The second half of the football season begins Saturday at Louisiana-Monroe where FIU recorded its first Division I-A victory back in 2005, a 31-29 come-from-behind victory. Will the Golden Panthers get their first win in 22 months there as well? Can FIU get its first win before the Dolphins do? Good chance this week with Miami facing New England.
Let's see what can we make of FIU's final six games in 2007. Using our football sixth sense and without the help of the FIU Witches, which is a risky and stupid idea, but what the heck, let's set the stage for the second half of the season. We'll still include the Witches as part of rating the games. 1 witch = not likely an FIU win. 2 witches = quite possibly an FIU win. 3 witches = best chance for FIU win. Oz witch = no FIU win.
Five of the last six games are Sun Belt games so there should not be any lopsided games, but then again that was the thinking going into Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Still, if the Golden Panthers can get solid games from two of the three parts of the team (offense, defense and/or special teams), then FIU can win 3 and possibly 4 of its last 6 games starting with this Saturday's game.
First up is Louisiana-Monroe, who with the exception of its 30-13 win against Arkansas State, the Warhawks have given up plenty of points: 35, 69, 54, 24 and 31 to North Texas, who like FIU is building with a 1st-year coach. Outside of last year's game (35-0, ULM) -- which occurred after the season was shot after the brawl -- FIU and Monroe had their first two games decided by an average of 5 points. We'll have more on this game later this week..
The Golden Panthers stay in the state of Arkansas and play Arkansas State after Pig Sooey. The Indians and their Power "O" offense have always given the FIU D fits. The way the Golden Panthers have not been able to stop the run this season, logic says they won't win here. But this is the wacky Sun Belt and you never know. FIU will need plenty of offense to win here.
The road games are over after Arkansas State and the Golden Panthers host the final 3 games ever played in the Orange Bowl starting Nov. 17 against Louisiana-Lafayette. As of today, the Cajuns have one win, 38-29 over North Texas, and the least amount of points their D has allowed has been 28. In the other games, the ULL D has drawn bad lotto numbers: 31, 38, 48, 37, 29, 52.
Next up is the 6th annual Don Shula Bowl and much like last season it could get ugly, because FAU has put together a pretty good team this season with a potent offense. Plus, the Owls Florida speed will be able to match the Golden Panthers Florida speed. See FAU holding the Shula Trophy for another year.
The season finale against North Texas will not go 7 overtimes like last year's game, but it should be another close game. The Mean Green have won both games against the Golden Panthers by three points. This one could be just as close.
Roman: John Petika has been alternating in left field with Raimy Fuentes. One player who Turtle made mention of, but his sidelined right now with an elbow issue, is junior outfield transfer Jordan Karcher from Gulf Coast CC and Pennsylvannia. Karcher is 6-5, 228 and can really hit according to TT. He expects Karcher to be ready for the season.
Think there's some interest with TT & FIU baseball? By my count, there were just as many people in the stands for last Saturday's intra-squad scrimmage as there were at many of last year's games.
fiufan751: Welcome to the GPP. Besides Steven Stewart and Chris Allen, TT sees Corey Polizzano, Akeem Francis and Jorge Ramos as part of the starting pitching staff. One pitcher TT made note of as well was freshman Daniel DeSimone, a righty from Gulliver. Center field right now is being played by freshman Ty Main, who arrived at FIU from Maryland.
UltimateFIUFan: Checking the Sun Belt basketball rosters, there are several teams with big men. Middle Tennessee and North Texas each have a 6-10 center. New Orleans and Troy each have two big men. UNO has two 6-10 centers. Troy has a 7-0 and a 6-10 center. Western Kentucky has a 6-10 center. As far as FIU hoops practices they are closed.
Looking at the Louisiana-Monroe website (ulmathletics.com) you can watch Saturday's football game for $8.95.