Herd fans grumble that C-USA's new solid teams aren't spectacular and the ones bringing up the back of the pack make Marshall's new look conference look like small change.
But that should make the conference easier to win, shouldn't it?
The Herd went 4-4 in C-USA last season. Three of those losses came against teams on their way out the door - UCF, ECU and Tulsa. Those happen to be the conference's top three teams in 2012, combining for 21 conference wins against just three conference losses. Now that trio can beat each other up in the American in 2014.
Meanwhile, Marshall moves up the C-USA ladder without changing a thing.
On paper, Conference USA looks like a pretty winnable football conference for the Herd.
Marshall still has to brawl with ECU and Tulsa for the 2013 crown, but the Herd returns most of the important pieces of its offense and its defense should be on the mend. It should have enough weapons to contend.
And when the realignment dust settles in 2014, Marshall still should have senior quarterback Rakeem Cato, senior receiver Tommy Shuler and junior running backs Kevin Grooms and Steward Butler on its roster.
The defense has a chance to further jell under coordinator Chuck Heater. Sure, two years under Bobby Petrino should make WKU a better team, Middle Tennessee could build upon its strong 2012, and new Louisiana Tech Coach Skip Holtz didn't do too bad in C-USA his first time around. But Marshall should be growing right along with them.
College football fans want bowl games. College basketball fans want NCAA Tournament appearances. This new version of Conference USA should help Marshall achieve both. All the Herd has to do is hold up its end of the deal and win.
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.