Inside Marshall Sports

Herd-WVU: Well, what do we have here?

In this rare instance, I direct you to today’s Daily Mail, where WVU’s Mike Parsons tells us how tough it is to schedule nonconference opponents.

So let me get this straight: Parsons and Ed Pastilong give the “gas chamber” look when the WVU-Herd series is announced at the Capitol, WVU partisans scream to high heaven about the governor sticking his nose into it, the hoodlum element of the fan base come to Huntington to verbally abuse Marshall fans, wreck their tailgates, let air out of tires, etc., and calls for the series to end grow louder after the Mountaineers are put in jeopardy.

All this, keeping in mind that WVU dug deep, deep, deep into the Big South to schedule a team that is currently 1-4. And I see concern about filling the schedule?

No, no, no, no, no, no. I can’t let that one go.

Of course, I’m waiting for somebody to actually defend the practice of scheduling Coastal Carolina, paying them a few dozen used helmets and a Wal-Mart gift card … You know, the “self-sustaining” athletic department has to save a buck here and there. (By the way, I’d rip MU for scheduling that game. I like the Herd’s 2010 schedule because it lacks any FCS foe.)

It’s too common a practice. A whopping 71 FCS teams have taken the field in major-college stadiums, and Appalachian State would mop the turf with about 63 of them. More than a few are worse than WVU — Alabama should be disqualified from the BCS national championship game for bringing in *Georgia State* on *Nov. 20*, ostensibly under the guise of “homecoming.” As you may know, the Panthers are just getting off the ground under coach Bill Curry, who should know better himself.

I think this would be a great time for mid-major conferences that can to go to nine-game schedules, putting more guarantee-price pressure on the big boys. Probably won’t happen, but it’s a heck of a thought.

This issue may surface in my Monday column. We’ll see.

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Haven’t written about it yet, but I did attend Marshall’s basketball practice. I have no idea, and I mean none, how well the Herd will do this season, but I know this: The coach isn’t boring … and he may have the most physical team in Herd history.

He ran practice Wednesday, and wore me out just watching him. At one point, he teaches his team about toughness, diving on loose balls, etc.

“Here we are right now.” (gently rolls ball along court, when walks over and picks it up)

“Here’s where we went to be in 9 days!” (rolls ball along court, then dives on it like a lion)

And then he gets the ball and starts yelling about last year’s team falling short of its goals. The last word I make out is “CBI” before he punts the ball over the seats in one corner. Got better hang time than Kase Whitehead, too.

Back to football, bad news for Herd fans: UCF beat the hell out of a better-than-average UAB team Wednesday night, 42-7. They looked so good, they impressed Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi, which isn’t easy to do.

Here is the Birmingham News account.