The Mountain State’s TRUSTED news source.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

Learn more about HD Media

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

Here are the hot-off-the-presses opinions of the day.

  • The Sun Belt has opened the door.

Not just a crack, either. There’s plenty of room for new league members to walk into the Sun Belt.

What more does Marshall University need to hear?

This is actually a viable opportunity to leave beleaguered Conference USA and join a much better league. Besides that, it presents an opportunity to save significant money in travel expenses.

What’s not to like?

That’s the opportunity Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill has floated.

“We think the Sun Belt couldn’t be in a better position for this moment,” Gill told The Associated Press. “As a league we’ve never been stronger. We certainly think that — particularly after these moves but even arguably before — we’ll be the best non-autonomy FBS conference in the country.”

Gill obviously was referring to the American Athletic Conference losing its three highest regarded members — Cincinnati, UCF and Houston — to the Big 12 in the near future. Since the Sun Belt is arguably near to equal footing with the AAC now, when the American loses that trio the Sun Belt should rank as the No. 1 league in the Group of Five.

After all, the Sun Belt had its best football season in history in 2020, as Coastal Carolina and Louisiana both finished in the final AP Top 25 poll.

The Sun Belt’s members include such longtime Marshall rivals as Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, along with Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Troy, Georgia State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State and Texas-Arlington.

The Thundering Herd obviously has a lot more in common with the Sun Belt than it does with C-USA’s far-flung membership. Joining the Sun Belt would benefit Marshall greatly.

And that possibility appears to be present.

“One of the things that we talked about is clearly if there are schools that add value to the Sun Belt, we’ll certainly consider them for membership,” Gill said. “We’re not necessarily looking to grow, but we certainly will be opportunistic.”

What more does Marshall need to hear? Let me put it like this: The days of Marshall flying its volleyball team to El Paso, Texas, are gone.

Are you listening, MU Board of Governors?

  • West Virginia University football head coach Neal Brown has a reputation for thinking outside the box.

He did again the other day and, as usual, Brown’s thinking was right on target.

“I think the college system really has flaws,” he said. “I think college football is lagging behind. High schools have scrimmages. NFL teams have preseason scrimmages and then they have dual practices. I think there is a model out there in college football that we should explore.

“I don’t know if we need to scrimmage because our numbers are so low, but I think there is a way to practice with another team, even if it’s somebody from a lower level. Just to line up and play against somebody other than yourself.”

Imagine, for example, the University of Charleston spending a few days in Morgantown, practicing with the Mountaineers and doing some light scrimmaging.

It sounds like a very good idea.

  • Marshall’s 49-7 win at Navy was fun to watch ... except for a guy named Ivin Jasper.

He was Navy’s offensive coordinator — yes, past tense. After the lopsided loss to MU and a 23-3 defeat against Air Force, Navy head coach Ken Niumatololo fired Jasper.

It’s called collateral damage.