HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- It seems the anti-BCS fervor has escalated this season with the Boise States of the world threatening to run the table and the much-ballyhooed book release of "Death to the BCS" earlier this month.
So, Marshall players are talking about playoffs this week, something that might befuddle everyone from Jim Mora to the average Thundering Herd fan. But, there is a method to their madness, even if it's not March.
The math is simple. There are five football games remaining on Marshall's 2010 schedule. The team is 1-6, but can obtain conditional bowl eligibility by navigating the next five Saturdays unscathed and evening its overall record.
"We have to take the rest of the season as a playoff," Herd offensive lineman Chad Schofield said. "Playoff atmosphere, playoff feeling. Isn't that what all college football fans want is that playoff at the end of the season?
"Right now we have that opportunity. We can still become bowl eligible."
OK, so that isn't exactly going to carry Herd fans on a trip down Memory Lane, back to a time when Marshall was an annual favorite in I-AA bracket challenges. The players, however, cannot take back the past seven games, so they are looking at the next one - and they hope the four thereafter - as elimination games.
"We have five chances left and it starts this Saturday," said quarterback Brian Anderson, referring to Marshall's home game against UTEP (5-3, 2-3) at 3 p.m. "Especially for us seniors, each game could end our season as far as getting to that bowl game."
The Herd has played seven games - four on the road - against teams that competed in bowl games last season. It completes the regular season with UTEP, Memphis, UAB, Southern Methodist and Tulane - a group of teams Marshall went 4-1 against last season.
The lone loss? UTEP, a 52-21 season ending beating in El Paso that occurred less than 24 hours before former coach Mark Snyder handed in his resignation.
"We went down there and they really put it to us," Anderson said. "They just came out in the second half and really put up a lot of points. We weren't able to keep up with them."
That loss on the final Saturday in November dropped Marshall to 6-6, which is the new goal for the 2010 version of the Herd in a season of fluid expectations.
UTEP is one away from that coveted sixth win, but those victories have come against Rice, New Mexico, Memphis, New Mexico State and Arkansas Pine Bluff. Those are teams with a combined record of 8-28, and half of those wins belong to the Pine Bluff Golden Lions of the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the FCS.
UTEP has just one road win - against the winless Lobos, a team that has lost by an average of 30 points per game this season.