redd

This blog post is rated “I” for “I don’t have anything clever for this.”

30.7 — Margin of victory for Marshall in its first seven games this season.

1 — Margin of victory in Marshall’s win last season at Florida Atlantic.

10 — Points Marshall had to score in the final 10 minutes to win that game.

21 — How many points from which FAU came back to beat Western Kentucky last week.

Here are some numbers not working in FAU’s favor this weekend …

10 — FAU’s C-USA ranking in scoring defense at 35.7 points per game. Marshall scores a conference-best 47.4 points per game.

10 — FAU’s C-USA ranking in scoring offense at 24.6 points per game. Marshall allows a conference-low 16.6 points per game.

Now here’s something interesting …

13 — Marshall’s rank out of 13 C-USA teams in penalty yards at 90 per game. Middle Tennessee is next-closest at 69.1. That’s a lot of flags.

1 — Marshall’s rank out of 13 C-USA teams in opponents’ penalty yards per game at 73.1. That’s a lot of flags, too. Huh.

133 — Rushing yards per game for Herd running back Devon Johnson, tops in the conference and ninth in the FBS.

1 — Appendage of Johnson’s that has its own Twitter account. That would be RockHead’s Stiff Arm at @47sStiffArm.

9 — Marshall’s FBS rank in rushing offense at 284.7 yards per game.

1 — Touchdown run by Stew Butler against FIU.

4 — Games since he had scored. He ran for a touchdown when he ran for two against Rhode Island.

4 — Marshall players averaging at least six yards per carry — Johnson (8.2), Butler (7.0), Remi Watson (6.4) and Rakeem Cato (6.0).

And finally …

100 — percent improvement in press-box quality between FIU’s last week and Marshall’s this week. Because being able to see the game usually is key to reporting on it.

 

Bowl Projection Roundup, Round 5

October 23, 2014 by Derek Redd

Here’s the lineup for this week …

Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com) — Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Iowa; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Fiesta Bowl

Brett McMurphy (ESPN.com) — Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Rutgers; Go5 Pick — Alabama vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mark Schlabach (ESPN.com) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Northern Illinois; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Phil Steele — Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame

USA Today — Hawaii Bowl vs. Nevada; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Jason Kirk (SBNation) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Northern Illinois; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mike Huguenin (NFL.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss

College Football News — New Mexico Bowl vs. Utah State; Go5 Pick — East Carolina vs. Michigan State in  Fiesta Bowl

Bill Bender (SportingNews.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss

The Heart of Dallas Bowl got another voter this week. McMurphy now thinks Marshall will play Rutgers in the Cotton Bowl. Anything that gets me one step closer to all the Zaxby’s sauce I desire is aces in my book. The prevailing notion is the Go5 choice will go to either the Peach or Fiesta Bowl. A couple of Bahamas Bowl predictions remain out there, but I can’t believe that Conference USA would let one of its best teams since its inception out of the country.

AP Voter Roundup, Week 9

October 23, 2014 by Derek Redd

Listing each week’s poll voter by voter has gotten a bit cumbersome since the Herd made it into the AP top 25. So, now we’ll just drop a link here to the folks who do yeoman’s work at Collegepolltracker.com, which analyzes and sorts each team in the poll.

But while we’re here, let’s look at some of the more intriguing points to this week’s poll, comparing Marshall with the only other Go5 team in the Top 25, East Carolina, and neighbor to the north, West Virginia.

Overall record

Marshall: 7-0

East Carolina: 5-1

WVU: 5-2

Ranking this week

Marshall: 23rd

East Carolina: 18th

WVU: 22nd

Highest ranking

Marshall: 15th (Michael Lev, Orange County Register)

East Carolina: 13th (Jim Polzin, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wisc.)

WVU: 13th (Grant Ramey, Maryville (Tenn.) Daily Times; Josh Kendall, The State, Columbia, S.C.; Scott Wolf, Los Angeles Daily News)

Where voters ranked them most

Marshall: 22nd (11 voters)

East Carolina: 18th (15 voters)

WVU: 23rd (10 voters)

Voters who left team off their ballots

Marshall: 16

East Carolina: 2

WVU: 8

That last number there is the biggest reason why the Herd sits where it does in the polls.

