Marshall and Colorado State show us the future of college football - the little guys are going to get screwed
SEC bias? Try Power 5 bias. Marshall and Colorado State show us the future of college football - the little guys are going to get screwed.
If a college football outsider took a look at Florida State's schedule this year they would notice one thing - the competition has not exactly been strong. Take a look at Ohio State's schedule and you see much of the same. And while it's hard for any sane person to make a case for Marshall's strength of schedule in 2014, ranked 141st by the latest Sagarin ratings, the Thundering Herd (10-0) have done exactly what they have been asked to do - win, and do so convincingly. Something everyone else in the nation minus Florida State has been unable to do to.
Looking at the case for the Marshall Thundering Herd, the dismantling of Conference USA in the past couple of years certainly has done the Herd no favors. Heck, they'd be better off back in the MAC. As a whole, C-USA can boast only 4 of 13 teams with a winning record and not a single other team in Marshall's East Division. While Marshall had wins over two potential bowl team in Ohio (5-5) and Akron (4-6) in their non-conference slate, they obviously did not take on any big challenges. Meanwhile, the C-USA schedule has yet to test the Herd at all - their closest conference game was a 49-24 win over Middle Tennessee (5-5). However the only other win over a team with a .500 in the conference came last week over Rice (6-4) as the Herd dominated the Owls 41-14 last week.
While Marshall has back to back games with 5-5 teams UAB and Western Kentucky to close the regular season, it appears that it will be too little too late in the eyes of the committee. But if you want to get picky, and in 2014 with the scrutiny teams are under with ESPN, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NBC Sports and a plethora of blogs and fan sites claiming to be "experts" picking everyone apart, I guess the timing is right. Common opponent Southern Miss lost 49-0 to #4 Mississippi State, 52-12 to #1 Alabama and against Marshall 63-17. When facing the Florida Atlantic Owls, Marshall defeated FAU 35-16 while the top-ranked Crimson Tide won 41-0. Needless to say the Thundering Herd have stacked up comparably well with the nation's elite.
But the Marshall Thundering Herd are not the only team outside of the Power 5 conferences that seemingly is getting "screwed" by the new system. The Colorado State Rams sit at 9-1 on the season with their lone loss to perennial winner Boise State. The Rams play in a stronger Mountain West Conference, 5 of 12 teams have winning records and 4 teams in the Mountain Division - Colorado State included - have 8+ wins. That is even better than the Big Ten where 4 of 14 teams have 8+ wins, the ACC where 3 of 14 teams have 8 wins or more and the Big 12 where 2 of 10 have reached 8 wins to date. Colorado State also has wins over Boston College (6-4, ACC) and fellow MWC members Utah State (8-3) and Nevada (6-4).
As we look at all of the facts, the fantastic records, the margins of victory, the strength of the conferences lets keep one thing in mind. Nobody here is claiming Marshall or Colorado State is a College Football Playoff Top 4 contender. In our this week's version of the 2014-2015 bowl projections we have Marshall facing Georgia in Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the Selection Committee bowl games - certainly a great stage for the Herd to prove themselves. But with the 4th week of the College Football Playoff rankings now having been released and no mention of Marshall, Colorado State or anyone else outside of the Power 5 conferences breaking into the Top 25 since East Carolina's #23 rank in late October, it makes one wonder what it takes to get even the slightest bit of respect nationally in this new format. So while everyone outside of the SEC claims there is an SEC bias in the media maybe they should take a look at the real bias - the Power 5 bias.
By Michael Shull
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