Inside Marshall Sports

Updated projection…

… after my ridiculous hunch pick of Houston over Memphis went down the hatch. Wasn’t bad until Memphis got embarrassed at Rice, then you knew the Tigers had to bounce back — though the Coogs were competitive.

I am still sticking with Memphis over host UTEP on Saturday, and I now think it will be for the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed. I am flipping one projected game in UAB’s favor, giving the following result:

1. Memphis 12-4
2. UAB 11-5
3. UTEP 11-5
4. Tulsa 10-6
5. Southern Miss 10-6
6. Marshall 9-7
7. SMU 8-8
8. ECU 6-10
9. UCF 6-10
10. Rice 5-11
11. Houston 5-11
12. Tulane 3-13

Tournament guess: At this minute, I am looking at Herd-Houston with the winner playing UTEP, both at 7:30 p.m. ET March 9-10. (We East Coast newspaper types are sweating out that 10 p.m. game, as usual.)

Is UCF back? New projection

Central Florida 74, UTEP 68, and it wasn’t really close.

This rubs out my projected Herd-UCF III, for now. I am on the verge of redoing the final few games because my irrational hunch picks are looking even more irrational. My ending for Houston is downright odd.

But for the minute, here’s what I have:

1. UTEP 11-5
2. Memphis 11-5
3. Tulsa 10-6
4. Southern Miss 10-6
5. UAB 10-6
6. Marshall 9-7
7. SMU 8-8
8. Houston 7-9
9. ECU 6-10
10. UCF 6-10
11. Rice 5-11
12. Tulane 3-13

New C-USA projection

Ready for Herd-UCF II and III?

1. UTEP 12-4
2. Memphis 11-5
3. Tulsa 10-6
4. Southern Miss 10-6
5. UAB 10-6
6. Marshall 9-7
7. SMU 8-8
8. Houston 7-9
9. ECU 6-10
10. Rice 5-11
11. UCF 5-11
12. Tulane 3-13

C-USA projection before Feb. 19

I nailed Southern Miss beating UTEP at Hattiesburg, but my maverick pick of ECU over Tulsa blew up in my face. That changes things in the 3-5 level, and moves my projection of the Herd to 6th. I have great confidence MU finishes no lower than 7th — and there is a decent chance of a Herd-UCF first-round tournament game.

I will flip one future game, picking ECU to win over plucky Rice. Reason: I see the Pirates tumbling down the stretch, but not losing all of their last 5.

1. Memphis 12-4
2. UTEP 12-4
3. Tulsa 10-6
4. Southern Miss 10-6
5. UAB 10-6
6. Marshall 9-7
7. SMU 8-8
8. Houston 7-9
9. ECU 6-10
10. UCF 5-11
11. Rice 4-12
12. Tulane 3-13

Projected C-USA standings before Feb. 16

First, I’m going to stick with my projection of Marshall finishing 6-2, after recovering against East Carolina … which means the Herd has exhausted half those losses. Now, I am flipping the Herd-Tulsa result, an interesting game I had going to the Golden Hurricane.

Speaking of Tulsa, two of my irrational picks of this week involved that team. I am projecting ECU to steal one out of the Reynolds Center and then Tulsa going to Dallas and taking it out on SMU. Other upset pick: Southern Miss dumping UTEP this Wednesday in Hattiesburg.

As I’ve said before, logic doesn’t always apply in a 40-minute game. Anyway, here goes:

1. Memphis 12-4
2. UTEP  12-4
3. UAB  10-6
4. Southern Miss 10-6
5. Marshall 9-7
6. Tulsa  9-7
7. Houston 8-8
8. SMU  7-9
9. ECU  6-10
10. Rice  5-11
11. UCF  5-11
12. Tulane 3-13

If the Herd pulls a 5 seed after a 3-6 start, that would be a really, really nice job.

Conference USA non-league schedules

One of our faithful fans brought up the issue, and I was curious: How to nonconference schedules within C-USA measure up to that of Marshall?

As I compiled this list, I see four manly schedules here. See if you can name them.

The Herd
at WVU
at Ohio
Virginia Tech
at Louisville

Memphis
Mississippi State
at Arkansas State
Austin Peay
at Middle Tennessee

East Carolina
South Carolina (at Charlotte)
Virginia Tech
North Carolina
at Navy

Southern Miss
Louisiana Tech
Southeastern La.
at Virginia
at Navy

Central Florida
Charleston Southern
Boston College
at Fla. International
at BYU

UAB
at Florida
at Troy
Mississippi State
at Florida Atlantic

Houston
UCLA
at North Texas
at La. Tech
Georgia State

Tulsa
at Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
at Boise State
North Texas

Rice
at Texas
Purdue
at Baylor
at Northwestern

UTEP
Stony Brook
at New Mexico State
at South Florida
Colorado State

Tulane
Southeastern La.
at Duke
at Army
Syracuse
at Hawaii

SMU
at Texas A&M
Northwestern State
at TCU
Navy

The mystery recruit

Safety D.J. Hunter, a 2009 Tennessee recruit, is enrolled at Marshall. He will join the football program for spring drills, or so is the word.

His recruitment was getting derailed by UT’s coaching change, and then by charges in January 2009 that he shot a 15-year-old in the face with a BB gun in his hometown of Middletown, Ohio. Those charges have just been resolved, I was told a few minutes ago, and he is cleared to join the program.

I’ll try to get a walk-on vs. scholarship status report.

2011 Football schedule is out

2011 MARSHALL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

• Sept. 3 at West Virginia
• Sept. 10 SOUTHERN MISS*
• Sept. 17 at Ohio
• Sept. 24 VIRGINIA TECH
• Oct. 1 at Louisville
• Oct. 8 at UCF*
• Oct. 15 RICE*
• Oct. 22 at Houston*
• Oct. 29 UAB*
• Nov. 12 at Tulsa*
• Nov. 19 at Memphis*
• Nov. 26 EAST CAROLINA*

No blogging tonight …

It’s Wednesday night, so I have an end-of-game deadline for our early edition. … Not sure if we’ll have 5K tonight. Upstairs looking light, but there are still 7 minutes left before national anthem.

March 9 arraignment date for Shaq and Kane? Who is the prankster in the Magistrate Court? Sorry, but that *must* be granted a continuance.

First, a mild correction to my game preview. UAB is indeed a half-game behind of first, not a full game. I made a quick glance at the C-USA site and the basketball home page hadn’t been fully update. But I should just memorize the standings and be done with it, right?

Anyway, I offer my first stab at projected C-USA final standings — “stab” being the operative term. I do not offer this as a basis for any cash wager.

Some conventions:
— I will take the Marshall-optimistic route and pick the Thundering Herd to go 6-2 the rest of the way. I think this team can do it and the schedule sets up for it. Look for MU to lose at UTEP on March 2 and boot one other game … not sure which, except it won’t be @Tulane.
— This will NOT be driven by the RPI. For this batch, I didn’t look at it.
— I’m leaning heavily on the home team, picking it 30 times out of 44 games.
— Upsets will happen, and some will be inexplicable. With that in mind, I will factor in a few irrational hunches. Most controversial: Memphis winning at UTEP on Feb. 26.

Here we go:
Memphis 12-4
UTEP 12-4
Tulsa 11-5
Southern Miss 10-6
Marshall 9-7
UAB 9-7
Houston 8-8
SMU 7-9
ECU 7-9
Rice 5-11
UCF 4-12
Tulane 3-13