A year ago, the Marshall Thundering Herd would be known as a “BCS Buster.” Instead, Doc Holliday‘s squad is attempting to be this year’s dark horse choice to become one of four teams invited to the inaugural College Football Playoff.
The Thundering Herd (7-0) is one of three undefeated teams, and the program is currently ranked 23rd overall in the AP Top 25. With only five games left on the regular season schedule, Marshall has plenty to overcome to be named one of college football’s Top 4 teams.
But the university and Conference USA won’t go down without a fight.
“Marshall University and Conference USA have hired an LA-based public relations firm to assist with their case to be selected to the first College Football Playoff,” Tess Quinlan of USA TODAY Sports reported.
“Brener Zwikel & Associates, which counts the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles Dodgers and Speedo as clients, sent out a release Thursday highlighting the Thundering Herd’s undefeated record, standing in the Amway Coaches Poll and their non-Power Five conference affiliation.”
The Thundering Herd’s schedule is expected to hold the program back despite a potential undefeated campaign. Marshall won’t face a single ranked opponent this season and their biggest win could eventually come in the Conference USA Championship Game.
However, the school features one of college football’s most exciting offenses and an electric quarterback.
Marshall’s offense is ranked second overall behind the Baylor Bears. The Bears only average 4.1 more yards per game than the Thundering Herd. And senior quarterback Rakeem Cato accumulated 2,135 total yards and 24 total touchdowns through seven games.
While it’s unlikely a strong public relations effort will be enough to push the Thundering Herd into this year’s College Football Playoff, the hire won’t be for naught. Marshall still trails the No. 18 East Carolina Pirates as the top program not affiliated with a Power Five conference. The highest-rated team outside of the Power Five automatically receives a bid to one of the remaining contract bowls.
Marshall’s ability to pass East Carolina in the rankings is far more important and achievable than chasing a spot in the College Football Playoff.