HUNTINGTON — Marshall fans can finally start making their college football Saturday plans in 2020.
Subject to change, of course.
On Friday, Conference USA released game times and television considerations for the entire league, which included all nine of Marshall’s currently scheduled games for the 2020 season.
“We are extremely happy with this television schedule,” Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said. “The opportunity to see the Thundering Herd on national television so many times this season is certain to be a treat for our fans.”
The first of those games is next week’s 1 p.m. contest against Eastern Kentucky, which kicks off a year in which Marshall is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Marshall plane crash, which is widely considered the greatest sports tragedy of all time.
That game has been picked up by ESPN — the lone game within Conference USA that has been picked up by the flagship station of ESPN.
Marshall has four other games that were picked up by Conference USA’s top-tier television partner — CBS Sports Network. That starts with the Sept. 19 contest against Appalachian State, a team who could be nationally-ranked when the Mountaineers travel to Joan C. Edwards Stadium for the 1:30 p.m. contest.
Another is Marshall’s Nov. 14 contest against Middle Tennessee, which falls on the 50th anniversary of the crash. That game, which will have several events surrounding it, is also set for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
Other games on CBS Sports Network include Marshall’s Oct. 17 contest at Louisiana Tech, which is a 6 p.m. kickoff, and the Herd’s Oct. 30 contest at FIU, which is a 7 p.m. prime-time kickoff. As part of the television package, that FIU game was moved from Oct. 31 to the Friday prime-time slot on Oct. 30.
One thing that Marshall fans will notice about Marshall’s six home games in 2020 is consistency. All six of the Herd’s home contests start prior to 2:30 p.m.
In addition to games previously mentioned, the Herd also has a pair of home games on Stadium — the 2:30 p.m. Homecoming matchup against Florida Atlantic on Oct. 24 nd the Nov. 21 matchup against Charlotte, which is set for 12:30 p.m.
Marshall has a third game on Stadium — that being an Oct. 10 rivalry matchup at Western Kentucky that will be a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Of note, there will be no Marshall football games that are streamed on Facebook only, which had become a norm in recent years. The only game that will be streamed is Marshall’s Oct. 3 home game against Rice, a 2 p.m. contest that will be seen on ESPN+ and ESPN3.
One game that was not included on the release was Marshall’s previously-scheduled contest with East Carolina, which was postponed on Thursday at ECU’s request due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Marshall and East Carolina are attempting to reschedule the contest for a later time this season, but doing so will not be easy.
The lone date that may have worked was Sept. 26, but it would have been contingent on Marshall and Middle Tennessee rescheduling their Nov. 14 matchup to the September date, which Middle Tennessee had open due to the loss of the contest with Old Dominion.
Marshall would have then had to travel to East Carolina for the game on the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Marshall plane crash.
While the nostalgia factor was there for such a trip, Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick preferred to have a home date for the Nov. 14 game, as has been the case in many seasons, so that fans could attend the annual Memorial Fountain ceremony before going to the game.
As it stands, any chance of Marshall and East Carolina meeting this year may be reduced to the first week in December if neither team is playing in their respective conference championship game.