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22 posts from November 2008

November 29, 2008

FIU/Florida Atlantic LIVE GAME BLOG

Fiuhelmet Welcome to the house that Joe, Don and Dan Built. Yeah, I know Robbie put up the Fauhelmet_2 money, but Shula and Marino did some nice work in this building too. It's the 7th Don Shula Bowl between your FIU Golden Panthers and the Florida Atlantic Owls where a bowl berth is at stake between the two teams.

Great weather for today's game. Blue skies, a couple of friendly clouds in the sky. The Golden Panthers are in their road white uniforms. The Owls in their home blue tops and white pants. Plenty of good seats still available.

There is NO live video feed of this game. There is a camera icon on the FAU sports website next to the FIU/FAU game, but been told here in the press box that Owl TV did not make the trip south.

If you can't make the drive up or down the Florida Turnpike, then join us all game long (yes, all game since deadline is 9 p.m.) on the GPP for this live blog....

This Time It Counts

Hsmc Ok, really the Don Shula Bowl counts every season with the winner between FIU and Florida Atlantic taking home the Shula Trophy and bragging rights until next November. No need for MC and HS (left) to pose in a boxing ring to ratchet up the FIU/FAU rivalry like HS and Bobby Bowden (right) jokingly did in 1983 for the UM/FSU rivalry.Hsbb

Saturday's game will have so much more on the line besides bragging rights with both teams playing for a bowl game. With a win, FIU would still need to beat Western Kentucky next week to get to the 6-win mark. FAU with a win becomes bowl eligible and likely plays in the postseason, especially after two more bowls opened up Friday with Colorado's loss to Nebraska. The Independence Bowl and The Texas Bowl are now looking for teams.

However, don't have a good feeling about the Golden Panthers for the 7th Shula Bowl. Being such a young and inexperienced team, we don't really know which FIU team will show up at Dolphin Stadium.

Are we going to see the inspired FIU that took Toledo, NT and Middle Tennessee to the woodshed or the flat-lined FIU that stumbled against UL and ULM?

Fpl If the Golden Panthers learned their lesson from the ULM loss -- that the game does not start in the 3rd quarter -- and play with an FPL-type of energy, score touchdowns early and make life miserable for Owls QB Rusty Smith, then we could see a season finale next week at FIU Stadium with bowl implications.

Until last week's loss at Arkansas State, the Owls were rolling, winners of 4 straight. I saw firsthand two weeks ago what the FAU offense is capable of vs. Louisiana at Lockhart Stadium. FAU destroyed UL. This is a scary-good offense when it gets rolling. And it can do that against FIU, because of the Golden Panthers lack of pressure on the opposing QB all season long.

FIU, ranked No. 14 in the nation in tackles for loss, has done a good job getting tackles behind the line of scrimmage all season, but it just has not been able to finish off opposing QBs with just 15 sacks. Maybe another offseason in the weight room for the young FIU defenders will do the trick.

I think hitting and sacking Smith several times on Saturday could turn this game in FIU's favor, but I  Fau_2 just don't see it. I see the Owls walking off with the Shula Trophy for the 6th time in 7 games.

Regardless, it has been a solid turnaround this season for an FIU team that was still looking for its first win at this point last season. Nothing to hang your heads about Golden Panthers, but bowling will have to wait until next season.

GPP thinks: FAU 42, FIU 28

November 27, 2008

Golden Panther Pawse 11/27


Happy Thanksgiving to all GPP Nation.

Apaw Welcome to our newest GPP readers: ArrozConPollo and Joel. Great meeting another one of our readers, Max, in person last night at the FIU hoops game.

Apaw_2 Will have a LIVE BLOG from the House that Joe Robbie Built on Saturday for the 7th Don Shula Bowl between FIU and Florida Atlantic. Kickoff is at 4 p.m., we'll hit cyberspace around 3:45 p.m.Dsd_2

Apaw_3 WIN A GPP BLOG scores for FIU/FAU need to be in by 3:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday. Notice the time change, it is NOT a 7 p.m. game. It's a 4 p.m. kickoff. Will have the FIU/FAU Preview on here at some point on Friday.

FIU Fanatic: Pete, any news if any of our injured running backs...Owens and/or Ned are coming back to play next week? If not...will Darriet Perry have to be there, just in case...thus probably losing his redshirt season?...or Shawn Bright...or any other Running Back there?

GPP: According to MC, only Daunte Owens is out. Shawn Bright is not eligible this season.

FIUPantherFan: Pete, I heard someone speaking behind me at the basketball game mentioning that Galindo might not be eligible (besides being injured), is that true?

GPP: Spoke with AG the other day he said he expects to be back on the court by maybe late December, but likely January. AG sure didn't sound like he was ineligible.Pm

sixfeetaway: I can't recall right now but is PM a Junior or a Senior I think he graduated already but what does he have left as far as eligibility?

GPP: Paul McCall is a junior and he is in grad school for computer and electrical engineering. He has one more year of eligibility at FIU.

AlexFAU06: Pete, Does location play a role for a bowl invitation? especially when FAU or FIU do not draw big crowds?

GPP: Alex, normally how you draw attendance-wise does affect bowl invites, but this year since bowls are not going to be able to fulfill their committments, what your school draws should not be a factor. Now of course, the locations of the schools in relation to bowls will play a part. For example, if the St. Pete Bowl needs a Sun Belt team, you can bet that it will either be FIU or FAU, who ever wins Saturday. Just like the Independence Bowl will likely take an Arkansas State, Louisiana or Middle Tennessee, because of its proximity to that bowl's location in Shreveport, La.

FIUdiehardfan:  One question Pete I just saw that Clemson beat Virginia. Does that mean that we can no longer go to the Eagle Bank Bowl?.

GPP: Clemson cannot be eligible for ANY bowl unless it beats South Carolina this Saturday, because the Tigers at 6-5 have 2 of those wins against Division I-AA schools and when you have 2 wins vs. I-AA you need 7 wins overall to be bowl eligible. So a trip to D.C. is still possible, of course need a win over the Hooters on Saturday as the 1st step.

class09: Will the FAU vs FIU game be on panther pass?

Ds GPP: No, the game is not on Panther Pass, but can watch it on FAU's website at fausports.com

fiu4ever: Pete: When are FIU and FAU going to stop playing their games at Dolphin Stadium (left)? Is it because FAU still does not have a stadium? Don't they play at Lockhart? Does the game that big of a crowd that Dolphin Stadium is needed?

GPP: AlexFAU06 could not have answered this question any better: FAU started playing at DS, but they realized it was too expensive to continue at DS. In order to break the contract FAU has to play at least one game at DS until FAU gets its own stadium. Last year we played Minnesota at DS, so we fulfilled the requirement. It is pretty stupid to play the game there because not too many fans show up, besides the DS is huge and FIU fans have not shown any interest in the past games. I think it would be better to play the Shula bowl at lockhart when FAU is hosting. I know Lockhart sucks, but FAU has no other choice for now. It's going to be pretty cool next year when FAU visits FIU because by next year FIU stadium will be completely remodeled.

November 26, 2008

FIU's 9 Bowl Possibilities

Rooney That's right 9 times. 9 times. Your Golden Panthers have a chance to possibly land in 1 of 9 bowl games. Of course, all of this depends on FIU WINNING ITS LAST 2 GAMES of the season to finish 6-6. One more loss and it's time to focus on just Western Kentucky for the season finale.

