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Chuck Landon: New Year's resolution for Marshall: Stop losing

Dec. 30, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

'Tis the season for toasting.

With New Year's Eve looming only one night away, many people will play the role of toastmaster and many more will raise a glass in recognition.

It is that time of year.

Maybe the glass will be filled with frothy punch -- spiked or otherwise -- at a holiday soiree. Perhaps, it will be a cocktail. And, most certainly, the bubbly is bound to flow as the clock nears midnight Monday evening and 2012 becomes a memory.

But that hasn't been the only libation during the Christmas and New Year's holidays for Marshall University's football fans.

For the last eight years, the Herd's football faithful have been in the habit of drinking the Kool-Aid this time of year.

As a new year dawns, they try to wash the bitter, disappointing taste left in their mouths by such records as 4-7, 5-7, 3-9, 4-8, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 and 5-7 with a generous glass of Kool-Aid.

It seems to work most years for most people.

The optimistic contingent of Marshall's fan base takes another sip from their glass-is-half-full philosophy and expounds on why the "wait 'til next year" mantra finally will be fulfilled.

Maybe it's the hiring of a new coach. Maybe it's the arrival of a new quarterback. It even could be the departure of a defensive coordinator and the unbridled optimism that the next guy has got to be better.

Or, perhaps, it's a commitment from a marquee prospect or two, which always titillates the recruitaholics in the crowd.

Whatever the reason, Marshall's football fans have been sipping the kelly green-colored Kool-Aid patiently for eight consecutive New Year's.

Sometimes they have had to swallow hard. As if a football-sized lump was in their throats.

This is one of those years.

Which supplies the necessary impetus to pose this timely question: Are Marshall's football fans going to drink the Kool-Aid yet again?

It's a valid query.

Just consider the circumstances.

Marshall's football program has posted losing records in six of the last eight seasons. The once-proud Herd has stumbled its way to a very unsuccessful cumulative record of 40-57. And MU capped this eight-year slide toward mediocrity with arguably the most disappointing season of all in 2012.

So, I ask you, Marshall fans, is it really time to quaff the Kool-Aid for a ninth consecutive year?

I think not.

Support the Herd like zealots. Purchase football season tickets. Show up at "The Joan" in your kelly green and make her proud. Re-invent the Edwards Stadium home field mystique and make it the toughest venue in Conference USA for visiting opponents.

But just say no to the Kool-Aid.

Enough is enough.

Sip from the cup of accountability instead. The time has come for that. I suggest making it your New Year's resolution.

Marshall was the winningest football program in the country in the 1990s. The Herd served as Boise State's blueprint. MU posted 21 consecutive non-losing seasons.

It is time to reclaim that heritage.

That means no excuses, no yard passes and, most of all, no Kool-Aid.

It means not putting on those kelly green-colored glasses just because Marshall recruited a four-star wide receiver, a junior college defensive end and a juco free safety.

Maybe they are really talented. That isn't the issue. If talent were the crux of the matter, Marshall wouldn't have been 5-7 last season.

Remember that with a timely toast.

Here's to a successful 2013 football season or we want to know the reason why not.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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