2013 football opponents named
HUNTINGTON — The conference opponents for Marshall’s 2013 football season were released by Conference USA as the administration and the league’s athletic directors concluded their winter meetings on Tuesday in Miami.
Divisional breakdowns between the league’s 14 football members in 2013 were also announced, per release by Conference USA.
“We had extremely productive meetings and we are fortunate to have such a great group,” said Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky.
“Our new members bring added competitive strength, especially in the areas of football and basketball, and we have dramatically increased the size of our television footprint.”
For Marshall fans, the 2013 slate will provide some exciting action both at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and on the road.
In Conference USA, the Herd will play host to Conference USA rivals East Carolina and Southern Miss while also hosting UAB and newcomer University of Texas-San Antonio, who will play in Conference USA’s West Division.
When the Herd hits the road, there will be several destinations of interest for the fans to take in.
Marshall will travel to Florida twice in 2013 — one trip being to Miami where the Herd will take on Florida International and the other being to Boca Raton for the Herd to take on Florida Atlantic.
The trip to Florida International means that Marshall quarterback and Conference USA Player of the Year Rakeem Cato and wide receiver Tommy Shuler will get to play in front of their hometown fans, along with the rest of Marshall’s strong contingent of players from the greater Miami area.
“It’s very important for us to play football at Marshall in the state of Florida where we have so many kids,” Hamrick said. “So many get to go home and play in front of friends and family.”
Marshall fans will also get to enjoy a trip to Nashville when the Herd takes on Middle Tennessee State University, who joins FAU and FIU as the new members of the East division.
The Herd’s other road trip will be a trek to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane.
Hamrick said that all those destinations, along with non-conference road games at Virginia Tech and Ohio, give Marshall fans several exciting road trips to partake in as they cheer on their team.
“There’s excellent places to go to watch Marshall play football,” Hamrick said. “Like I said all along, this is a more regional conference for us. I think our fans will find the travel very friendly. Trips to Florida, Nashville and our non-conference trips are places fans and players alike will find exciting.”
In addition to the three new members of the East division, the West division adds three new members: the aforementioned UTSA, Louisiana Tech and North Texas.
The East division will have East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Marshall, Southern Miss and UAB. The West division includes Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and UTSA.
Hamrick noted that with so many teams entering and exiting the league over the course of the next three years that the schedules are stand-alone. That means the Herd could hit the road two years in a row against an opponent — most likely, one of the Florida schools.
While the situation around Conference USA is ever-changing, Hamrick added the transition with the new conference members has been a success.
“The transition has been very smooth and seamless,” Hamrick said. “The new members are excited and we are excited to have them. Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State are coming in a year early, and they feel very good about that. It’s a strong start for a new beginning.”
In addition to the conference games, the Herd also has three of its four non-conference games scheduled. Marshall will host Miami (Ohio) while hitting the road against Ohio and Virginia Tech.
The final non-conference game will be a home game against an FCS school. Speculation is that Gardner-Webb will be that final opponent, but nothing has been confirmed.