Herd, Va. Tech could meet on Dec. 1

November 18, 2018

HUNTINGTON -For weeks, there was a looming question around the halls of the Shewey Building at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

That question: ‘Will Marshall add a 12th game to replace the lost South Carolina contest?’

The answer could become more definitive in the next two days.

Mike Barber of The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that multiple sources have confirmed Marshall and Virginia Tech have been in discussion for a Dec. 1 matchup.

Such a matchup would likely be a noon contest at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va., according to Marshall sources.

An announcement is expected on Sunday to clarify the matter, but it is all contingent on Virginia Tech’s scenario entering the final week.

The Hokies are currently 4-5 on the season with two games left: Saturday’s contest against Miami and next week’s Friday bout against Virginia.

Should the Hokies split those games, they would be at five wins, which would leave them one win shy of a 26th-consecutive bowl appearance.

In that scenario, Marshall and Virginia Tech would meet at Lane Stadium in the aforementioned Dec. 1 matchup.

Should Virginia Tech win or lose both of its final regular season games, the need for such a contest would be unnecessary.

Regardless of what happens Saturday, the answer will not be definitive until next Friday’s Virginia Tech-Virginia matchup at Lane Stadium.

Both teams explored the option for the Dec. 1 contest after having Sept. 15 games canceled due to Hurricane Florence. Virginia Tech’s matchup with East Carolina was called off, as was Marshall’s road game at South Carolina.

Discussions about a potential 12th game for Marshall started to heat up following a loss at Southern Miss, which essentially eliminated Marshall from the Conference USA East Division race.

Even though Marshall still could finish tied atop the division with a win over UTSA Saturday, a win at FIU next week and a Middle Tennessee loss to UAB next week, the tiebreaker formula for Conference USA ends any chance of the Herd representing the division.

Tiebreaker stipulations include factors such as cross-divisional record and where Marshall’s loss was to Southern Miss, that snags the Herd. There was also a quirky stipulation that, if all factors remain tied in the tiebreaker, the spot goes to the team who has been in the championship game the least recent.

Marshall was in the Conference USA title game in 2014 while Middle Tennessee and FIU have never been, which would eliminate the Herd and revert the tiebreaker back to a two-team, which goes to head-to-head.

The Herd’s matchup with South Carolina carried a $1.4 million paycheck and an insurance policy through Conference USA, which guarantees the money, so the Herd will at least not lose money by replacing that game.

The insurance policy guarantees the $1.4 million minus expected expenses that would have been incurred for trip costs. If the financial agreement with Virginia Tech is less than that final number, the insurance policy will cover the rest to insure no loss of revenue.

While the financial side is taken care of, such a move by Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick could be a scheduling coup for the future.

It is expected that, in return for the potential Dec. 1 matchup with the Hokies, Marshall could receive scheduling considerations for the future, which may bring Virginia Tech to Huntington once again.

Virginia Tech leads the all-time series between the teams, 10-2. The last meeting was a 29-21 win by the Hokies in a soggy triple-overtime thriller at Lane Stadium.

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