Been speaking with Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters and PG the last few days and because of the parity this season in college football the Sun Belt could have 4 bowl teams. Troy is already bowl eligible with 7 wins. Arkansas State has 5 wins and plays North Texas (a win for ASU) and Troy to finish the season.

The last 2 Sun Belt bowl teams will come from elimination games to be played in the next 7 days. Louisiana and Middle Tennessee are both 5-6 and play each other to finish the season, thus 1 of those will have the minimum 6 wins to be bowl eligible. As you know, FIU and Florida Atlantic also play each other in an elimination game this Saturday. FAU is 5-6 and with a win become bowl eligible. FIU needs to win its final 2 to get to 6 wins.

So you see the Sun Belt should have 4 teams with at least 6 wins, counting that ASU doesn't choke against NT and FIU wins out or FAU beats FIU. With 4 SBC teams bowl eligible here are the 9 bowls that could have a Sun Belt team and we'll use FIU as an example since this is the FIU Golden Panthers Prowl. 

Ready to figure out the 9 bowl scenarios, take out your calculator and protractor and let's get to work.Prot Calc

Listed next to each bowl are the original conference teams with tie-ins:

Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.): Big 12 #7 vs. SEC # 8 (Kansas vs. Auburn)....KU could move up to Big 12 #6 or 7 if the BCS takes 2 Big 12 teams. BCS will at least take one Big 12 team....Auburn (5-6) has to beat Alabama to be BE (bowl eligible). Sun Belt team would be first alternate here and there could be 2 Sun Belt teams playing each other which would then cause a shift in the St. Pete Bowl.

St. Pete Bowl (St. Petersburg): Big East #6 (Rutgers) vs. C-USA (East Carolina), but since the Independence Bowl would not want an all Sun Belt matchup you could see either Rutgers or ECU shifted to Independence vs. Sun Belt and then the other Sun Belt team playing in the St. Pete Bowl vs. either Rutgers or ECU.Ss_2

Emerald Bowl (San Francisco): ACC #7 vs. PAC 10 #4/5....Clemson is 6-5, but since 2 of their wins (Citadel and South Carolina State) are vs. Division I-AA teams they need 7 wins to become BE. The Tigers finish the season vs. the Ol' Ball Coach's South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday. The Sun Belt could replace Clemson.

Texas Bowl (Houston): Big 12 #8 vs. C-USA #3/4....There is no Big 12 #8 team BE right now. Colorado has to beat Nebraska to become BE.

Alamo Bowl (San Antonio): Big 12 #4/5 vs. Big 10 #4/5....FIU would need the BCS to take 2 Big 12 teams here and Colorado to lose to Nebraska, if that happens all the other BE Big 12 teams move up in bowl stature and there is no Big 12 team available for the Alamo.

Motor City Bowl (Detroit): Big 10 #7 vs. MAC Champ....There will be no Big 10 #7, because the Rose Bowl will take a Big 10 team leaving just 6 Big 10 teams available for bowls and this bowl open for a Sun Belt team.

Hi Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu): Pac 10 #7 vs. WAC #2/Hawaii....This is where I would like to go. The Pac-10's #7 is currently UCLA (4-6) and Arizona State (4-6) both needing to win out with UCLA still to play USC. ASU plays Arizona. UCLA and ASU play each other on Saturday.

Pizza Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.): Big East #4/5 vs. SEC #9....UConn or South Florida are both set here vs. an Auburn team that has to beat Alabama. FIU a fan of Nick Saban?

Eagle Bank Bowl (Washington D.C.): ACC #9 vs. Army or Navy....Clemson, Virginia (5-6) and N.C. State (5-6) are facing elimination from bowl contention. UVA plays Virginia Tech. Ns N.C. State has UM. Who would have thought the Golden Panthers rooting for the Hurricanes?

You pick the bowl for FIU:

November 25, 2008

Golden Panther Pawse 11/25


Before we get to this latest post, happy to see the Golden Dazzlers back at FIU Arena Dazzlers (or El Banco) for Tuesday FIU hoops after missing Monday's hoops game.

Moving the Golden Panther Pawse back to the front of the blog since some of my answers to your questions are not getting picked up inside. Been busy the last couple of days with -- you name the sport -- (FIU football, FIU hoops, Heat hoops, Panthers hockey, high school football and local colleges), but as promised will have all 9, yes that's not a misprint 9 FIU bowl possibilities on the next post. And you can tell Grahm Watson that there are 9.

And before anyone begins to hyperventilate and says stop the bowl talk: we don't tackle, we don't run, throw or catch the football on Saturdays on the FIU Stadium field so we can talk about it. If the Golden Panthers are hanging on every word of the GPP, then that's great for the GPP rankings, but FIU probably Fiuhelmet_3 will get beat on the field, because they should be reading their playbooks. To your questions:

Fau_3   class09: At what time do the buses leave FIU for the FAU game?

GPP: They are scheduled to leave both the University Park campus and the Biscayne Bay campus at 2 p.m. For more information call 305-FIU-GAME.

NYCFIUFan: Pete any word on members of the FIU Alumni Assoc being able to get in? If not, then I will put up the dough (rather not though, have seen this economy??) Finally, what time is kickoff? I have a question, what area (OL, DE, DT, QB, WR, etc), is the toughest area for FIU to get recruits?

GPP: NYC, the free tickets are only for the current students. Did hear there might be something done for the alumni for the season finale against Western Kentucky, which if FIU wins this Saturday, we all know what that game will mean? Kickoff is at 4 p.m. on Saturday. You are correct if you said OL. Florida preps are not known for their OL that's why MC and O-line coach Greg Laferre spent so much time this season in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Pennsylvania and California looking for beef upfront.

FIUFloridaPower&Light: I think rivalry games usually favor the underdog. I wonder who is considered Ud the underdog. I would think FIU since its been like 5 years straight that we have lost.

GPP: FIU is a 5-point underdog against Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

UltimateFIUFan: I plan on STILL TAILGATING after Sat's FIU / FAU game. I've heard it's a 1pm kick-off. Pete is this true?

GPP: NO not true, Saturday's Don Shula Bowl begins at 4 p.m.

TheChampionUnderdog: Pete, any word on Mcduffie and Weatherspoon (left) status for saturday?

Jw_2 GPP: Both are probable to play was the word I got after Tuesday's practice.

FIUFan: PP, what about all the false-starts and off-sides? Talk about putting yourself in a hole. And as far as Ellingson (below, right) having the best hands on the team? I aint drinking that kool-aid!

GPP: Missed pointing that out. FIU had 10 more penalties on Saturday and the Golden Panthers are not going to win too many games with those kind of penalty numbers. FIU needs more discipline for sure. That's what MC was harping on in Tuesday's practice. I probably wasn't clear: besides T.Y., GE probably has the best hands on the team. Not serving up any kool-aid here, GE has got Spiderman web-Gecatch like hands.

SouthPaw: Pete, is there any chance that Javon Hill will be eligible to play next year?

GPP: JH was ineligible this year, because of grades. Once he gets his academics straightened out, we could see him on the field.

November 24, 2008

FIU Trapped But Can Get Out

Pit Saw the pitfall or trap game for FIU and the Golden Panthers fell in it. After Saturday's loss to ULM, your Golden Panthers have to fix some things before the final 2 and maybe 3 games of the season. Yes, there could be 3 more games thanks to a parity-filled college football season. Check out the next post after this for a detailed explanation.

