Hurricane Florence is taking no prisoners in the Carolinas and surrounding areas, but its impact has also affected college football teams such as the Marshall Thundering Herd, among many others.
Marshall became another college football team in a relatively long line of teams to be affected by Hurricane Florence Wednesday when the Herd’s game at South Carolina, originally scheduled for Saturday night, was canceled due to the pending impact of Hurricane Florence to the Columbia, South Carolina area.
Safety comes first in situations like this and the consensus is this was the correct decision for all parties involved. However, in terms of the 2018 season, it leaves a gap in Marshall’s schedule with only 11 games on the regular season schedule now.
The Herd’s next game will take place Sept. 22 at home against North Carolina State of the ACC, a team that had its game canceled on Saturday as well. The Wolfpack was set to host the West Virginia Mountaineers before heading to Huntington, West Virginia to battle Marshall.
But with the South Carolina game being canceled, Marshall’s non-conference schedule now has only three teams. This has led to chatter of a potential replacement game for the Herd later in the season when the team’s regularly-scheduled bye week is set to take place.
Marshall’s bye week is scheduled for Oct. 27, but with the South Carolina game being canceled, that operates as an unofficial bye week in itself. That opens up the possibility of the Herd playing on Oct. 27 and there have been a few teams mentioned for possible candidates.
The East Carolina Pirates’ game at Virginia Tech on Saturday has been canceled as well and the Pirates were also scheduled for a bye week on Oct. 27 just as Marshall was. ECU has been mentioned as a possible replacement game for the Herd and given the history between the programs, that would make a lot of sense.
Another AAC team mentioned is the UCF Knights, the defending and self-proclaimed National Champions. The Knights’ game at North Carolina on Saturday was canceled and fittingly for the Herd’s sake, UCF has a scheduled bye week on Oct. 27. Could these two former MAC and C-USA foes meet up to fill in that 12th regular season game?
In more of a long shot, Nebraska has been mentioned as a possible replacement as well. Nebraska had its game with Akron canceled earlier this season and does have a bye week on Oct. 27 if the Cornhuskers wanted to take on the Herd. This is highly unlikely, but that would certainly be a big Power Five road game replacement for South Carolina.
The game would likely have to be on the road no matter if it’s ECU, UCF, or Nebraska, but all three are enticing matchups for. The Herd has a long and storied history coupled with mutual respect between ECU and has had a rivalry of sorts with UCF in the past as well. Not to mention, the Knights are national darlings as of late.
And then there’s Nebraska, one of the most storied college football programs in history that has a new head coach looking to get the program back on track. There could also be the possibility, albeit an unlikely one, that Marshall could try to schedule another FCS home game if AD Mike Hamrick can find an FCS team with a bye week on Oct. 27.
Marshall could just as easily resort to playing just 11 games in the regular season, but at least there are possibilities out there for a potential replacement game. It might cause a headache logistically down the road, but Marshall does get extra time to heal up and prepare for a huge home game with NC State on Sept. 22.
Regardless of how much confusion it may cause, canceling the South Carolina game was the right decision and putting the safety of everyone involved takes precedence over playing a game. Here’s to wishing for nothing but the best for everyone that could be affected by Hurricane Florence.