HUNTINGTON - The dust has barely cleared on the 2018 football season, but Marshall fans can go ahead and start solidifying their plans for the 2019 campaign.
Marshall's 2019 schedule features seven home games, including non-conference contests at Joan C. Edwards Stadium against Ohio and Cincinnati in September before Conference USA action gets underway.
Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said the schedule, which was released by Conference USA on Thursday, is a solid mix of action-packed games at home while also offering five road trips with fun destinations for Thundering Herd fans.
"It's an excellent schedule," Hamrick said. "We've always tried to get seven home games. Some years it works out and some it doesn't. It's a good college football schedule for Marshall University and the fans. You get opportunities to go to Houston, Boca, Charlotte, Nashville and a unique trip to Boise State, too."
Marshall's season gets underway at home on Aug. 31 when FBS member VMI comes to Huntington in a matchup of former Southern Conference foes.
In the next week, the Herd takes its longest haul in recent memory when the team heads to Idaho to take on Boise State in a matchup of teams who are among the most successful Group of Five teams in FBS. It will be the Herd's first trip to Idaho since the 1987 Division I-AA Championship game in Pocatello, Idaho.
Marshall's final two non-conference games will each be fan favorites, as well as regional matchups, against Ohio and Cincinnati.
The Bobcats make the short trek from Athens, Ohio, to Huntington on Sept. 14 in the resumption of the Battle for the Bell series.
After a week off, Cincinnati visits Joan C. Edwards Stadium for a Sept. 28 contest that closes out non-conference play.
Those final two opponents are each coming off of impressive seasons. The Bobcats finished 9-4 on the year and capped their season with a 27-0 win over San Diego State in the Frisco Bowl. Cincinnati finished the 2018 season ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press poll after an impressive 11-2 record that included a 35-31 win over Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl. Cincinnati defeated Ohio, 34-30, in the 2018 regular season.
"We're back with our rivalry with Ohio, which is always good, and you bring in Cincinnati, who finished 23rd or 24th in the nation," Hamrick said. "That's two quality opponents at home to wrap up non-conference action."
Conference USA play has the Herd alternating road and home contests the rest of the season, which means no long stretches of being away from Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Marshall's Conference USA slate also gets off to an exciting start as the Herd travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on 2018 C-USA East Division champion Middle Tennessee on Oct. 5 at Floyd Stadium. The Blue Raiders came into Huntington and earned a win this year, which ended up giving them the edge needed to represent the East Division in the Conference USA Championship.
The Herd's first C-USA home date is an Oct. 12 matchup with Old Dominion, which proceeds another pivotal East Division battle that takes place on Oct. 19 when Marshall travels to meet Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla.October's slate ends with a home contest against rival Western Kentucky on Oct. 26.
The final stretch run of the season features both of Marshall's crossover opponents, starting with a Nov. 2 road trip to Houston to take on Rice.
Marshall caught a break with its off-week occurring after the lenghty Texas trip. The Herd returns to action on Nov. 16 when it takes on Louisiana Tech in the annual Memorial Game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The Herd heads to Charlotte on Nov. 23 for its final road contest before meeting FIU in the regular-season finale on Nov. 30, which falls on Thanksgiving weekend.
Should Marshall win the East Division, the Conference USA Championship game takes place on Dec. 7.
Marshall 2019 football schedule
Aug. 31 - VMI
Sept. 7 - at Boise State
Sept. 14 - Ohio
Sept. 28 - Cincinnati
Oct. 5 - at Middle Tennessee
Oct. 12 - Old Dominion
Oct. 19 - at Florida Atlantic
Oct. 26 - Western Kentucky
Nov. 2 - at Rice
Nov. 16 - Louisiana Tech
Nov. 23 - at Charlotte
Nov. 30 - FIU