2013 C-USA Championship: Marshall vs. Rice preview, TV time, odds and more

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Thundering Herd's dominating offense lead them to victory?

Conference USA was one of the better non-BCS conferences this season, and two of the best teams square off Saturday for the title as Rice hosts Marshall. That's right, hosts -- the game isn't played on a neutral site, and because the teams didn't play each other in the regular season, computer rankings were expanded to pick a host team, with Rice winning out (despite Marshall's appearance on more poll ballots).

COMPUTER RANKINGS (Based on 125 teams, highest & lowest   dropped)

Total

% of 500 pts

RICE

49

43

54

44

points based on 125

77

83

72

82

314

0.628

MARSHALL

63

56

56

54

points based on 125

63

70

70

72

275

0.55

The numbers

Rankings and records: Neither team is ranked. Both teams went 9-3 in the regular season, with 7-1 conference records, finishing on top of their respective divisions (both a game ahead of a two-way tie for second place). Marshall holds a 3-1 lead in the all-time series, and has won the last two games between the two programs.

Vegas: Marshall is a 6-point favorite. OddsShark has more.

Weather: Mid 30s with a "light wintry mix" expected.

Three names to know

Rakeem Cato. The junior quarterback put up some gaudy statistics early on in the season, and finished the year out with 34 touchdowns against only eight interceptions (while running for six more scores).

Essray Taliaferro. It would be a mistake to assume the Thundering Herd's offense is one dimensional -- they rank 21st in the nation in both passing and rushing offense. Taliaferro is a 1,000-yard rusher and scored nine touchdownts this season.

Bryce Callahan. The junior cornerback will be tasked with stopping Cato and the Marshall attack -- he had eight passes broken up and three interceptions in the regular season.

Two things at stake

The winner heads to the Liberty Bowl to face an SEC squad.

One of the Conference USA bowls the loser could fall to? The Hawaii Bowl. Consolation prize may not be so bad in this case.

How to witness

TV: 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Radio: For Rice, try 1560 AM or 1430 AM in Houston. Here's a list of affiliates for Marshall.

Online streaming: WatchESPN. Xfinity subscribers can watch here.

Further reading

Check out Bill C's season previews for the two schools -- you can find Marshall's here and Rice's here. The Owls also played a 4'9, 135 pound running back earlier in the year, and you can see video of his first collegiate carry here.

More from SB Nation college football:

Projecting Championship Weekend: 66% chance of FSU-Ohio State

SEC Championship breakdown | Big Ten title the main event

Jameis Winston case ends in a media circus

College football news | NIU to miss BCS: Who’s taking the Sugar spot?

Long CFB reads | The night Baylor died in Stillwater

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.