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All Quickening On The Western Front

Two weeks ago, you got an updated view and notes on the west side of the new FIU Stadium. Here are some more photos and news after the most recent visit to the Crown Jewel. Again with all of these photos, I have enlarged them as much as the blog program allows, but you can enlarge them even more on your PC. So, please do so.

The concrete for the concourse on the west side of the stadium has been set and here are some photos Atopnwcorner_2 standing atop the west concourse. This first one on the left is from the northwest corner of the stadium.

The next photo on the right is the view of the club suites from the furthest corner of the west concourse. You can't go any further on the west concourse than this point until they build the north side of the Nwcornerclub stadium.

Here below left is shot from atop the west end zone. As you'll notice from the photo, even from the last row of the seats in the W end zone, the Atopwestendzone_2 view is pretty good.

From the furthest point on the northwest part of the concourse, you can see where the old east scoreboard -- which will become the west scoreboard -- is currently residing, behind the north bleachers. You have to enlarge this photo on the right to see the old scoreboard. Oldscorenwcorner

Behind the southwest corner of the west concourse, you can see lying on the ground the frame for the new field lights and the poles that the lights will be attached to.

The 4 poles (1 for each corner of the stadium) are 140 feet in height and each pole contains 60 light fixtures. Was told that for football games only 48 light fixtures are need per pole, but FIU got 60 lights per pole, because that's the number of lights needed per pole for pro soccer. So when the Golden Panthers kick it off Litepole against South Florida 12 light fixtures will be turned off per pole. For those scoring at home or if you're hobby is light poles, FIU baseball stadium's light poles are 94 feet high and have 24 light fixtures. Here on the left is a new light pole. Not an exciting photo, but thought it would add to this tour.

Before we go down to the field to show you what's going on there -- and Sd_2 you don't have to ride in the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine to notice there's something going on in the field from the first photo -- here are some shots of the west end zone stands from two different parts of the stadium.

Here on the right is what the west stands look like from the southeast corner of the stadium.Westfromsecorner_2

And here on the left is a close up shot of the west stands from the Weststs southwest concourse. Again these west stands like the rest of the stadium's stands are right on top of the field -- big-time home field advantage.

On that photo on the left, you'll also notice the asphalt for the back of the west end zone was laid down.

That measures 7 yards from the back of the end zone to the bottom of the stands. So nobody has to Gus worry about pulling a Gus Frerotte with their helmets against the stands unless they do like Frerotte and actually go bang their helmet against Westendzonespace the wall.

This photo on the left gives you a closer and field-level look at the asphalt in the back of the west end zone.

You also can notice on this photo, the apron on the bottom of the stands has been installed. The apron is the blue paneling that is the facade of the stands around the entire the stadium. Here on the right is a shot of it Southapronclub from field-level of the south stands.

As far as the field goes, they have begun installing the foundation for the field turf. The black tarp covering the field is the very bottom layer of the new turf. Above that will be a thick layer of a sponge-like surface and then the new turf and the ground-up tires inside the new turf. The new turf is expected to be laid down at the end of the month. Below left Closeviewturf is a close-up view of the field.

On the right, below, is a shot from atop the west end zone of the bottom layer of the turf being laid down.Layturfwest

If you have followed FIU football from the beginning, then you'll remember that Halloween game against Jacksonville that former FIU running back Rashod Smith had a monster game and then a huge deluge came down, the lights on the stadium went out and down by a million points, the JU coach could have called the game, but didn't. All that was memorable, but so were the bubbles that popped up all over the old turf, because of a poor drainage system. Here on the right is a photo of a brand new drainage system that Drainbubble will not allow the field to flood or those turf bubbles to surface.

Cowgirl_3 Again that was not a sexy photo (this on the left is), but thought the drain and a future FIU Cowgirl was interesting for this tour.

                                                                                                                                                     

Just east of that drain is where the west field goal will be installed. They Fginstall have already put the base of the goal post in and here's proof on the left.

