His No. 2 team, Oklahoma? The Sooners finished 15th after losing the Cotton Bowl to Texas A&M. His seventh-ranked Texas team finished 19th, while his fourth-ranked Southern Cal team imploded and finished out of the final AP poll altogether.
And failing to meet expectations isn't a foreign concept to the Herd, either. Just look at last season. The team was coming off a Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl win and just its second winning season in its last eight. It had plenty of starters returning and a number of talented young players emerging. But a team primed to take the next step took that step backward.
Marshall found out that life without a premier pass rusher like Vinny Curry and a healthy secondary isn't exactly a walk in the park. Both contributed to a defense that allowed more than 43 points per game.
That being said, Steele is right that the pieces are in place for a major rebound. Most of the components from last year's nuclear-powered offense - C-USA MVP quarterback Rakeem Cato and record-setting receiver Tommy Shuler chief among them - are back. The team has a new defensive coordinator in Chuck Heater, key defenders returning to natural positions and newcomers who should boost the unit's athleticism.
If anything should give Marshall fans reason for hope as the days until the 2013 season tick away, it's that at least one national pundit has noticed what's going on in Huntington and likes what he sees so far. After a season as disappointing as last year's, that's something decent to grab onto.
They have an even greater hope that the good feelings don't end in the pages of a preseason magazine.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.