FIU needs to get into its noggin that it is nowhere near good enough to go into a game on cruise control. FIU has overachieved this season. You can count on one hand the number of people that had the Golden Panthers winning 4 or more games in 2008. How many of you honestly thought we'd be talking about a possible FIU bowl game heading into Thanksgiving?

The Golden Panthers are not a team loaded with talent up and down the roster. There are still holes and depth to fill on this team. FIU has to play every game with a ton of emotion and has to execute on offense, defense and special teams to a T. Any less and FIU is cooked. (See: KU, Troy, UL and now ULM).

FIU came out flat emotionally Saturday and it showed in the O, D and ST. Paul McCall and the receivers Jr were not on the same page all the time. The O-line paved the way for Julian Reams (right), who had a heck of a game running the ball (122 yards), but it could not give PM enough protection. Yes, I know on some of the passes PM held the ball too long.

ULM QB Kinsmon Lancaster, who looked awful throwing the ball in the first few series, turned into a Heisman Trophy candidate with both his arm and legs as the game wore on. (No, he's not really a Heisman candidate). Once again the FIU D struggled containing a mobile Sun Belt QB. And like most of this season, FIU struggled with any kind of pass rush. Sure didn't help the pass D to lose Jeremiah Weatherspoon early in the game with a hammy injury and not having Marshall McDuffie at all, because of a shoulder injury.

At times Saturday, the FIU ST looked like the Dolphins ST and that's not really a compliment if you've seen the Fins ST this season. The big ULM punt return in the 1st half hurt, plus the personal foul penalty. And Goodbye trying to do too much in the 2nd half with the muff took the momentum away after an FIU TD and defensive stand that would have given the Golden Panthers the ball back and down just 21-10.

As far the coaching decisions you good people have bandied about here, have to disagree with those who did not want to kick the field goal down 31-24 with 5 minutes left. The FIU D was on a roll having stopped ULM on 3 of 5 possessions in the 2nd half. With the exceptions being the fumbled punt return at the FIU 23 and a ULM FG. Still had plenty of time for the FIU O, especially the way FIU was moving the ball in the 2nd half.

Ge_2 BTW, we already knew Goodbye has good hands, but is there a better pair of hands on the FIU O than Greg Ellingson's (left)? Tremendous catch on the 21-yd TD on Saturday, among GE's greatest catches thus far in his young FIU career.

Did not agree with the early 4th and 1 from shotgun formation that had JR stopped for a -2 loss or the 54-yard FG at the end of the 1st half -- not in Dustin Rivest's range. Would have thrown a Hail Mary and see what happens.

cabin001 made a good point about FIU's resiliency after being down 21-3 and showing some fight in the 2nd half outscoring ULM 24-10. The Golden Panthers did not give up in the 2nd half, but then again if they come out in the 1st half like they did in the 2nd half, then we probably are talking about a 48-10 FIU win today.



The new FIU on-line store opened for business today with all the new FIU merchandise. You can check it out at fiusports.com. Also, was told by FIU that next Monday, Dec. 1 will be a Cyber Monday Sale -- sort of the equivalent of this Friday's Black Friday in malls across America. You can check that out also at fiusports.com.

Apaw_2 I think you good people have made a fan out of Crazy Cane. Yes, it is true CC dropped by the open-air press box and introduced himself to me at the FIU/ULM game last Saturday. And just to verify, since there have been CC's impostors on the GPP, I asked CC for his e-mail address that he uses on the GPP and CC said the correct address. Although CC goes on his rants on here, he was very receptive to learning about FIU. I gave him a crash course on FIU football history and the new FIU Stadium. In fact -- no kidding here -- CC was wearing a retro FIU cap and his father (a 1975 FIU grad) was wearing blue and gold. CC's brother was dressed in black like the FIU coaching staff. Go figure??

WIN A GPP BLOG or (2nd place -- 2008 FIU football media guide) Leaderboard (through 10 games):

9-1: Baltimorepanther (175).

8-2: FIUChris (187); Gold (199), Ultimate FIU Fan (199).

7-3: FIU Voice (165); Clawing Cancer (166), Puma (166); outofthecage88 (172); NYCFIUFan (198); FIU Fanatic (216).

6-4: Fomenter (175); Gazi (192); FIU0406 (193); fiufan751 (200); FIUJM (202); TheChampionUnderdog (205); SouthPaw (234); FIUBlueandGold (239); U24/7 (257); MIA/NY Josh (258); CrazyCane (294).

5-5: Max (216); gpantera (254).

GPP 7-3, 188.

Apaw_3 Time to be the Sunday morning quarterback....


November 22, 2008


Fiuulm_2 The Golden Panthers look to even their record and continue the push for the first bowl game in FIU's 6-year history tonight against the Warhawks from FIU Stadium.

Nice, cool , breezy evening here at The Cage. Good night for the open-air press box.

FIU is in the home dark blue tops and dark blue pants. ULM is in its road white top and pants. We're about 10 minutes from kickoff......

November 20, 2008

Golden Panther Trap?

Lt MC is not going to go all Wannstedtian on the Golden Panthers and place lobster or mouse traps at each player's locker, but the FIU coach has said this week that his team's sole focus is on ULM (like several other Sun Belt teams this season, the former Louisiana-Monroe is now just going by ULM).

We've reached a point in the young 6-year history of FIU football, that the Golden Panthers are the team faced with a trap game and not the other way around where FIU has been the trap for other teams. With the Hooters on deck at Dolphin Stadium for the 7th Don Shula Bowl, sure it would be natural for FIU to take a peek at Florida Atlantic.

The Warhawks arrive at FIU Stadium on Saturday with ABSOLUTELY nothing to lose. They are 3-8 and going nowhere, but to their spring semester classes after Saturday's game. Plus, it could be the final game for ULM head coach Charlie Weatherbie, who might get fired after the FIU game so you know he'll pull out all the stops to go out a winner.

Timeout here: Paul Letlow, who covers ULM for the The Newsstar newspaper, has a pretty funny entry Jp_2 in  his blog about CW and his losses. Paul has entitled it: "Charlie Weatherbie's Greatest ULM losses Volume IV" Click here  Apparently, CW was more than a one-hit wonder? One of those losses was the 31-29 game to FIU in 2005 in which former FIU QB Josh Padrick (right) threw 3 TD passes for FIU's 1st Sun Belt win.

Back to the ULM/FIU game, FIU must get off to a fast start to stomp out any hope ULM may have of an upset (FIU is a 6.5 favorite). The longer ULM hangs around in this game, the more chance for an upset and ending FIU's bowl hopes.

FIU needs to convert red zone opportunities into TDs and not FGs. Dustin Rivest and a miraculous TD pass saved the Golden Panthers last time out.

Also, ULM QB Kinsmon Lancaster, who left last week's game at Ole Miss with an injury, will play and he's another of those mobile Sun Belt QBs that have given FIU defenses fits in the past.

ULM may be 3-8, but they are not slouches having beaten Troy and lost to MT by 3, FAU by 1 and Arkansas by 1. ULM is averaging 29.8 points in Sun Belt games this season. The good news for FIU is that ULM allows 31.1 points in SBC games.

