HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Conference USA and Marshall University released the 2011 Thundering Herd Football schedule Thursday.
Marshall will face eight teams that advanced to bowl games a year ago, including home games against perennial Atlantic Coast Conference power Virginia Tech and Conference USA rivals Southern Miss and East Carolina.
Every game on the 2011 slate is also currently scheduled to be played on a Saturday pending television selections.
"This is arguably the most difficult football schedule Marshall University has ever faced," Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick said. "This is an unusual year where we only have five home games and in the future our goal is to have six or more home games each year."
The Thundering Herd opens the season by traveling to West Virginia University for the annual "Friends of Coal Bowl" on September 3.
Marshall's home opener will be against Conference USA East Division rival Southern Miss on September 10.
Marshall then travels to long-time rival Ohio for the "Battle of the Bell" on September 17, before returning home to take on defending ACC Champion Virginia Tech on September 24.
"This is a challenging schedule without a doubt," Head Coach Doc Holliday said. "We have to play the cards that we are dealt and we cannot let a day go by that we do not get better as a football team in order to meet the challenges ahead."
Marshall is then scheduled for back-to-back road games. The Herd will travel to Big East member Louisville on October 1 and to defending C-USA Champion UCF on October 8.
The Herd will host Rice on October 15 and travel to Houston on Oct. 22, before returning home on October 29 to face UAB. Marshall then faces back-to-back road games at Tulsa on November 12 and at Memphis on Nov. 19 before hosting East Carolina in the regular season finale on November 26.
Game times and television coverage will be announced at a later date.
Sept. 3 at West Virginia
Sept. 10 SOUTHERN MISS*
Sept. 17 at Ohio
Sept. 24 VIRGINIA TECH
Oct. 1 at Louisville
Oct. 8 at UCF*
Oct. 15 RICE*
Oct. 22 at Houston*
Oct. 29 UAB*
Nov. 12 at Tulsa*
Nov. 19 at Memphis*
Nov. 26 EAST CAROLINA*