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Marshall Fans, Stay in Your Lane

Christopher Hall

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herdHater

Marshall fans are getting bold these days on social media.

It’s to be expected, the Herd is 3-0 in conference play and 6-1 overall. Their only loss came to North Carolina State, which is currently ranked No. 14 in the country.

With the wins, the Marshall trolls have come out, trying to convince Mountaineer fans that Marshall is the best football team in the state.

There is only one problem with that – Marshall’s best win is against Miami of Ohio (No. 93 in ESPN’s football power index). But the combined record of Marshall opponents is 19-35.

The way Marshall fans talk, they’d have you believe they have been beating some of the best teams in the country, they’re better than West Virginia, and the Mountaineers are scared to face them on the field.  My eyes cannot roll back far enough every time I read these comments on social media.

The Mountaineers have a ranked win this year after Texas Tech came to Morgantown and the overall record of West Virginia’s opponents is 20-29. Or you can go by the Sagarin Ratings (Marshall 100 / WVU 83).

According to ESPN’s power rankings, West Virginia has the 2nd toughest schedule remaining in the country while Marshall’s schedule sits at 103.

West Virginia is 5th in total offense. Marshall sits at 91.

Marshall fans like to throw out just how good their defense is because they currently sit at 21st in the country in total defense.  Outside of NC State, they haven’t faced a top 50 offense, however.

It’s clear the Mountaineers have performed better on the field, given the level of competition of the two schools, but a Herd fan will never see it that way no matter how many facts you throw at them.

They sit there with their current record and now claim West Virginia is afraid to play them.

West Virginia has never been scared to play Marshall. I don’t know what exactly makes them think this way when you look at West Virginia’s upcoming non-conference schedule.  Florida State, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Tennessee, and NC State are all on the Mountaineers future schedule.

There is absolutely no benefit for West Virginia to play Marshall.  There is only one program that benefits from it and it’s Marshall.  They do nothing for the strength of schedule and I will never buy into it helps the state of West Virginia economically.  How does it help the state if both division one programs are playing each other?  You are taking an extra Saturday of football away from a town that would normally be hosting a game.

The game shouldn’t be played in Huntington to begin with.  They never sell out their own stadium unless the Mountaineers or another high profile program come to town. So, economically it benefits Huntington and Marshall but not the state. That card needs put away.

No program is clambering to travel to Huntington.  The only Power 5 conference teams that is making a trip to Huntington in the future is NC State in 2018 and Pitt in 2020.  They conveniently scheduled that home and home series with NC State, less than a month after West Virginia announced their home and home series with the Wolfpack.

Marshall has tried this trick before.

Back in 2002, Marshall scheduled a home-and-home series with Virginia Tech.  They had Byron Leftwich and had a vision of going into Blacksburg and winning the game.  The Mountaineers also made the annual trip to Virginia Tech the same year to take on the then conference rival Hokies.  Well, the games didn’t play out the way they had envisioned.  Virginia Tech beat down Marshall 47-21 while the Mountaineers beat the Hokies 21-18.

Marshall got their wish back in 2006 when they started a 7-game series with the Mountaineers and went 0-7, getting outscored 268-111. Overall, the Mountaineers are 12-0 against the Herd, outscoring Marshall 520-163.

Their memories are short. By the end of that 7-game series, they wanted nothing else to do with West Virginia. Now, five years later, the talk starts up all over again.

If the Herd was willing to come to Morgantown for a fill-in game and take the average payment of any other group of 5 program, then I’m sure they could get on the schedule here and there, but they want too much. Whether its money, having to travel to Huntington or trying to lock down the Mountaineers in a long-term commitment – which none of those terms benefit the much superior WVU program – there is no reason for West Virginia to pursue playing Marshall.

What Marshall does has no effect on West Virginia and the Mountaineers shouldn’t do them any favors.  It’s time for Marshall fans to be content with what they have and just keep the Mountaineers out of their mouths and off their screens.

Marshall would get more support from the state if they didn’t try to troll the WVU programs.  They are nowhere near the level of West Virginia and never will be.

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