Marshall, WVU will not play you again. Here are the cold hard facts why. We could talk about the wish of the fans and even politicians, but that is just not primary. Not anymore.
First, there is no such thing as automatic qualifier conferences after next year. When WVU was in the Big East, all they had to do for a BCS bowl was win their conference.
Other than conference games it was two cupcakes and an opponent that would fill your stadium. If you wanted a chance to be in the national championship game, a minimum of one of your non-conference games had to be with a ranked team.
Now each team is pretty much on their own. Winning a conference championship, even one of the "Big Five," is no guarantee of reaching the four team playoff. Five conferences and an at large? To fill one of four slots. Sorry, the committee doesn't have you ranked high enough.
WVU has to play nine conference games, five of those opponents are ranked teams. The Mountaineers only have three games left to work with. Every team wants at least one cupcake, sometimes two. Not anymore. Now you get one.
If WVU can play William and Mary, Towson and Liberty, why not Marshall? Because the "doctor" is in! Marshall is no cupcake, you're headed back to the old days when you were in and out of the top 25. So what is the benefit for WVU?
Other than one cupcake, here is what WVU requires for future non conference games; a regional opponent that fans can drive to and will fill the stadium. Marshall does that.
The opponent other than the cupcake can't hurt the strength of schedule part of your ranking. Soon, Marshall probably won't do that. Where's the problem? Marshall can fill your stadium and it's not a hard drive.
One more thing, recruiting area. WVU wants non-conference games to be with a regional opponent where they recruit. Problem. Robert Walker and a handful of others were great. But, not enough talented players live in the Huntington area. Ask coach Holliday, he goes to Florida too.
But I think you understand. New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Carolina or Ohio; all loaded with recruits. You need to play a team from there. Or two. Marshall doesn't fit that requirement and never will.
When Marshall is back, and I hope it's soon, WVU won't meet their requirements either. I wish they did, both ways. But coach Holliday will have similar requirements. Not too much top talent in the Morgantown area either.
Comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated! Care to predict the score?