Tj So you see the potential trap FIU could be walking into?

Still, for the most part FIU has been prepared this season and MC has made his team aware of the danger of ULM.

When asked after Tuesday's practice if there's a chance his team could be looking past ULM, MC said: "We're growing. We're doing some great things, but we're nowhere near that point where we can look past. We can't look past our 6:25 p.m. class. We have to take those baby steps and keep growing and growing -- and we are. We're focused.''

GPP thinks: FIU 27, ULM 23


Apaw The FIU volleyball ladies won their opening match of the Sun Belt tournament earlier thisVball  afternoon by defeating South Alabama 3-1. The Golden Panthers struggled early losing one set, but got it going in the 3rd and 4th sets.

FIU plays New Orleans in a semifinal on Friday at 5 p.m. at FIU Arena.

Apaw_2 We'll have a LIVE GPP BLOG from FIU Stadium on Saturday night for the ULM/FIU game.

Blog kickoff is at 6:45 p.m. Game kickoff is 7 p.m. WIN A GPP BLOG deadline for scores is 6:59 p.m. GPP Time.

Apaw_3 T.Y. ON TV....Two television features on T.Y. Hilton air this weekend on local TV. Channel 10 will say hello to "Goodbye" at 7:20 p.m. on their Saturday sports show.  Of course, most FIU fans will be at FIU Stadium during this time. If you miss Ch. 10's piece, then check out Channel 4 at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday Ty night for their hello to "Goodbye". That airs during Ch. 4's Sunday night sports show.Tv

November 19, 2008

FIU Volleyball Sweeps

No, not just yet in the Sun Belt Tournament, which begins at noon on Thursday against South Alabama, but the Golden Panthers did sweep the highest honors of the Sun Belt Conference on Wednesday.Yrs

FIU took home the Sun Belt Player of the Year, Sun Belt Coach of the Year and Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year awards.

Two-time and soon to be 3-time All-American Yarimar Rosa won the SBC Player of the Year to go along with the 4 billion other awards she has already won this year. YR also made 1st team All-Sun Belt.

You can check out a story on YR in the Miami Herald on Thursday.

FIU coach Danijela Tomic earned the SBC Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Panthers to a 26-5 record and the Sun Belt championship. That's DT's 2nd Coach of the Year award in the last 3 years.

Isadora Rangel won the Sun Belt's Newcomer of the Year Award and made 2nd team along with Natalia Valentin.


Gppaw We'll get back to the gridiron on the next post. T.Y. Hilton will be featured in a Channel 10 story that will air either this Saturday at 7 p.m. or Sunday at 11:30 p.m. The Ch. 10 crew was at FIU on Wednesday interviewing Goodbye, MC and Paul McCall for the story and the Ch. 10 sports guy is supposed to e-mail me when the piece will air.

Gppaw_2 FIU hoops is off to a nice 2-0 start before they play at Washington on Thursday night. On Wednesday, center Russell Hicks was named a preseason All-American by collegeinsider.com

Gppaw_4 We could be looking at a trap game for your Golden Panthers this Saturday against ULM. It's the last game of the season for the Warhawks. Their coach is on the burning seat -- not hot seat -- and they have nothing to lose since they are 3-8 on the season and going nowhere. So what are your thoughts going into Saturday's crucial game:

November 18, 2008

Spring Time Pancakes With Cedric Mack

Before we get into Louisiana-Monroe week, let's take a little timeout to catch up with one of FIU's Cm big signees from the 2008 recruiting class: Cedric Mack.

As you well know, CM, who is currently enrolled at FIU and taking classes toward his criminal justice major, has not seen the field this season, because of some NCAA red tape. We'll let CM tell you more about that and why CM could be pitching IHOP when he is finished with college football.

GPP: You were a prized JUCO recruit out of El Camino JC that several major college programs were after. What made you decide to come play football at FIU?

CM: I wanted to come back home after being away in California for 2 years and obviously as you can tell by this season FIU is an up-and-coming program. I really like this place. My cousin [former FIU DB] Jermell Weaver played here. I know [El Monstruo] Antwan Barnes, [former FIU RB] Ben West all them boys. I'm a homeboy here. I wanted to come and be a part of starting a tradition here.

GPP: Besides FIU, what were some of the schools that pursued you the most?

CM: LSU, Kansas State, Arizona, Kentucky, South Florida. I had full offers and I could have signed, but I Fiuhelmet chose to come back home, because I wanted to give my parents an opportunity to see me play again. In high school they were at all of my games -- home or away. But we didn't really have the money for them to commute to California and back home again.

GPP: What has been holding you up from getting on the field with FIU?

CM: I have to get these 2 transcripts from these 2 schools that I went to in California and once I do the NCAA will clear me and I'll be ready for next season. I'm already an FIU student and I'm taking classes and everything. I should be ready to go for spring practice. The last I heard from the NCAA was that as long as I get the transcripts I'll be cleared. I'm working on that ASAP. I'm trying to get them in the next few weeks. Actually, they should be coming in next week. I definitely will be there for spring ball.

GPP: So will you have 1 or 2 years to play at FIU?

CM: I'll be a senior academically next year, but I'm working on making this year a redshirt year for me. So I could still be eligible for 2 years.

Fiufans_2 GPP: I've seen you at the 3 FIU home games this season at the new stadium. What do you think of the 2008 Golden Panthers and what do you think of FIU Stadium?

CM: There is so much improvement with the team. They are getting better as they go. They are a solid group. There is a little room for progress, but there's always room for progress. The stadium and the FIU fans are crazy. I love that energy. I picture myself being on that field and looking up at the crowd and seeing my homeboys cheering for me.

GPP: What are you at right now weight-wise and where do you want to be come spring practice?

CM: I'm 6-4 and 340 pounds right now, but I plan on getting to 300 by March, because I've been training even though I'm not playing. I run a 4.9, 40. I play left guard, but I can play left tackle, right guard, right tackle. I just want to play.

GPP: Out of the blue I've been calling you Mount Mack on my blog. What other names have you heard Pancakes Ihop people call you?

CM: Mount Mack is just another nickname added on to all the other nicknames that people have given me like Big Mac and Yum-Yum IHOP, because they say I eat up defensive linemen like pancakes.


Apaw In case you missed it when it was posted in the comments section of the last blog, FIU took up the GPP's suggestion to start an FIU fan experience site for all your accolades, comments or concerns regarding FIU sporting events. You can click: FIU Fan Experience Site and let the FIU athletic department know how they are doing.

Apaw_2 If you're a current FIU student you can get into the Don Shula Bowl FIU/FAU game for FREE. FIU is providing free tickets and bus rides to Dolphin Stadium to current FIU students.

Call 305-FIU-GAME for tickets and more information. The deadline is next Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 12 p.m.  NYCFIUFan: still waiting to hear about FIU alumni.

Apaw_3 We'll go LIVE BLOGGING again from FIU Stadium this Saturday for the FIU/ULM game. For our GPP out-of-towners and those in-towners with internet capabilities at the stadium or at home, we'll be on-line around 6:45 p.m.  Deadline for scores for the FIU/ULM game for the WIN A GPP BLOG or FIU football media guide contest is at 6:59 p.m. GPP Time this Saturday.

Apaw_4 The Hilton Heave has the lead in our name "The T.Y./Jr. Play" poll with 38% percent of the vote. The Money Ball is second with 29%. The voting continues as the poll is still open on the previous blog.