We have plenty more photos from the last visit to the stadium to get to and they will be on the next post. On that post, you'll see how the club suites are taking shape, the Panther Club, where your FIU bricks are going to be laid and a take a look at a gift for FIU baseball.

                                                                                                            

LogoGOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Pretty interesting idea from the mind of Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnelly that he relayed at Sun Belt Media Days in New Orleans. In case, you missed it here is the story: Howard's Bright IdeaHs_2

Some people might think HS is off his rocker, but I think he may be right when he says that in 5 years you won't know how the 7 Division I college football teams in Florida will be ranked. The state of Florida has the best high school football talent in the nation and all 7 of these teams make getting those players their priority. Not much left for the rest of the country. Don't see UM, UF or FSU agreeing to HS's idea, but you can bet FIU, FAU, USF and UCF would open their schedules for HS's idea.

FIU Fan: How about making the [Golden Panthers] entrance look like a giant cage? You really got the UM fans pissed off, lol. They are going off on you in the UM blog comments.

GPP: Great idea! And with the silver stands it would look like an actual cage. I'll bring it up to FIU and see what they think.

Guess, I rattled some cages with the Larry Coker/Sun Belt story. I just wrote the facts: Miami has 2 Ds college football teams, Dolphin Stadium is cavernous (Dolphins have never had a home-field advantage there) and there is no on-campus stadium in Coral Gables.

FIUPantherFan: Will they do a weekly radio show this year like they did with Strock? Also, are there any plans to broadcast basketball games this year (and I don't mean student broadcasts).

GPP: MC does not have a weekly radio show this year. Basketball broadcasts will be student radio again this season, which is not a bad thing, Andrew Julian and WRGP do a good job broadcasting FIU hoops.

Look into your crystal ball and answer Howard's question, but more specifically, regarding FIU in 5 years.

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Thanks for the tour of our new stadium, Pete! With the pictures, and your description of them, it's like being there...Once again, thank you....

On another note, I saw a thread in one of USF's boards, where, besides some of them trying to make fun of our programa and fan base, they describe the possibility of purchasing season tickets in order to have a chance to attend the inaugural game....We need to have our own fans get to buy the seats early!!!

Great tour Pete. Any idea when the seats for the club level will be put in? I want to see how it looks with the seats already there.

Awesome pictures, Pete. I can't wait to see our stadium completed.

I'd also like to mention that we saw some new FIU Football t-shirts featuring our new logo at the Champs in Dolphin Mall. We bought a couple. I believe they are 2 for $20. I am pretty sure that other Champs will have the shirts as well.

Great read Pete. I love it, thank you very much.

Regarding the cage as an entrance for our football team, I can just picture it now. We have a gate that swings upward. There are strobe lights going off from the inside and all you can see are the shadows of the players. Dry ice slowly creeps from the inside out and all of a sudden all of the lights from inside the stadium dim leaving just the lights demanding attention from inside the cage. The crowd gets louder and louder as the gate slowly opens and finally our golden panthers run out onto the field. I love it and what a start to a great tradition! Sell it to FIU like that pete!

well you do gotta say this about USF, they sure do know how to travel. i cant wait for the game.. gotta talk to my friend in the ticketing dept. to ensure my visit to that game lol

Pete the most important pic that should enlarge doesn't, pleasssse get that cowgirl to work!! haha

Ok 4-5 years from now...

1. UF (no doubt)
2. USF
3. FAU
4. FIU
5. UM
6. FSU
7. UCF

ACC ain't what it used to be, it'll always be a basketball power. FAU can drop is Schlemie dies, and FSU can catch up if Bowden dies too.

Quijote=delusional

I think 4-5 years from now it will be

1. Miami

2. Everyone else

lol its been a while since crazy cane has been out here

He's probably been busy with Sebastian

It has been awhile - not much going on right now. But when I saw Q's rankings, i had to comment. Obviously my rankings are a joke - but to think in only 5 years FIU will be ahead of UM and FSU is a little bit of a joke. And, to say the Gators are def going to be #1 is even dumber.

