Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Here are the opinions du jour.
n Whether it is FBS, FCS, NCAA Division II or even NAIA football, winning a conference game on the road in collegiate football is never ever easy.
That’s why West Virginia University’s 29-24 win over Kansas on Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas, will be remembered as a landmark victory.
It was first-year WVU head coach Neal Brown’s initial Big 12 triumph. And, yes, it was special. But it also was something else.
“I think conference road games are particularly tough,” said Brown on the Big 12’s weekly conference call on Monday. “Our travel is always a little bit more difficult … just because of the distance we travel for our away games in conference.
“But I think anytime you go into an opponent’s stadium, where they have the crowd on their side, they have all the familiarity with their surroundings … whether it’s play clocks, turf, whatever it is. It’s difficult.”
Yet, the Mountaineers persevered. It wasn’t always pretty, but WVU still realized its ultimate goal – winning the game.
“We didn’t play particularly well on Saturday,” said Brown. “But that’s not something we’re going to dwell on. We’re going to correct it, but at the end of the day, we found a way to go on the road and win.
“Those wins are difficult. Especially on the road.”
That’s why only one other Big 12 school lost at home last weekend. TCU was upset by SMU, 41-38.
So, no, there is no such thing as a bad road win.
They’re all good.
n This is the Marshall University football program’s rubber match.
Remember the “Group of 5 Gauntlet” that began at Boise State on September 6?
It was a three-game series, which featured the Thundering Herd playing the Mountain West power first. Next, MU played Mid-American Conference leader Ohio University. Then, the “gauntlet” culminates with a game against American Athletic Conference powerhouse Cincinnati.
Well, Marshall lost to Boise State, 14-7, and, then, defeated Ohio, 33-31, so the Herd’s record is 1-1.
That means Marshall’s game against the University of Cincinnati at 5 p.m. Saturday in Joan C. Edwards Stadium is the rubber match for this “Group of 5 Gauntlet.”
Lose and the Herd will have a disappointing 1-2 record. Win and Marshall will be sitting pretty with a very strong 2-1 record.
The latter, obviously, is the Herd’s goal.
“I think it’s just important as a team because we want to win every game,” said quarterback Isaiah Green, a redshirt sophomore. “We’ll prepare like it was a conference game. It will be big if we show people that we can play with teams from other conferences.”
As Marshall head coach Doc Holliday pointed out, the Herd will have a clear picture of where it stands among the Group of 5 after these three games.
“I can agree with that,” said Green. “Out of those teams we play, all three of those teams were chosen to win their conferences. So, I feel like we can get a good view of where we stand after playing these games.”
That makes the rubber match on Saturday a very pivotal game for Marshall.
n Is there a more pretentious football program in America than Ohio State?
I doubt it.
That’s why it was so refreshing when Ohio State’s attempt to get “The” copyrighted, as in “The Ohio State,” was denied.