Inside Marshall Sports

Conference USA: Can SMU get respect?

Writing about turnovers (both Marshall and Ohio are awful) and Conference USA for tonight/Friday … If you’re home Friday night, you may want to keep an eye on SMU at home against TCU, before a full house and then some at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, a really nice place.

I’ve often related just how far SMU is buried in the Dallas sports scene, and then I see this incredible piece of disrespect from the Dallas Morning News. … wow.

Not a good Thursday in C-USA

Ohio State 45, Marshall 7: Read my story and notebook, which were updated after our print deadline.

South Carolina 41, Southern Miss 13: The Eagles’ offense didn’t do much, either.

Florida Atlantic 32, UAB 31: Game-winning field goal was rejected.

Tulane 27, Southeastern Louisiana 21: Uh, oh. The Green Wave could wash into Huntington 1-10.

ECU chancellor transcript

This is a UCF site on the Mountain West/Conference USA talks, but it captures a radio interview in Greenville, N.C., with the chancellor of East Carolina.

Little hoops, some more footy

Catching up on basketball … I guess the Herd didn’t get LeBron, right? Hey, his clock hasn’t started yet!

The big news is this: Much of the Henderson Center projects have  been finished including the lighting. There is NO MORE BUZZING! That was the only thing more abominable than the pooch kickoff at UCF.

The 14 scholarship players could get down to 13 in a hurry. Things may or may not work out for one of the juco imports. As you know, issues can and do pop up with those … Johnny Higgins is said to be fine, though.

… Summer school went well, with players racking up a 3.1 combined GPA, but there may be a touchy issue or two among the returning crew. We’ll see…

Looks like coach Tom Herrion and AD Mike Hamrick are going to have to take a deep breath and bring in two non-Div I foes to the Cam. Good news: I’ve heard who and I can safely bet they’re better than Rio Grande, Brescia and Salem International. … and they won’t cross state lines to get here.

Back to football. I wondered where Marshall was on its opponents’ schedule — in other words, what game they’ll come off of and who they play next. The chart follows:

Sept. 2 at Ohio State (Opener. Next: Miami, 9 days later.)
Sept. 10 West Virginia (Short week, but after Coastal Carolina. Next: Maryland)
Sept. 18 at Bowling Green (At Tulsa. Next: At Michigan.)
Sept. 25 Ohio (At Ohio State. Next: At Eastern Michigan.)

Oct. 2 at Southern Miss (At Louisiana Tech. Next: East Carolina)
Oct. 13 Central Florida (UAB, on Wednesday the 6th. Next: Rice, 10 days later)
Oct. 23 East Carolina (N.C. State. Next: at UCF … wow)
Oct. 30 UTEP (Tulane. Next: SMU)

Nov. 6 at UAB (at Southern Miss. Next: East Carolina, 5 days later)
Nov. 13 Memphis (Tennessee. Next: at UAB, the Battle for the Bones)
Nov. 20 at SMU (OFF WEEK after at UTEP. Next: at East Carolina, 6 days later)
Nov. 27 Tulane (UCF. Next: Season over.)

By my count, six MU opponents will be coming off tough games. WVU is certainly not one of them — I would perforate MU officials for scheduling Coastal Carolina. East Carolina will be slogging through it when the Herd arrives in Greenville, so that makes it very interesting. Worst break: SMU getting two weeks before the Herd’s seventh trip to the Lone Star State. Ugh.

Not sure if crowds will improve at SMU, but the expectations are surely jacked up. Remember, the Herd goes to Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Nov. 20, and has yet to win in the state of Texas.

Speaking of the state of Texas, my trolling for UTEP news was sidetracked by an item about a stray bullet hitting the campus from across the Rio Grande. A  geographical reference: West Paisano along the border on that end of El Paso, between the river and I-10. Part of UTEP, including Bell Hall, is high above all that. You can look off behind the pressbox side of the Sun Bowl into Juarez. … scary stuff.

Back to football: A good roundup, bearing in m ind that the Miners are ditching the 3-3-5 defense.

I might post something about Tulane, I might not. Bob Toledo may or may not be coaching the Green Wave on Nov. 27.

Around Conference USA

Remember the column I wrote in which I declared Memphis completely unfit for ascension to the BCS? One of my colleagues told me a writer down there went bonkers over it … now, the same writer capably underlines my case.

Here is what coach Larry Porter had to say about the Tigers’ second scrimmage. We’ll have to take his word for it.

On to bigger and better teams, namely Central Florida. Marshall’s near-annual QB controversy is only simmering, it seems, but UCF has a full-blown brouhaha. And if you need another reason to bust on the Knights’ basketball team, here you go.

At Southern Miss, season ticket sales were 10,109 as of last week, but expected to top the 10,908 of last year. Thought those figures were a little bit higher, but … Here’s a look at the Golden Eagles’ QB situation.

At East Carolina, a wrap of the Pirates’ Saturday scrimmage.

Hey, who’s the starting QB at UAB?

More coming later today …

Checking the opposition

Southern Miss: As if the Golden Eagles needed it, a converted safety is blossoming as linebacker.

