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Chuck McGill: Hamrick's tweet, a Heisman ballot and a Guru champ

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick made his Twitter debut Sept. 26 (@TheHerdAD). A total of 186 tweets have been sent from his account.

Tweet No. 184 made a little noise Monday evening.

"At this moment, we are not living up to our reputation as a traveling fan base," a portion of the tweet read.

Marshall received 7,500 tickets for the Military Bowl against Maryland, which will be held Dec. 27 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.

MU ticket sales, Hamrick admitted, have been slower than anticipated. He took to Twitter to rattle the cage of the Thundering Herd's fan base.

We talked Tuesday afternoon about the motivational strategy. He stuck by it.

"We have a reputation that we travel," said the fifth-year Herd AD. "Once you lose that, it's hard to get it back. We don't want to lose that with this Military Bowl.

"We've done well, but we're not where we need to be. We've still got a ways to go this week and next week. I'm convinced our fans will continue to step it up and we'll maintain our reputation."

How well a fan base travels can leave a lasting impact, Hamrick said. Bowl directors talk to one another, and if the Herd is bowl eligible next season, interested bowls will contact Military Bowl officials for insight.

Marshall's reputation for having a fervent fan base didn't hurt when Conference USA agreed to bowl partnerships with the Boca Raton Bowl and Miami Beach Bowl.

Hamrick understands how his tweet can be perceived. His intention, however, is to protect what those before him have worked to build.

"The whole point of the correspondence was to just to point out that this is something great that we've done in the past, and now we're playing in probably the best bowl game that we've ever played.

"We have a great reputation. There are so many pluses about this bowl game. Let's not ruin that reputation."

*  *  *

THE HEISMAN Memorial Trophy was presented Saturday night, while the local sports media contingent covered the Capital Classic at the Charleston Civic Center.

Per the Heisman Trust's request, my ballot was kept confidential until Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston took the stage to hoist the 25-pound Heisman hardware.

Now that I'm in the clear, here is how my three-man ballot shook out: 1. Winston; 2. Tre Mason, running back, Auburn; 3. Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&M.

Winston is the youngest to ever take home the Heisman, and he won by the seventh-largest margin. Even though Winston was left off 115 ballots, I had plenty of nationwide company in putting him in the top spot.

My two other choices, however, barely made the cut as finalists.

My runner-up, Mason, finished sixth overall. Manziel, last year's winner, placed fifth. Mason faced five nationally ranked opponents and averaged 178.60 rushing yards per game against them.

Manziel faced four nationally ranked opponents and improved his passing numbers from his Heisman season.

They both finished behind Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, who didn't face a ranked opponent all season and only four of 13 opponents finished with a winning record. That should matter, folks. Lynch, a dual-threat QB, averaged 7.91 yards per carry against teams with a losing record, and 4.85 yards per carry against the four teams with a winning record.

The Southeastern Conference schedule Mason and Manziel saw wouldn't have been kind to the talented Mid-American Conference QB.

Lynch unseated a local, too, by finishing third in the Heisman voting - the highest finish ever for a MAC player. The distinction previously belonged to former DuPont High and Marshall University football star Randy Moss, who finished fourth in 1997.

*  *  *

THERE WAS no party, no parade and no prize.

Shoot, we didn't even publish the final Gridiron Gurus standings after the last set of football games, which included championship weekend in college and Super Six for the high schools.

So, this is Michael Dailey's recognition for finishing with the best overall record in our nine-person, season-long prognostication contest, which appeared weekly in the Charleston Daily Mail's sports pages.

Dailey, a part-time sportswriter, held the top spot wire-to-wire and finished 231-69 overall. That is a .770 winning percentage over 300 games.

Our other part-timer sportswriter, Christopher Wade, was the runner-up. He finished six games back in his Gurus title defense. Newcomer Nick Brockman worked his way onto the medal stand with third-place honors.

Preps editor Derek Taylor paced the Daily Mail full-timers in fourth. After ending Week 1 tied with Dailey atop the standings at 15-5, yours truly finished eight games back in fifth place.

No individual bragging rights for me, but three of the top five finishers are graduates of DuPont High School, so there's that.

Thanks for following along this football season.

Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at or 304-348-7949. Follow him on Twitter @chuckmcgill.



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