Conference USA in Review, Week 8

October 21, 2014 by Derek Redd

This week’s non-conference record: 0-0

Overall non-conference record: 23-25

This week’s non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 0-0

Overall non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 16-23

This week’s record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-0

Overall record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-20

C-USA in the Polls: AP — Marshall (23) ; Coaches — Marshall (22)

Trending Up

Devon Johnson — If the Marshall running back keeps trending up like this, he’ll be in the ionosphere. He coupled 117 rushing yards on nine carries with 79 receiving yards on three catches, two of them for touchdowns. He’s ninth in the FBS in rushing yards and, if he keeps up with his average, should eclipse the 1,000-yard mark this weekend.

Rakeem Cato — His 214 passing yards don’t jump off the page, but the Marshall quarterback threw four touchdown passes against an FIU team that had allowed just five entering Saturday’s game. Plus the first one broke the major college record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass with his 39th. Not a bad visit home.

Trending Down

C-USA — The conference has three teams over .500, tied with the  Sun Belt for fewest for an FBS conference. There are just two teams at least two games over .500, Marshall and Middle Tennessee, and Marshall beat Middle Tennessee by 25. The only other above-.500 team, Louisiana Tech, has a loss to FCS Northwestern State on its docket. And the Bulldogs are in the lead for the West Division championship. Chances are every team except Marshall will devour themselves, leaving everyone hovering at or near .500 and the Herd sprinting away in the distance. Of all the seasons Marshall was unable to play a Power 5 team, this might be the worst. A loss to any of these teams would destroy the Herd’s dreams of a marquee bowl spot.

Redd’s C-USA Title Game Prediction He’s Guaranteed to Get Wrong — Louisiana Tech at Marshall

 

Gameday, Part VII — I thought I heard something about a record …

October 18, 2014 by Derek Redd

We’re here in the corner of FIU Stadium gearing up for tonight’s tilt between the Panthers and visiting Thundering Herd. There’s a good chance that there could be more Marshall fans than there will be FIU fans tonight, considering the amount of South Floridians on the roster. Rakeem Cato’s family likely will be here in full force, as he tries to break the major college record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Today would be his 39th and would break his tie with current Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

Here are some folks that won’t be here today, as they weren’t on the travel roster: OL Blake Brooks (leg), DE Gary Thompson (leg), LB Evan McKelvey (knee, out for season) and RB Brandon Byrd. Tony Pittman is here today. Also, safety Tiquan Lang will wear No. 31 in honor of McKelvey today.

The only way I see this stays close is if FIU’s defense keeps up its pace in sacks and turnovers, or if too many flags fly in Marshall’s direction. Those haven’t been kind to MU lately, though it hasn’t hurt … yet.

That’s it for now. Why not stick around right here and hang out with my live in-game feed, where you can see all of my (ahem) “brilliant” analysis. (And pay no attention to the face on the top of that feed. You all know I’m much more good looking.) (Hi, boss!)

Otherwise …

Happy Let’s Watch Cato Go for a National Record Day, y’all.

Live Blog Marshall vs. FIU

Bowl Projection Roundup, Round 4

October 16, 2014 by Derek Redd

Here’s where the experts put the Herd this bowl season …

Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com) — Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Iowa; Go5 Pick — Oklahoma vs. East Carolina in Fiesta Bowl

Brett McMurphy (ESPN.com) — Boca Raton Bowl vs. Central Michigan; Go5 Pick — TCU vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mark Schlabach (ESPN.com) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Northern Illinois; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Phil Steele — Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame

USA Today — Hawaii Bowl vs. Nevada; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Jason Kirk (SBNation) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Toledo; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mike Huguenin (NFL.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss

College Football News — New Mexico Bowl vs. Utah State; Go5 Pick — East Carolina vs. Auburn in  Fiesta Bowl

Bill Bender (SportingNews.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Georgia

The Herd lost one expert in the Go5 pick crowd. College Football News now has Marshall headed out to Albuquerque. When USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton was healthy, I told folks that Cato vs. Keeton game could be the most-watched minor bowl of the season. With Keeton hurt, the luster is pretty much gone.