East Carolina: With the long, drawn-out Patrick Pinkney era over, the Pirates have a 3-man QB race.

UCF: With Brynn Harvey out, the Knights are grooming several running backs. Harvey could be back by mid-September, at last glance.

Ohio State: Jim Tressel just might … maybe … open up the playbook … at some point?  Also an update on the construction of Ohio 315, which runs by the stadium.

Bowling Green: Sophomore Matt Schilz appears to be closer and closer to winning the starting QB job. Note the placekicking item toward the end.

(May update later…)

Worn-out Conference USA issue

Upon rereading ESPN’s account of Conference USA media day, I shake my head.

And not just at my not being there to react on the scene. I have learned to with with that.

But I must say: The whole hullabaloo over C-USA not producing a “BCS Buster” is at once worn-out and worrisome.

A word about Boise State: Yes, the Broncos have done a tremendous job building the program. But they have been helped by playing in a conference loaded with Tulanes. It has been my experience that when a team runs the table within its conference, the rest of the league is (usually) not up to snuff.

I wouldn’t mind the 9-game league schedule not because it would produce a BCS buster — it won’t — but because nonconference scheduling is such a royal pain. Every other year, it will usually improve your home schedule.

But I see the economic arguments for staying put.

Here’s a worry I have about “trying” to bust the BCS: If Houston (or whoever) is 7-0 in the league and trying to score a late touchdown in its final game, does the league have too much of an interest in the Cougars winning? And does that somehow translate to the officiating?

One good thing about that: C-USA entered into the CFO West compact, which should blunt that possibility. I’ve long thought the assignment of officials should not be performed at the conference level.

One more thing: Wouldn’t it be nice if a C-USA team would beat SEC No. 5 in the Liberty Bowl first?

Ready for some … status quo?

Fresh off the wire…

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott says Texas has turned down an invitation to leave the Big 12 and join his conference.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Scott confirms that Texas has rejected the Pac-10’s offer.

The news first was reported by The Dallas Morning news.

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I’m thinking realignment is over for the time being. I’m guessing the Big Ten is holding out for Notre Dame to come to its senses, and then it would pick off a Big East team. For now, nothing more.

Conference USA stays intact…

Kiel taken, other items

Herd senior Ryan Kiel was taken in the 37th round of the MLB draft, joining junior Kevin Shackelford and recruit Aaron Blair of Las Vegas. The latter two were picked in the 21st round, so the dilemma begins (and Jeff Waggoner sweats).

Tyler Gatrell could well land a free-agent deal, so he could end up in the minors this summer as well… 

Chuck Neinas was rehired by Conference USA to guide the league through the next minefield of realignment. He has received considerable credit for shepherding Marshall into C-USA, a marriage that wasn’t automatic, contrary to popular belief.

Here is the list of Conference USA players taken in the MLB draft (incoming recruits are NOT included):

Rd.	 Player	   Pos.	  School	  MLB Team
3	Rick Hague	SS	Rice	        Washington Nationals
3	Rob Segedin	3B	Tulane	        New York Yankees
8	Kyle Roller	DH	East Carolina	New York Yankees
10	Blake Kelso	SS	Houston	        Washington Nationals
13	Michael Goodnight RHP	Houston	        Cleveland Indians
14	Diego Seastrunk	C	Rice	        Cleveland Indians
16	Ryan Fraser	RHP	Memphis	        New York Mets
16	Chris Wallace	C	Houston	        Houston Astros
17	Preston Claiborne RHP	Tulane	        New York Yankees
18	Jimmy Comerota	IF	Rice	        Arizona Diamondbacks
20	Chad Mozingo	OF	Rice	        Washington Nationals
20	Luke Stewart	1B	UAB	        New York Mets
21	Scott Copeland	RHP	Southern Miss	Baltimore Orioles
21	Owen Dew	  RHP	UCF	        Cleveland Indians
21	Kevin Shackelford  RHP	Marshall	Milwaukee Brewers
23	Drew Martinez	OF	Memphis	        New York Mets
23	Shane Brown	OF	UCF	        New York Yankees
25	Mike Ojala	RHP	Rice	        Florida Marlins
26	Ty Stuckey	LHP	Houston         Cincinnati Reds
26	Chris Duffy	OF	UCF	        Philadelphia Phillies
31	Stephen Sultzbaugh OF	Rice	        Arizona Diamondbacks
32	Todd McInnis	RHP	Southern Miss	Oakland A's
33	William Kankel	LHP	Houston	        Milwaukee Brewers
34	Dustin Harrington  SS	East Carolina	Chicago Cubs
36	Jared Rogers	RHP	Rice	        Florida Marlins
37	Ryan Kiel   	  LHP	Marshall	Seattle Mariners
38	Nick Graffeo	LHP	UAB	        Kansas City Royals
38	Jared Ray       	RHP	Houston	        Minnesota Twins
39	Ryan Woolley	RHP	UAB	        Texas Rangers
41	Seth Maness	RHP	East Carolina	Florida Marlins
48	Devin Harris	OF	East Carolina	San Francisco Giants