November 16, 2008

FIU Hoops Good; Rosenberg 4 Prez; Name The T.Y./Jr. Play

The Golden Panthers hoops squad showed some resiliency in their season opener against Eastern Md_2 Kentucky.

After taking a brief lead 4 minutes into the game, FIU trailed for the next 35 minutes until that last minute comeback and this was done with 3/5ths of the starting lineup out with injuries.

However, good sign to see the newest players making an instant impact. Shooting guard Michael Dominguez (above, right) was sharp from 3-point land, especially in the 2nd half when he drained 4 3's to help FIU comeback. Also, you could tell MD has a pretty good basketball IQ with the way he moved around the court without the ball.

Freddy Asprilla was as advertised under the basket using his almost 300 pounds to push around the Colonels and drop in 13 points and grab 11 boards.

Nt_2 Point guard Nick Taylor (left), noticeably stronger thanks to an off-season strength program at FIU, fearlessly drove to the basket and had good control of the offense.

While FIU is not exactly opening the season with the likes of North Carolina or Duke, the Golden Panthers need to get as many wins as possible against teams like EK and Monday's opponent -- Monmouth. If the reserves make this kind of first impression, it will be interesting to see what FIU can do when everyone is healthy and on the court.


Apaw Hate to see President Maidique (right) step down. The man built FIU and is aMm  tremendous supporter of FIU athletics. FIU was lucky to have a guy like MM running the show for so long. Always very courteous and cooperative whether it was an informal conversation or an interview.

FIU needs the next president to have MM's same kind of vision for the university and the same kind of passion for FIU sports.

Mark Rosenberg (left) is that guy and FIU would be wise to select Mr. Rosenberg as the next FIU president.

Mr_2 Memo to FIU: No need for a zillion dollar national search, your next prez (Rosenberg) is in your backyard after moving down from Tallahassee. Bring him on board.

I'm Pete Pelegrin and I approve this message.

Apaw_5 Covered that Florida Atlantic/Louisiana game at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday for a Baton Rouge newspaper and must say the Hooters have a scary-good offense. And believe it or not, FAU is one of 4 teams that can still win the Sun Belt title OUTRIGHT and go to the New Orleans Bowl.

Because of losses to UL and Troy earlier this season, FIU cannot win the Sun Belt outright, but still has a slim chance to go to New Orleans. In a strange, but true scenario -- FIU can end up in the New Orleans Bowl, but not as the outright Sun Belt champ. Here's how: let's say Troy and FIU finished tied for 1st in the Sun Belt AND The Pizza Bowl in BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA cannot fill one of its spots, then Troy would most certainly go play there in their home state and leave the Sun Belt spot open in the New Orleans Bowl for the Golden Panthers.

The best FIU can be is a co-champion of the Sun Belt. Since UL and Troy still play each other, both those Confu_2 teams cannot lose all their remaining games. FIU can also still end up in the St. Pete Bowl, Independence Bowl or the Pizza Bowl. Confused yet????

Of course, all this depends on FIU finishing 7-5, because 6-6 won't do it.

FAU, UL, Troy and Arkansas State all can still win the SBC, because FAU (has a W vs. UL) and ASU still plays Troy. So if FAU ends in a tie with UL for 1st, then FAU repeats. If ASU ends in a tie with Troy, but beats the Trojans to finish the season then ASU is SBC champ. FAU plays at ASU this coming Saturday so either FAU or ASU will be eliminated from the contending for the Sun Belt title by Sunday.

Our newest GPP reader, px asked about the Sun Belt 3-way tiebreaking rule. Here's how it works now --No  regardless of head-to-head results: The new rule is if 3 Sun Belt teams finish tied for 1st place at the end of the regular season, then all 3 will be named co-Sun Belt champions and the New Orleans Bowl gets to choose which one of the 3 teams plays in the N.O. Bowl -- which most likely means the Ragin' Cajuns, Troy or Arkansas State, because those 3 teams would bring more fans to the game than an FAU or FIU.

The new rule is awful, but the New Orleans Bowl is looking for who will bring the most $$$$ to the Big Easy. Good thing for the 3 other Sun Belt bowl tie-ins.

Apaw_3 The "GPP's Executive Committee for Name The T.Y./Junior Play" has narrowed down its choices for what is currently the most memorable play in FIU football's 6+year history. You vote, we decide and here are the choices:

November 14, 2008

Time To Tip It Off

Hicks_2 FIU Stadium and your Golden Panthers football team gets a much deserved rest this weekend with the third and final bye of the college football season for FIU. MC and several assistants hit the recruiting trail Wednesday night after practice. Meanwhile, OC Bill Legg and DC Phil Galiano ran Thursday's walk-through practice.

Time for FIU hoops as the men and women Golden Panthers tip it off in a Mb doubleheader at FIU Arena on Friday beginning with the FIU ladies led by Monika Bosilj (right) vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay at 6 p.m. The FIU men with center Russell Hicks (left) take on Eastern Kentucky at 8 p.m.

No, it's not yet officially U.S. Century Bank Arena, but it soon will be.

Before they started shooting House, Grey's Anatomy or (other medical TV show/movie) at FIU Arena, the Golden Panthers men's team was entering this season with the most talented team on paper in SR's 5 years as head coach. FIU could get that entire talented roster back for January at the earliest.House_2

But until then the Golden Panthers will have to rely on their 2 big post players in Hicks and F/C Freddy Asprilla. New shooting guard Michael Dominguez (below, left) (not the FIU linebacker) will also help.

After talking with SR of the walking wounded last Thursday, Alex Galindo (ankle) is expected back first. The earliest for AG's return is mid-December, but likely for January and the meat of the Sun Belt sked.

J.C. Otero (knee) and Josue Soto (thumb) are not expected back until January. You can read more about Dom the FIU men in the season preview written by yours truly in the MH today, click here: FIU men hoops preview

If the Golden Panthers could get back their 3 injured starters by Sun Belt play, then FIU might make some noise in the Sun Belt.

The FIU women are in rebuilding mode after losing leading scorer LaQuetta Ferguson to graduation and point guard Iva Ciglar, who graduated, but had one year of eligibility left. IC decided to go back home and play for her father's team in Croatia. You can read more on the FIU women here: FIU women hoops preview


Apaw Nice responses to our last post about the Top 7 wins in FIU history. We even had a discussion break out over whether FIU or Florida Atlantic had better cafeteria food.

Speaking of FAU, was hired by the Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper to cover the FAU/Louisiana game on Saturday at Lockhart Stadium. Big game for both teams: if the Owls lose, their postseason hopes are over and go into the Shula Bowl vs. FIU playing for pride/role of spoiler. If the Ragin' Cajuns win, they punch their ticket to the Sun Belt championship game next week against Troy. Back to the question....

As of this post (and the poll is still open), FIU/Arkansas State led the pack with 57.8 % of the vote. FIU/North Texas (Orange Bowl finale) was 2nd with 13.8%. Keep voting, that poll question closes one month from now. Grif_2

Apaw_2 Our good buddies over in Arkansas joined the GPP and added another state to our GPP WORLDWIDE READERSHIP . Thanks to folks in Bentonville, Ark. -- (Home of Wal-Mart and Peter Griffin's former employer Superstore USA and the Wal-Mart Girls) and Jonesboro, Ark. for logging on Walmartgirls to the GPP. Here's your scorecard:



20 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

Apaw_4 Check out the sharp "I am FIU" video on fiusports.com by John O'Meara and the FIU marketing staff. Those people, who also came up with the "Thunderstruck" and "Welcome to the Jungle" FIU videos are doing a hell of a job promoting FIU.

