The views from here:
n If Marshall coach Doc Holliday is seeking a way to motivate his team, I suggest he examine the new College Football Playoff rules.
In sum, this year’s Thundering Herd team has a very good shot at making one of the “access bowls” — Fiesta, Cotton or Peach.
Nothing, of course, is easy in major college football. But MU certainly has a clearer path to one of the aforementioned bowls than in-state brethren WVU.
One reason is obvious. The Mountaineers’ schedule is one of the nation’s toughest. According to the NCAA’s method of computing strength of schedule, West Virginia’s slate is No. 12, while Marshall’s is No. 122 of 128 teams. WVU’s non-conference schedule is one of the best with Alabama and Maryland. (Alabama’s, by contrast, is rated one of the worst — partially because of its date with WVU.) Marshall’s non-conference schedule — Miami (Ohio), Rhode Island, Ohio and Akron — has been ranked dead last by some analysts.
What you may not realize, though, is that schedule could help the Herd because of the talent assembled by Holliday combined with the new system.
Here’s the deal. The Playoff committee will select the four semifinalists to play in either the Sugar or Rose bowls before, ultimately, two play for the national title. That won’t include Marshall even if the team goes undefeated. Those in the power conferences simply won’t allow it. It may sound harsh, but bank on it.
Likewise, MU won’t get into the “contract bowls.” This year the one not in the playoff rotation is the Orange. The ACC is the anchor league for that. Both slots will go to power conference teams or Notre Dame.
Here, though, is where it gets interesting for Marshall. There are six major bowl slots still available in what used to be called the “upper tier.” Five of those will likely be gobbled up by power conference teams, but one slot is guaranteed to go to the highest-ranked team among the “group of five” conferences. Those are MU’s Conference USA as well as the Mid-American, Sun Belt, American Athletic and Mountain West.
Marshall has a nice jump on the rest because of the preseason love poured on Holliday’s team. If the Herd runs the table, it should have no trouble being ranked ahead of the teams in the MAC (preseason favorite: Bowling Green) and Sun Belt (preseason favorite: Louisiana Lafayette). The Mountain West favorite, Boise State, could be a problem. There’s also whatever team — favorites: Cincinnati, East Carolina and Central Florida — that emerges from the American Athletic Conference.
The Herd, however, has a real shot here.
We’ll see if it takes advantage.
n I found it interesting to hear WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen say at the Big 12 media days that “the days of rolling through the Big East and being able to play in a BCS game are long gone.”
The reason I found it interesting is, save for a couple seasons, it sure didn’t seem like the Mountaineers “rolled” through anything. My memory told me WVU had to work hard to achieve success.
So I went back and checked. And, in a way, yes, West Virginia did roll. From 2005 to 2011, the Mountaineers’ worst league record was 5-2. Perhaps oddly, WVU was 5-2 its last six football seasons. It had two undefeated league records, posted in 2005 (when it went to the Sugar Bowl) and 1993 (again when it went to the Sugar). The Mountaineers won seven Big East football championships.
Here’s where you get tripped up, though. Of those seven titles, five were shared. (WVU did represent the league in the postseason four of those five times.)
Overall? West Virginia was 93-51-1 in 21 Big East seasons. That’s a winning percentage of 64.1. The Mountaineers’ average league record was 4.4-2.4. Both are very good. I’m just not sure if that qualifies as “rolling.”
n One piece of news to bubble from the Big 12 football media days was that four Mountaineers are not yet eligible for upcoming practice.
For WVU fans that’s no cause for alarm, but the news wasn’t good, either. There’s been hope that one of the signees, Jaylon Myers, could provide immediate help in the secondary. He’s a junior college transfer. And not only is he a junior college transfer, but he’s an All-America junior college transfer. Last season Myers had eight interceptions in 12 games.
Also, that Dontae Angus hasn’t made it through the NCAA Clearinghouse should be of concern. You might remember he was the player who flipped from Florida to WVU at the last minute. With a glaring need at offensive line, adding the 6-foot-6, 330-pound Angus was a big deal. Justin Scott, who hasn’t made it out of his junior college, is another offensive lineman.
n And finally . . .
Clint, Clint, Clint.
I have your back on your controversial tweet. The one that said “Watchin football with girls is literally worse than death. One bad play, ‘they suck.’ ” The one that then jokingly called your company at the time “hoes.” The one that included “#Stick2Cooking.”
I can’t lie. It’s troubling you’d even think of “#Stick2Cooking.” But I’ve talked to you. I have friends who know you. I sincerely think you were just kidding around. I know you issued an apology.
But let’s hope you learned.
First, if you’re partying — and I don’t know if you were — put down the phone. Stay away from Twitter. Stay far, far away from Twitter. Second, understand — and perhaps pass this along to your teammates — all WVU fans follow you. They will follow you until your eligibility is burned. And barbs, like texts, can get misconstrued, especially between generations.
And last, young one, if nothing else, learn this: Forget Texas. Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever mess with women.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.