In fact, nine of Marshall's 12 opponents advanced to the post-season a year ago. In addition to this the Thundering Herd will have three appearances on the ESPN family of networks, with more nationally televised appearances to be announced on CSTV at a later date. "I believe this is an attractive and highly competitive schedule," said Marshall Director of Athletics Bob Marcum. "We have six home games against post-season caliber opponents and West Virginia University will be making its first visit to Huntington in 92 years. We are also pleased to have three nationally televised games on ESPN and two of those will originate from Huntington." MU is 3-9 all-time on ESPN, 2-6 since moving up to Division I-A in 1997. It will be the first ESPN Saturday home game for the Herd since hosting Montana on the nation's sports leader for the I-AA National Championship in 1996, beating the Griz 49-29.
Marshall is scheduled to host 2006's No. 5 team in the nation, as well as the Gator Bowl Champion, in West Virginia University in the second "Friends of Coal Bowl" on Saturday, Sept. 8, before a national television audience on ESPN and what is expected to be the first complete sellout of Edwards Stadium for the intra-state rivalry. The following week, 2006 Division I-AA playoff quarter-finalist New Hampshire visits the Herd on Sept. 15 in non-conference action for the first appearance in Huntington for the Wildcats since they opened then Marshall University Stadium on Sept. 7, 1991. Also visiting Huntington will be Conference USA East Division rivals Southern Miss, who won the GMAC Bowl last year as well as the East Division; UAB, with new coach Neil Calloway, for a Thanksgiving Saturday end-of-the-regular season meeting; and East Carolina, who played in the PapaJohns.com Bowl last season. Also coming into Huntington for the first time ever are the Rice Owls under its new head coach, David Bailiff. The Owls played in the New Orleans Bowl last season, Rice's first bowl since losing to Kansas in the now defunct Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston in 1961.
"This is an outstanding schedule that should excite our fans like never before and I am looking forward to seeing a sea of green at all six of our home games," said Marshall Head Coach Mark Snyder. "I am also pleased that we have the opportunity to showcase our University with three nationally televised games on ESPN." The Southern Miss game will be played on Sunday, Oct. 21, to accommodate an ESPN2 broadcast. ESPN2 began placing college football games on Sundays last season and schools such as Louisville, Kentucky, Boise State, Rutgers and Cincinnati were featured in those games. All game times are still to be determined but it will be the first Sunday game in Marshall football history.
The road schedule is just as challenging for the Thundering Herd. Marshall is scheduled to open the season on the road at ACC power and 2006 MPC Computers Bowl Champion Miami, Florida on Sept. 1, who have a new head coach in former defensive coordinator Randy Shannon. Marshall will also travel to Big East member and International Bowl Champion Cincinnati, who the Herd last meet in the 2004 Fort Worth Bowl, on Sept. 22 before entering conference play. The Bearcats lead the all-time series 6-3-1, but this is the first regular season game for the teams just three hours apart since 1946.
In C-USA road action, Marshall will travel to 2006 Conference USA Champion, and Liberty Bowl participant, Houston for a first-ever meeting. The Thundering Herd will also have another initial meeting with the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa in Oklahoma. TU played in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl last season and won C-USA in 2005. Marshall will then look for a first win in C-USA play against East Division rival UCF, who have closed the series to 3-2 with two straight wins since the Herd and Golden Knights jumped to C-USA from the Mid-American Conference in 2005. The Herd will then make a second visit to Memphis in a contest slated for Tuesday, Oct. 2 that will also be on ESPN2 national television. The Herd beat the Tigers in Huntington last season. MU is 12-9 all-time on ESPN2, including bowl wins over Cincinnati in 2000 and East Carolina in 2001, but has lost its last five appearances on "The Duece."
The Marshall University ticket office has already mailed out 2007 football season ticket renewals to Big Green Members and renewals for season ticket holders are scheduled to be mailed this week.
2007 Marshall Football Schedule (times tba)
Saturday, Sept. 1 at Miami (Fla.)
Saturday, Sept. 8 WEST VIRGINIA (ESPN)
Saturday, Sept. 15 NEW HAMPSHIRE
Saturday, Sept. 22 at Cincinnati
Tuesday, October 2 at Memphis (ESPN2)
Saturday, October 13 at Tulsa
Sunday, October 21 SOUTHERN MISS (ESPN2)
Saturday, October 27 RICE
Saturday, November 3 at UCF
Saturday, November 10 EAST CAROLINA
Saturday, November 17 at Houston
Saturday, November 24 UAB
All dates are subject to change. HOME GAMES IN CAPS.