Apaw_5 Will let FIU know about the lights situation for tailgating at FIU Stadium. Coincidentally, had lunch with some FIU staffers the other day and I proposed to them to create a link at fiusports.com that Tailgate_2 would be entitled something like: "FIU Fan Experience" so that all you good people could give them feedback about what you like or don't like at FIU sporting events. Will let you know more about this link when I know more.

Apaw_3 We're narrowing down our choices for the T.Y./Junior Play so that you good people can vote on a name for what is the most memorable play in 6+year history of FIU football. Will have the choices on the next blog. For now tell us what you think of how the FIU basketball seasons will turn out:

November 10, 2008

Top 7 Wins In FIU Football History

Since FIU has a bye this week, thought about taking the opportunity to rank FIU's top 7 wins in program history. The Golden Panthers turn 7 years old after this season is complete, so 7 sounds like an appropriate number.

You can play along on-line at home or at work and tell us your rankings and then vote at the end of this post for what you think is the greatest win in FIU football history. Also, we're still taking suggestions for naming T.Y. & Junior's game-winning play on Saturday. Got some names in the last post, but will keep the suggestion box open until the end of the week.

Top 7 FIU WinsFiuhelmet_5 Oldfiuhelmet_3 

7. FIU 38, Western Kentucky 35 (2005) 

Hilltoppers tie the game 35-35 with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter. FIU QB Josh Padrick completes passes of 28 yards and 21 yards to Chandler Williams to get the Golden Panthers down to the WKU 18. With :02 left in the game, kicker Adam Moss (left) -- who received a scholarship from FIU after hitting former coach Don Strock's car with Moss_2 field goals at the parking lot of American Heritage High -- nails a 36-yard field goal to win it.   

6. FIU 52, Florida Atlantic 6 (2005)

They say a rivalry only becomes a rivalry when both teams win. After 3 tries, the Golden Panthers finally beat the Owls and in record-breaking fashion. FIU returns 4 interceptions for touchdowns to tie an NCAA record. Keyonvis Bouie, Lionell Singleton, Nick Turnbull and Marshall McDuffie all get pick 6s to wallop FAU.

5. FIU 38, North Texas 19 (2007)

The Golden Panthers were not going to let the grand Orange Bowl go out a loser in the final college football game played at the historic stadium. Behind an aggressive FIU D led by Audric Adger's 4 sacks and an opportunistic offense with Paul McCall's 3 touchdown passes, the Golden Panthers sent the Orange Bowl out a winner and ended what was then the nation's longest losing streak at 23 Ntwin games. FIU also gave new head coach Mario Cristobal (right) his first college win.

4. FIU 22, Youngstown State 16 (2004)

The first road win in program history saw FIU's backup QB do an impersonation of his head coach, a former Miami Dolphins backup QB. With the Golden Panthers struggling on offense and down 16-3 at halftime, former FIU coach Don Strock brings backup QB David Tabor -- FIU's 1st ever recruit -- into the game. Tabor completes 15 of 22 passes for 174 yards and 3 TDs in the second half to rally FIU to a season opening win.

3. FIU 31, Louisiana-Monroe 29 (2005)

The game that showed FIU could play Division I football by getting its first win against a Division I opponent. On the road against the Indians (ULM is now known as the Warhawks), the Golden Panthers Turnbull fell behind 6-0 in the first quarter, but never trailed after that and at one point built a 24-9 lead. Former FIU safety Nick Turnbull (left) returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown to extend the FIU lead to 14-6 in the 2nd quarter.

2. FIU 27, St. Peter's 3 (2002)

The game that started it all. For years, FIU students wanted a college football team and they finally got one on August 29, 2002. Before a Sun Sports TV audience and a sold out FIU Stadium, the Golden Panthers rolled by scoring 27 points in the first half. Former FB Jerrid Lundstedt caught a 5-yard TD pass from Jamie Burke (right)Burke_2  with 8:18 left in the 1st quarter for the first-ever FIU touchdown. Burke would score the 2nd FIU TD on this 6-yard touchdown run (right) later in the 1st quarter.

1. FIU 22, Arkansas State 21 (2008)

A little anti-climactic since this was the subject of the previous blog. But again, FIU's ability to overcome a 9-point 4th quarter deficit after going 8 times deep into ASU territory and not being able to score one touchdown. Especially, after falling apart when adversity struck the previous 2 weeks vs. Troy and Louisiana. Also, the win kept FIU's chances at its first-ever bowl game alive and produced probably the most memorable play in FIU history, which we have yet to give a proper name to. "The Hilton Heave", "The Goodbye Money Ball" or whatever name we vote on was just an amazing play by Jr probably the best freshman in FIU history.


Apaw So what did you think? You can re-rank these wins or add another by posting a comment. Vote on the greatest win in FIU history below the Pawse.

Apaw_2 Me (no, not me personally, some GPP reader named Me) posted on the previous blog the link to voting for T.Y. Hilton for Freshman of the Year on CBSsportsline. CBS has narrowed down their choices for Freshman of the Year to 5 players. Click on Vote T.Y. for Freshman of the Year

WIN A GPP BLOG or (2nd place -- 2008 FIU football media guide) Leaderboard (through 9 games):

9-0 (points differential)

Baltimorepanther (164).


FIUChris (176); Gold (184); Ultimate FIU Fan (189).


FIUVoice (145); Puma (153); NYCFIUFan (173); FIU Fanatic (188).


Clawing Cancer (160), outofthecage88 (160); Fomenter (163); FIU0406 (180); FIUJM (181), Gazi (181); TheChampionUnderdog (187); SouthPaw (216); FIUBlueandGold (221).


fiufan751 (194); Max (204); MIA/NY Josh (219); U24/7 (226); gpantera (237); CrazyCane (287).

GPP 7-2, 180.

November 09, 2008

Greatest Win In FIU Football History & Name The Play

The FIU football program has only been around for 6 years going on 7 at the end of this season, but Ty Saturday's come from behind 22-21 win over Arkansas State is the greatest win in the history of the program for several reasons:

Apaw First time in FIU history in which the Golden Panthers were able to overcome a deficit of 9 points or more in the 4th quarter and win the game.

Apaw_2 FIU overcame adversity. Until the final TD, FIU was not able to score a TD the first 8 times it was deep in Red Wolves territory on Saturday. Thanks to Dustin Rivest's leg FIU got 15 points. FIU was not able to respond when challenged against Troy and Louisiana in the past 2 games. The Golden Panthers delivered the knockout punch against ASU.

Apaw_3 Like it has for most of the season, the FIU D was clutch coming up with 3 straight stops on ASU possessions in the 4th quarter after ASU built a 21-12 lead and then Franklin Brown intercepting Corey Leonard at the FIU 35. ASU kicker Josh Arauco is deadly and a few more yards and we might talking about a 24-22 loss.