My non biased opinion of Florida's football schools in 5 years:

UM 1
FSU 2
UF 3
FIU 4
USF 5
UCF 6
FAU 7

Just a thought, is it at all possible that in 4 to 5 years that USF, UCF, FAU and FIU are all playing in the same conference ?

If so my guess would be the BIG EAST.

- total of 12 teams, split in 2 divisons
- Addition of 2 major media markets

As long as $$ is factor in conference alignments and adjustments, there would be great interest in Orlando and South Florida to host games against WVU, Louisville, Rutgers, Pitt etc on a yearly basis.

Television ad revenue in Orlando and Miami/Fort Lauderdale could be a compelling factor for the networks (ESPN and ABC) which I believe broadcast most of the BIG EAST games...

From a business standpoint, it's a no brainer to have Rutgers play against a Florida opponent (NJ/NY metro market and South Florida) combined brings in how many viewers ??? Couple million ?? How many watch Rutgers vs. Syracuse ??? or UCONN vs. Pitt ??

I'd don't know, but if am a BIG EAST official, I'm looking at expansion and teams that could boost the conference overall. UCF, FIU, and FAU have the right climate and potential to elevate the BIG EAST as an elite conference. This has to be a goal down the line...

Here are going to be the rankings in 4-5 years

1) Florida - They have the best foundation
2) Miami - Its still the U and Shannon will build
3) USF - Has all the resources and the right staff
4) FSU - When will the re-surgance come?
5) UCF - Will DOMINATE C-USA for years to come
6) FIU - When the Big East wants to go to 12 for football, where will they look first...
7) FAU - Whoever the next coach is might have some trouble keeping up with MC

As a admitted bias fan towards UM - I think AJ's forcast is pretty reasonable and well thought out. Though I would hate for UF to be ahead of any of the schools, Urban Meyer has done a good job there.

glad to see you still havent lost your sense of humor CC

AJ your % year plan is well thought out however, i do think that FIU will be seated # 5 or 4 simply cause they are in Miami.. the STate of Florida is so rich with talent i wouldnt be suprised if 5-10 yrs down the road all the states school have been ranks a few times. however, i think miami has the best talent in florida and always will.. being that FIU is in miami they could eventually gain the upper hand in recruiting this area with the mid-tier schools of florida. mc is a relentless recruiter so i cant put it past him.

We need to focus on being commpetitive in our own conference, dominate that, and for a few years, and then maybe we can get in a BCS bowl eligible conference.

I love Schnelly's idea... that's a man who thinks out of the box. That's about as unlikely to happen as UF, UM, FAU, FIU, FSU, UCF and USF all going into one conference, but I really do think it's a wonderful idea. Man, I wish FIU had gotten him when they had the chance. :(

I remember that Jacksonville game well... I was broadcasting that game. And unlike some other reporters who were at that game, I was broadcasting from the top of a soaked press box, right next to the JU radio crew. Man, was I pissed off at the JU head coach. Talk about a pointless endeavor that wait was. We must've been there for, like, 30 minutes or something.

Pete, I understand that WRGP might do a good job, but its embarrasing to be the only SBC team that doesn't have a basketball radio broadcast team, especially since we do not get any local coverage on road games. If you can ask Pete when FIU Radio broadcast rights are up and what he intends to do about the lack of professional radio coverage. Also, when can we take it back from Jim Mandich so that our football coverage is not handled through nepotism (Mandich's son in law is play by play and his son is side line reporter and they are both HORRIBLE). These are the people that we entrust with projecting FIU's image in the community and they are not even second rate. Sorry for the rant, but if the Herald can improve the quality of FIU's coverage (as shown by your expanded writing and this blog) than so can FIU improve it's radio coverage. The lack of change in the Radio arena is not very TDAOS or even very Pete Garcia, but hark back to that hack Mello.

