CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It was only a matter of time before the waves of conference realignment crashed onto the shores of the Ohio River again.
Who'd a thought it would be a Green Wave, though?
The ripple effect of Maryland and Rutgers abandoning the ACC and Big East, respectively, reached Conference USA early Tuesday. Marshall lost longtime rival East Carolina, which is joining the Big East in football only starting in 2014, and Tulane, a surprising all-sports addition to the Big East.
That means six of the 12 teams competing in Conference USA football and basketball this season are set to leave the league after this season or next.
Don't fret, Herd fans.
Here's a 14-team scenario that looks like an intriguing and geographically-appealing conference, provided there's no more trickle down from the major players when - not if - Cincinnati, Connecticut and Louisville relocate.
How about Marshall in a seven-team division with Charlotte, FAU, FIU, Old Dominion, UAB and either Middle Tennessee State or Western Kentucky? MTSU, by the way, makes more sense, especially if you're in the belief that television markets carry clout beyond the power conferences (That's you, Nashville).
The West Division could then boast Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UTEP and UTSA.
FAU - that's Florida Atlantic University located in Boca Raton - and Miami's FIU (Florida International University) will give Marshall's football program a guaranteed trip to the Sunshine State every year. FIU one year, FAU the next.
All those southern Florida speedsters can play in front of family and friends four times in four years, not counting bowl games. That's a nice little recruiting pitch for Coach Doc Holliday.
ECU's departure stings - it was a cherished rivalry for Marshall, one strengthened by the programs' bond over the MU plane crash in 1970 - but Herd Athletic Director Mike Hamrick could broker a home-and-home non-conference series there.
No one seems to be reeling from the loss of Tulane, which has 10 consecutive losing seasons in football and a .435 winning percentage in hoops since the turn of the century. The Green Wave is 9-39 in Conference USA men's basketball games the last three seasons.
The New Orleans market, by the way, is No. 52, according to the 2011-12 Nielsen rankings.