Apaw_4 The win salvaged any chance FIU has at reaching its first bowl game. The Golden Panthers will likely not win the Sun Belt, because they are 2 games back of UL and do not have the tiebreaker since they lost to the Cajuns. FIU has to run the table and finish 7-5 to get into a bowl. Nothing against the SBC, but a 6-6 record for a SBC team will not get it into a bowl game. FIU is also 1 game back of Troy and does not hold the tiebreaker there since it lost to the Trojans.

Apaw_5 The final reason Saturday's win was the greatest in FIU history was the way the Golden Panthers pulled it out. On a botched trick play that will go down in FIU football lore. As of Sunday afternoon, FIU was trying to get the play on ESPN as one of Sportscenter's top 10 plays of the week.

If you have not seen the play do yourself a favor and go to fiusports.com and click on the game recap where there is a video of The Play....

T.Y. Hilton and Paul McCall fumbled the exchange on an end around. Goodbye went to scoop the ball about 5 yards backward while PM threw a block. Goodbye then goes left with the ball when he told me he Jr was supposed to go right. The entire ASU defense hones in on Goodbye while Junior Mertile (left) is wide open 30 yards downfield. The closest ASU defender was about 25 yards from Mertile. Goodbye lobbed the ball downfield, Mertile waited forever for it to come down, saying to himself "This is the money ball. This is the money ball." and snared it for the winning touchdown with 2:04 left in the game.

You've heard in NFL lore of Franco Harris's "The Immaculate Reception", Dwight Clark's "The Catch" (right) and the Tennessee Titans' "The Music City Miracle", well now it's your turn to name the T.Y./Junior TD play.Catch

Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started: "The Hilton Heave",  "The Goodbye Money Ball".

We'll keep this suggestion box open for naming the play for about 4 or 5 days and then we'll vote on the top selections. After giving T.Y. his "Goodbye" nickname, can TheChampionUnderdog name the play too or do you have a better name for the play?  Post it on here.

Will have the latest WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard on here Monday.

Thanks to Sam Lewis for the FIU game photos.

November 08, 2008


Greetings from FIU Stadium. If you're here, drop on by the open-air press box on the east side of the Gday stadium and say hello. Like Bob Uecker, I'm in the front row. Speaking about Uecker and baseball, congrats to Puma for being the first to get the Bull Durham reference in the previous FIU football post.

If you're somewhere else in the world, welcome to the LIVE GPP BLOG of FIU/Arkansas State as your Golden Panthers try to get back on the winning side with the first of 4 home games to close out the season and by possibly winning all 4 go bowling.

But 1 at a time as we're getting ready to kickoff to the LIVE BLOG and the game, which is about 15 minutes away....

November 07, 2008

Sun Belt Volleyball Regular Season Champs

Vbs Your Golden Panthers volleyball team -- No. 1 in the Sun Belt -- just knocked off the Sun Belt's No. 2 team in Middle Tennessee in 5 sets to clinch at least a share of the regular season Sun Belt championship. Was not there, but got a text with the info.

FIU secures the No. 1 seed in the Sun Belt Volleyball tournament at FIU Arena beginning Nov. 20.

It was FIU's 12th straight win and improved the Golden Panthers record to 24-4 and 14-1 in the Sun Belt.Fiuvb_2

Yarimar Rosa (right, arms raised with No. 10 Mariana Drumeva and No. 12 Sabrina Gonzalez) led FIU with 25 kills and 11 digs.

Natalia Valentin (9 below, left) had 58 assists and 14 digs. You can get more details on the match at Valentin fiusports.com.

Hungry For The Wolves

Fiuhelmet Your Golden Panthers begin the first of the final four games of the season -- all at Asu home, because Dolphin Stadium is technically in Miami and not Boca Raton -- against the newly christened Arkansas State Red Wolves on Saturday night at FIU Stadium. Yeah, I know I botched that 1980's song title in the title of this post.

The Red Wolves were the Indians last year, but for PC reasons and not MAC reasons they switched on Mac_2 over to the howling Red Wolves. I added the howling. They're just the Red Wolves or lobos rojo.

Could be a howling good time for your Golden Panthers if they win out and finish 7-5 and go bowling and not to Don Carter's if you get my drift.

But first things first and that being a dangerous Red Wolves team. Of the 4 remaining games for FIU, this is the toughest one. Last week, I said if FIU beat UL, they would run the table and win the Sun Belt. I truly believed that if a W would have happened last week.

That didn't happen, but I'll give it one more shot: if FIU beats ASU, they run the table and go to the inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field -- home of the American League Champion Tampa Bay Tf_2 Rays.

However, like mentioned above Saturday's game won't be easy, because again FIU's D is faced with a dual-threat QB in Corey Leonard, who operates the same type of O as Louisiana ran and the same type of O that has given FIU fits in its 6 and 3/4 years of existence. It's that misdirection spread O where "now you see the ball in the backfield and now you don't". If you've followed FIU football for its 6+ years, you know what I'm talking about.

Plus, ASU has two physical, elusive RBs in Reggie Arnold and Derek Lawson. Arnold has left FIU in years past saying: "I'll be back" to terrorize you next season. And he's a junior so he'll back at it again next season.

Now, let's say FIU's D dominates or least contains ASU's O, then the FIU O-line will have to contend with Ac No. 98 DE Alex Carrington, a 6-5, 280-pound monsta from Arkansas, who leads the nation in tackles for loss with 15 and is 4th in the nation with 9.5 sacks.

FIU might need 2 or 3 blockers to stop AC and that will help free up other ASU defenders to harass PM and get into the FIU backfield.

So you see FIU is dealing with a lot here: "Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man is here. We need a live...is it a live rooster? We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present. Is that about right?"

Gratuitous GPP shout out to the first reader to name the movie the previous quote is from?

Back to your Golden Panthers, being back home at the shiny new FIU Stadium will help FIU in this game Fiufans and all the other games this season.

The Golden Panthers seem to get a surge from the FIU faithful, but they'll need to play like they did during the 3-game win streak to have a shot at beating the Red Wolves. Can FIU do it? Sure they can, we're not talking about FIU vs. 1972 Miami Dolphins here.

But until this team proves that they can stop the type of O they are going to see on Saturday, I can't pick 'em.

Of course, if FIU does start a 1-game win streak on Saturday, then you good people can come back here and tell me like they do in Miami: "Te lo dije".

GPP thinks: Arkansas State 31, FIU 23


Gppaw LIVE GPP Blog begins at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday from FIU Stadium.

Gppaw_2 It was only an exhibition last night and I was not there, but reading 13 for 31 from the free-throw stripe for an injury-plagued FIU hoops is not a good sign.

What are your thoughts on Saturday's game:

November 06, 2008

Hello, Goodbye

Ty_2 With his 295 all-purpose yards against Louisiana last Saturday, FIU freshman receiver/kick return sensation T.Y. Hilton now leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 1,536 all-purpose yards -- an average of 192 all-purpose yards per game.

T.Y. Goodbye took the opening kickoff 90 yards for a TD last week and had 192 yards in kick returns to go with 96 yards receiving. He also leads the Golden Panthers with 6 TDs.

Asked Hilton if he knew he lead the country in all-purpose yards and the freshman said: "Some times I go on ESPN.com. When I saw it the other night, I was like, 'Oh'. I was kind of surprised."


Gppaw Will have the FIU/Arkansas State preview and GPP prediction on here on Friday.