PantherFan:

Wanted to clarify some things about your last post...

Randy Kassewitz does the basketball play-by-play, but not the football. That's Phil Schoen. And FIU, in my opinion, is damn lucky to have a guy who's broadcasted numerous World Cups calling their football games. He's a hell of a good announcer. I learned a thing or two from watching Phil work while I was doing games at WRGP.

As for the rest of the post... I don't think most people care where the games are broadcasted, so long as they are and it's easy for people to find. I also don't think most people care if it's a student doing the games or not, so long as it's a good broadcast.

I just passed by the FIU Stadium... Man does it look awesome in person!

And that thinks that only half its full size.

Pete, will FIU students get +1 guest entrance like it has been in the past? Or is it just one entrance per student?

CC, I agree to a certain extent, so I'm not going to belabor that point of student radio vs. professional (though I think it is called professional for a reason), however, when it comes to road basketball game, there is 0 radio coverage (student or otherwise). That is worse than small time, it is unacceptable. I remember listening to the WKU broadcasters when we were at WKU saying that we were the only SBC school without a basketball announcing team at road games. They also mentioned that when you put your eggs in one basket (i.e. football) it can ruin the rest of your programs (obviously I disagree but you can see the type of perception that FIU is putting out there by not having any coverage at all of road FIU games).

I think that Phil is GREAT and he will be missed, I'm sorry I got their responsibilities wrong, however, Randy K is the analyst and is one of the two MAIN broadcasters (him and Phil and now that Phil is leaving JMP) for FIU football and whatever it is that he is doing, he is TERRIBLE, his voice is whiny and aggravating, he was always talking over the play by play guy, he gives absolutely no insight into the game, and his comments don't make sense (it is embarrasing).

Phil will be missed? Huh? He is still doing the football games this season... right?

I agree that it definitely looks bad on FIU to have no radio broadcasts on road games. Why the pros don't do it, I don't know... I'm not privy to that. But I don't see a reason why WRGP couldn't do it if they were willing to and Athletics was willing to pay for it. I won't speak for them since I can't, but when I was there we did a season of women's basketball road and home. It gets complicated, especially with commuter students and being a non-commercial station, but it can be done if the pros don't want to for whatever reason and atletics is willing to help the station cover the costs.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Gold and AJ: How could you place FAU in # 7?
You guys really hate FAU ah?
Haven't you seen the progress, the sunbelt conference title and the N.O Bowl title?
You have faced FAU 7 times and lost 6. How could you believe that FAU is inferior?
Let's wait for the 2008 season and draw your conclusions.
Congratulations on the stadium!!!

FAUfriend they are takin into account that HS might retire soon and they dont know who will run your team.. i think that wisdom thinking that the guy that they choose to replace HS might not be as talented a recruiter.. o btw i just got my voucher for student for the USF game... im pychced. and in the bookstore they are starting to sell new gear w/ the new logo

FAUfriend,

I put FAU ahead of my Golden Panthers in 4-5 years time, but if Howard dies, you can assume that FAU will fall to the bottom of the pack.

What's the deal with your stadium, what's the latest on that?

I think the standings will be more or less the same but with competition much tighter.
1. UF
2. FSU
3. UM
4. USF
5. UCF
6. FAU
7. FIU

I hope I'm very wrong but i think all the FL teams are getting better... and it would not be too much dividing the 7.

Phil Schoen, it was reported by The Herald, will no longer do FIU football games, due to his other soccer responsibilities....In his place, the new "voice" will be WINZ's and Heat radio host Jeremy Marks-Peltz.

JMP's doing the games now? Wow. I don't know the guy personally, but I do know he was at WVUM around the same time I was at WRGP. I knew some of the guys who worked with him then. I imagine he'll do a good job, but I am sad to hear about Phil leaving. JMP's got big shoes to fill. Good luck to him.

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