Written by Justin Prince.
Marshall University’s full football schedule was officially released Tuesday as athletic director Mike Hamrick tweeted out the 12 game slate at noon.
“The 2018 Herd Football Schedule has arrived,” Hamrick said in his tweet. “Excited for our program and our fans. EKU to open and the Wolfpack coming to Edwards Stadium in September. FAU looks like a great homecoming matchup. Fired up.”
The Herd does open its home schedule with Eastern Kentucky on September 8th but the season opener is actually a road game with former Mid-American Conference rival the Miami Redhawks on September 1st.
Marshall then follows its home matchup with the Colonels with a trip to South Carolina before the home clash with North Carolina State.
In conference play, the Herd will open with a road trip to rival Western Kentucky before coming back home to take on Middle Tennessee State and the Blue Raiders. A trip to Old Dominion precedes the home bout with defending Conference USA champion, FAU.
Marshall then gets its bye week the following week on October 27th before taking a road trip to Southern Mississippi. The Herd’s only back-to-back home games come next as Marshall plays host to Charlotte and Texas-San Antonio before finishing the year with a visit to Florida International.
It’s a great schedule for Marshall fans as the home slate includes three of the Herd’s marquee matchups on the season, with the visit from Power 5 team N.C. State as well as visits from MTSU and FAU who, along with the Herd, will be favorites in the East division of CUSA.
Marshall’s bye week also comes at a favorable time at the end of October. By that point in the season the Herd will have played eight straight and will need a week off to heal up bumps, bruises and other injuries that are inevitable over the course of a season.
The toughest stretch of the season appears to begin on September 15th with the trip to Columbia, South Carolina, to take on the Gamecocks. That visit to the SEC school will kick off a four game gauntlet that includes the home games with the Wolfpack and Blue Raiders as well as visit to Western Kentucky to play the hated Hilltoppers.
The schedule is also a favorable one for a post-season push. Both South Carolina and N.C. State would hold a lot of weight with the playoff committee if the Herd could manage to pull off the upsets. The Gamecocks are coming off a nine-win season and a win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl, while the Wolfpack also won nine games after blowing out Arizona State in the Sun Bowl.
Florida Atlantic in conference will also provide the Herd with a chance to score a top 25 victory as the Owls are expected to begin next season either in or just outside the rankings.
Run the table with that schedule or drop just a single game and the Herd would have a strong case to be the Group of 5 representative in the Access Bowl at season’s end.