Gppaw_3 Will have a LIVE GPP BLOG from Saturday's game and FIU may not be better than Louisiana in football this season, but the FIU wireless beats the UL wireless every day of the week and twice on Sunday. So the GPP should be logged on around 6:45 p.m. on Saturday from FIU Stadium.

Gppaw_2 Last chance to get FIU/ASU scores in for the WIN A GPP BLOG contest is Saturday at 6:59 p.m. GPP time.

Time for another GPP Poll Question:

November 04, 2008

Get The Black Cat Out Of The Golden Panther Arena

Down goes another FIU hoopster and the season opener is still 9 days away. Add projected starting pointSoto  guard Josue Soto to the walking wounded of your Golden Panthers basketball team.

Soto fractured his thumb during a recent practice at FIU Arena. (Yeah, I know I called it Golden Panther Arena in this post's title, Golden Panther goes better with black cat). The word is Soto is expected to miss 3 to 4 months.

The injury leaves the point guard duties to Tremayne Russell and newcomer Harley Fuller to start the season. TR showed some flashes last season, especially his aggressiveness toward the hoop. HF is a junior transfer from New York.

The FIU hoops injury list now grows to: Alex Galindo (ankle), J.C. Otero (knee), Badara N'Diaye (knee) and Soto (thumb). N'Diaye is done for the season. The other 3 could return for Sun Belt play at the earliest.

Which of these FIU hoopsters cracked a mirror, walked under a ladder, had a black cat cross them or opened an umbrella indoors?


Gppaw Deadline for WIN A GPP BLOG scores for Arkansas State/FIU is 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

Gppaw_2 The GPP WORLDWIDE READERSHIP keeps reaching worldwide in our last poll questions (which are still open) we had a reader from Hanoi, Vietnam vote that he/she did not expect 3 wins from FIU after 8 games. Here's your scorecard:



20 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

November 03, 2008

Greed Is Good...But A Little Perspective

Ul_4 Not a good weekend in the Louisiana bayou for your Golden Panthers and for the GPP, for that matter.

For the second consecutive game, FIU beat itself, but unfortunately in the standings the 2 opponents (Troy, UL) get credit for the wins. We'll get to the Ragin' Cajuns game review in a second, but first, apologies for going off cyberspace during halftime of Saturday's LIVE GPP blog.

Nicest people you'll ever meet in a press box are the UL folks, but the worst wireless service also resides in the UL press box. Wasn't even able to file my FIU notes or game story until after the game and that was from inside the Golden Panthers locker room where the wireless works perfectly.

Had plenty of time to reflect on last Saturday's game driving 2 hours through the bayou on Sunday morning from Lafayette to New Orleans. And had to keep the mind active, because forgot about the daylight savings time change and woke up at 3 a.m. thinking it was 4 to catch a 7 a.m. flight out of N.O. Didn't realize I was 2 hours early for the flight until I saw the clock inside Hertz. So you see your Golden Panthers weren't the only ones from Miami that were lost in Louisiana.Aol_2

Saturday's game actually had a nice start with T.Y. taking the opening kickoff 90 yards for 6 ("1st time that happened in FIU history" -- think we'll be writing the previous phrase often when it comes to T.Y.). Tried to get the UL people to play "Goodbye" after the TD, but they told me to have some more Popeye's gourmet fried chicken and jambalaya (1st time trying either one -- good stuff on both).

FIU kept Tyrell Fenroy underwraps, but again the lack of QB pressure hurt the Golden Panthers and with a mobile QB like Michael Desormeaux you have to take him down when you get the chance. Saw too many times when FIU looked to have a sack and then MD escaped for a 6 or 7-yard run. Lots of missed tackles and on O, too many dropped passes.

Flag Of course, those were just some of FIU's troubles on Sat. The Golden Panthers fell 4 penalties shy of the team record of 17 set against Maine in 2003. Then you have the 2 crucial turnovers in that can-we-hit-the-game-reset-button-2nd quarter.

Although this FIU team is much improved from 2007, the Golden Panthers are not good enough to overcome those self-inflicted mistakes. They are not (insert name of 2008 National Champ here) that can screw up some and still come back and win. FIU doesn't have all the playmakers yet on either side of the ball to mess around and snare a win at the end of the game.

Unlike some that have posted that FIU quit in the second quarter, I don't find that to be the case. The Golden Panthers were playing hard until the end of the game. They are just an inexperienced and not talented enough bunch to know what to do when things go like a snowball into hell like they did in the Snow 2nd quarter.

As for all the penalties, there is no excuse for that. That's a matter of discipline and I think we can all agree that one thing the new coaching staff has brought is discipline. Except for this game in which discipline did not have a seat aboard the FIU plane.

Here's a breakdown of the 13 penalties: 3 false starts, 3 offsides, 3 personal fouls, 2 holding, 1 unsportsmanlike, 1 illegal block. All this needs to be cleaned up.

There are 4 games left (3 Sun Belt games, with Western Kentucky being in transition to the SBC that game does not count toward conference standings). All are at home, Dolphin Stadium is close enough to FIU.

Some FIU fans are antsy with the 2 straight losses, but remember this was a 1-23 team the last 2 years. We've seen FIU triple its win output from last year. It's understandable where you good people are coming from: win 3 games and it's time to get greedy. And in this case: greed is good. Gg_2

However, you only need one hand to count the number of people who honestly believed FIU would be in contention for the SBC title this season.

On the remaining sked, first up, is a tough Arkansas State this Saturday. I thought in the preseason the Red Wolves would be among the favorites in the SBC and they have not disappointed. FIU showed signs of a breakout last year at ASU taking the game until the final kickoff.

The Golden Panthers need to find that identity they had in their 3-game win streak. The last 4 games are all winnable and a 7-5 finish is possible, but like the old saying: 1 at a time. This is only year 2 of re-building the Golden Panthers.

In the wacky Sun Belt anything can happen. Look at Louisiana-Monroe stunning Troy on Saturday and giving the Cajuns sole possession of 1st place in the Sun Belt. Heck, FIU was a total of 2 quarters (3rd qtr at Troy and 2nd qtr at UL) away from being in UL's position right now....The thought of FIU at 4-0 in SBC in November, but really 2-2. I think if I told you either of those records would be the case just 2 months ago all of FIU Nation would take that.


How about those FIU volleyball ladies making it 11 straight with 3 more SBC wins this weekend. The Golden Panthers are now 23-4 and 13-1 leading the Sun Belt.Vb

WIN A GPP BLOG or (2nd place -- 2008 FIU football media guide) Leaderboard (through 8 games):

8-0 (points differential)

Baltimorepanther (162).


CJ (153); FIUChris (164); Gold (168); Ultimate FIU Fan (184).


FIU Voice (140); Clawing Cancer (148); FIU Love (149), Puma (149); outofthecage88 (151); Fomenter (155); Gazi (161); esteban688 (162); NYCFIUFan (163); FIU 0406 (166); FIU Fanatic (181).


FIUJM (166); TheChampionUnderdog (177); FIUrulez (178); fiufan751 (179); TNGoldenPanther (183); MIA/NY Josh (190), U24/7 (190); SouthPaw (203); FIUBlueandGold (206); FIUfantastic (215); CrazyCane (251).


Max (200); gpantera (207); Quijote (242).

GPP: 7-1 (169).

Time to get the UL loss out of your system and let us know what you think of FIU two-thirds through this season:

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