Written by Justin Prince.
The Marshall Thundering Herd was among one of the very last bowl eligible teams to find out its post-season destination.
When the dust finally cleared on a college football’s selection Sunday the Herd was headed west to take on Colorado State (7-5) in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It was a wild process that had more twist and turns than the third act of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. The day started out of course with the selection of the nation’s top four teams for the College Football Playoff with debate raging over if it would be the Alabama Crimson Tide or the Ohio State Buckeyes that earned the fourth seed.
After that, things got crazy especially in Conference USA where it appeared that conference champion Florida Atlantic (10-3) chose to stay home and take on Temple (6-6) from the American Athletic Conference in the Boca Raton Bowl. However, late in the selection process the Temple Owls were swapped out for the Akron Zips (7-6) champions of the Mid-American Conference East division.
That freed Temple up to move across the state from Boca Raton to St. Petersburg to take on Florida International (8-4) in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
CUSA West Division champ North Texas claimed a spot in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl to take on Sun Belt champ Troy (10-2). The Trojans are also owners of perhaps the best win of the Group of Five conference teams this year with a victory over LSU.
Southern Miss (8-4) displaced from its usual post-season game in New Orleans ended up in the Independence Bowl in a spot that was left vacant by the Southeastern Conference. But, Golden Eagles fans won’t complain about a matchup against national power Florida State (6-6) who reached a bowl for an NCAA record 36th consecutive time.
A trio of six-win CUSA squads were then placed in bowl games before the Herd as Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, and Louisiana Tech all found post season homes.
The Hilltoppers head to Orlando to take on Georgia State (6-5) in the AutoNation Cure Bowl. The Blue Raiders accepted a bid to play Sun Belt runner-up Arkansas State (7-4) in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl and the Bulldogs got sent to the DXL Frisco Bowl against SMU (7-5) in Frisco, Texas.
That left Marshall and UTSA vying for a spot in either the New Mexico Bowl or the Armed Forces Bowl. In the end it was the Herd who earned the opportunity to play the Rams in New Mexico while the Roadrunners were snubbed from post-season play when San Diego State was selected to face Army in Forth Worth.
Marshall and Colorado State will play for the first ever time on December 16, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. mountain time/4:30 p.m. eastern. The broadcast of the game will be carried by ESPN.
Fans can get tickets online HERE. Tickets are $40 for seats on the Marshall sideline.