Next Saturday, Marshall will take on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in their opening game of the 2020 season. Oddly enough, this will also be the case for the West Virginia Mountaineers when they open their season against the Colonels the following weekend.
As Mountaineer fans, our knee-jerk reaction is to root against the Herd anytime they take the field. However, in the case of next Saturday’s game for the Herd, I believe we should pull for Marshall to take down the Colonels in Huntington.
When the Colonels visit Morgantown, they will do so without having to play in a hostile environment. Last week, WVU announced that no fans will be allowed in the stands for at least the season opener. Though many do not expect it to be, losing the crowd as a factor could potentially be huge. If Eastern Kentucky is coming in with any momentum at all — particularly with a win over a FBS program under their belt — the Mountaineers could be in for a fight.
If the Herd can knock off the Colonels in week one, it will take the wind out of their sails. Any sort of momentum that Eastern Kentucky could potentially have coming into Morgantown would be short-circuited, and the emotions of the team would be in question. In a game without fans, the energy of a team will play a large part in how well the team competes. If Eastern Kentucky is coming in off of a loss, a hangover from their previous defeat could likely linger into their matchup against WVU.
It may be difficult to do, but pulling for Marshall is the right move here. West Virginia needs as many balls to bounce their way as possible before taking the field in front of an empty Milan Puskar Stadium. Yes, the Mountaineers are far more talented than Eastern Kentucky, but as the saying goes, “any given Saturday.”