By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — If an easing of the Coronavirus pandemic allows Marshall to play a 2020 football season, the Herd may struggle to record more than a .500 record in the regular season.
That is the prediction of Caesars Sportsbook, which recently released predictions for regular season wins for all FBS football teams.
Caesars predicted that Marshall would win six regular season games this fall, which still puts it in the top half of Conference USA.
If a full season is played, Marshall has non-conference road games at East Carolina and Ohio and a pair of extra-tough home games with Boise State and Pittsburgh.
The Conference USA slate for Marshall includes home games with Charlotte, Middle Tennessee, Rice and Florida Atlantic along with road games at Old Dominion, Florida International, Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech.
Caesars predicts that Florida Atlantic and UAB will be the top teams in C-USA if there is a full schedule played. The over-under for both teams is 8 wins.
As for Marshall’s league opponents besides FAU, Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech are projected for 7.5 victories, FIU for 6 wins, Middle Tennessee and Rice for 5.5 wins and Charlotte for 5 wins. Old Dominion brings up the rear with an over-under of just 3 wins.
The projected win totals for the Herd’s non-conference opponents include 9.5 wins for Boise State, 6.5 wins for Pitt, 5.5 wins for Ohio and 3.5 wins for East Carolina.
If win projections correspond to a possible national title, look out for Ohio State, which is predicted to win 11 of its 12 regular season games, the top number nationally.
Coronavirus could bring changes to C-USA
Are there some cost-saving changes coming to Conference USA, and it could possibly mean adding some teams?
Harry Minium of odusports.com reports that Conference USA is considering a series of changes to regular-season scheduling and its championships in order to reduce costs because of the expected financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A “Futures Planning Committee” chaired by Old Dominion Athletic Director Wood Selig is meeting twice-a-week online and Selig says the committee is considering a wide variety of changes to improve the experience for athletes and to trim budget costs.
The committee includes four other athletic directors, a senior women’s administrator and a faculty athletic representative. Selig says the goal is to present athletic directors from all 14 schools with a series of recommendations by the end of April.
Conference USA Commissioner Judy McCleod says that all sports are being studied to find ways to maintain high competitive standards while controlling rising costs, especially travel costs, in a league which stretches from the Atlantic cost to extreme west Texas.
Another area of study is on the location and distribution of conference championship events.
One potential solution that has not been formally discussed would be adding two eastern members to the league to create shorter road trips and new rivalries for the eastern segment of C-USA, possibly drawing them from the Sun Belt or football-playing members of the Atlantic Sun or Big South conferences.