VISITING LECTURER: MARSHALL

Teams: there are a lot of them. In our effort to bring you the finest "bullshit" coverage of college football, our Visiting Lecturer Series today welcomes Marshall University fan Alex, who provides us with an appropriately thunderous preview. For today, HE. ARE. MARSHALL. Enjoy.

One: what color is your season? In other words, please explain the metaphorical state of your program through the metaphor of color:

Yellow. It is the color of the flame on Mark Snyder’s hotseat- undoubtedly strong but not quite yet white-hot. The consensus seems to be that he needs at least a 6-6 finish in his fourth season to stay safe. Yellow is also the color of the caution tape around our optimism that this will be the year Snyder turns it around after three losing seasons.

Two: What historical nation and period do you resemble most right now?

Our history has a strong correlation to that of the Jews. (Really?--ed.) Both were exiled from their homeland (in Marshall’s case, the MAC in the late 60’s) before suffering a tragedy that threatened their very existence (the 1970 plane crash.) However, both managed to survive long enough to return to and utterly dominate their respective homelands in which they were now unbelievably hated (really, the MAC despised Marshall.) The 2002 game against Buffalo, in which at halftime, Marshall led 52-0 and Byron Leftwich had 447 passing yards, serves as a good parallel to the Six-Day War.

Fortunately for Israel, the comparison stops after 2004.

They have yet to move out of their homeland and fail miserably over the last 3 years. For our current state, insert whatever “once was powerful but now isn’t” nation here. Argentina, post-Falklands, post-currency collapse--ed.

Three: You have important players. Discuss a few of them hastily.

DE #96 Albert McClellan

Our Conference USA 2006 defensive POY missed all of last year after going down in two-a-days. His presence alone would have won us a game or two more last year. We ranked dead last in turnovers forced thanks to no pressure on the quarterback.

TE #85 Cody Slate/ WR #1 Darius Passmore

The pass-catchers have to be our biggest strength. Slate is a junior who has been in the top 10 statistically among tight ends in his first two years. Passmore is a senior who brought back memories of Randy Moss wearing #88 last year.

QB # 10 Mark Cann

The key to our season. We had 5 QB’s looking to replace Bernie Morris, but the lefty redshirt freshman came out of spring as the strong favorite.

Four: Name two games we might actually want to watch featuring your team.

- Cincinnati @ Marshall- Friday, October 3, 8:00 PM (ESPN)

Three reasons Marshall will win this game:

A) Home field advantage means everything. The Herd is 112-14 all time at home, and even our terrible defense on our awful 3-9 team last year was able to hold Pat White & company to 6 points in the first half in Huntington.

Quien es mas macho? Yo!

B) Brian Kelly is a cocky bastard. I don’t see his team being prepared for what they’re going to walk into. Last year, the Bearcats played in front of small crowds at San Diego State and Miami (Ohio) University. They’ll play Akron in the Rubber Bowl, one of the most awful venues in college football, six days before this one. Joan C. Edwards stadium will be by far the best non-BCS atmosphere these Bearcats have played in. Nothing gets us fired up like a nationally televised game against a BCS team, and unlike WVU and Kansas State in recent years, Cincy won’t have the advantage of a pre-noon kickoff. The crowd will be loud and likely larger than the capacity of the Bearcats’ own Nippert Stadium.

C) It’s a white-out! The latest success in our ongoing attempt to steal every single tradition from Penn State.

- Marshall @ West Virginia- September 27 (TV: TBA)

Yeah, you’ll come for the Pat White and Noel Devine, but you’ll stay for the national title hopes and couches going up in flames.

Four-A: Save us all some time and mention the game we’re better off NOT watching.

- Marshall @ Wisconsin- September 6 (TV: TBA)

Defensive tackle was our biggest weakness last year, and new defensive coordinator Rick Minter is switching our defense to a 3-4. While it should be improved, I don’t see our defense being able to slow down the Badgers’ running game in our first game of the year against an FBS team.

Five: Every hero forgets something in their toolbelt. What does your team lack?

Defensive tackle is still our biggest weakness until further notice. If Cann fails to deliver, inexperience at quarterback will be what bites us in the ass.

Six: Describe your team with a Jimmy Buffett song. No, we’re serious–do it.

"The only people that like Jimmy Buffett are frat boys and alcoholic chicks from the south." - Eric Cartman

While I don’t fall into either of those categories, I would if you changed “chick” to “guy” and “south” to “kind-of-in-the-south.” Seriously, how the hell do you define West Virginia? No one here really knows. The state only exists because it didn’t want to be a secede from the Union. It was a northern state during the war, but most of it is below the Mason-Dixon line. I’ve heard it described as being in the South, Mid-Atlantic (despite not touching the ocean), and Midwest.

Anyway, I only know a couple Jimmy Buffett songs off the top of my head so I had to do some quick Wikipedia research and came up with “There’s Nothin’ Soft about Hard Times.” That’s probably more fitting for the fans, especially my age, who until the last three years, knew nothing but the happy sunshine and rainbows of I-AA championships, MAC titles, and Heisman trophy finalists when it came to Marshall football.

Seven: We’re master wagerers. Give us a bet to place for up to ten dollars about your team.

For a single game, pick us straight up at home against Cincy for the reasons mentioned above. For the season, I’m gonna set the over-under at 7-5. Overly optimistic? Probably. There are signs of an impending turnaround though: a strong finish last year, improved depth, almost no losses at the skill positions outside of QB, the return of McClellan, and hey, Phil Steele has us as the 16th most improved team I think.

At Wisconsin and WVU are near-certain losses. At Southern Miss and East Carolina are likely losses. I think we have a good chance to run the table after that, but I’m gonna throw in one unexpected home loss or a flop at either UAB or Rice.

Thank you, Alex. For further reading on Marshall, the Library of Congress recommends the Torah, or Herd Nation.

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