The Five Spot — No. 1: Western Kentucky

August 8, 2015 by Derek Redd

We started The Five Spot with the beginning of the 2015 regular season. Why not finish it with the finale?

What you won’t see in the more than half-hour of highlights in that video above is the one big lowlight for Marshall in that game — the Brandon Doughty-to-Willie McNeal 2-point conversion in overtime that sealed Marshall’s only loss of 2014. There was plenty riding on that game. Win that and the Conference USA title, and Marshall remained in contention for a major-bowl bid. Instead, the Herd shellacked Mid-American Conference champ Northern Illinois in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl.

I was asked earlier this summer whether Western Kentucky would grow into a natural rival for Marshall.

“It is already,” I replied.

WKU ruined everything Marshall was building toward last season. And now the Conference USA media is picking the Hilltoppers over the Herd for the East Division title.

This year’s game likely won’t just decide the East. I could decide the C-USA champion. I just don’t see a team in the West that can match either Marshall or WKU’s firepower. Marshall hasn’t won consecutive conference titles since winning back-to-back MAC championships in 1999 and 2000. And if both teams enter the game undefeated — there’s a much better chance Marshall does it than WKU, which has Louisiana Tech, Rice and LSU on its schedule — it could be a game that helps push the winner into the access-bowl-bid conversation. Most pundits have that bid going to Boise State. An undefeated C-USA champ might be able to create an argument if the Broncos drop a conference game.

This season, high hopes could be dashed on either side of L.T. Smith Stadium on the day after Thanksgiving.

2 Responses to “The Five Spot — No. 1: Western Kentucky”

  1. William Bobbitt says:

    And in spite of Big 10 member Perdue coming in to start the 2015 season the WKU game at year end will again be the game of the year for Marshall. A win over Perdue will give Marshall needed national attention but a win over WKU will most likely provide Marshall a leg up on a second consecutive CUSA Championship!

  2. Phil says:

    Perdue is chicken, Purdue is a Big 10 school.

    Anyway, surprised to see you even mention MU & WKU possibly being undefeated. It seems very unlikely on both fronts. MU would have to win at Ohio and FAU… Ohio in week 2 with a new QB and FAU was ahead of MU most of the game both of the last 2 years (and FAU has everybody back). But certainly true that WKU is now the rival. Huge year to see if Doc is reloading or rebuilding.

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