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 40-17Sept. 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 28-27Sept. 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 31-27Sept. 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 28-14Oct. 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 40-28Oct. 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 30-17Oct. 27, Central Florida at Marshall - Joan C. Edwards Stadium should be percolating for this one. The Knights are the preseason pick to win the Conference USA East division, which Marshall happens to be in. And what's better than a George O'Leary sighting, right? UCF's defense, however, will spoil the day for the Herd. UCF 31-20Nov. 3, Memphis at Marshall - Larry Porter is out as coach at Memphis. Justin Fuentes, 36 years old, is the new guy. It will be the same ol' same ol' for the Tigers, though. And unlike last season, the Herd will win by more than a single point. Marshall 45-21Nov. 10, Marshall at UAB - I'm not going to waste your time here. Earlier I informed that Holliday is 12-13 at Marshall. Two of those victories were over UAB - by a combined 90-31 score. Expect more of the same this year. Marshall 48-28Nov. 17, Houston at Marshall - OK, coach Kevin Sumlin is off to Texas A&M and quarterback Case Keenum is off to the NFL. All is clear for the Herd, right? Uh, no. Understand that new coach Tony Levine directed the Cougs to a 30-14 win over Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl. Understand that UH beat MU 63-28 in the last meeting. And understand the talent gap hasn't closed that much yet. Houston 42-31Nov. 23, Marshall at East Carolina - This could play into MU's hands. As always, East Carolina is taking on non-conference schools like South Carolina, North Carolina and, this year, Navy. The Pirates have talent, but could be cooked by the time the regular-season finale rolls around. Marshall 28-21
Final MU record: 6-6, Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org
or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.