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WildPanther, Wild D & Special Teams

So who do your Panthers think they are with this WildPanther thing -- the Dolphins?Wildberry

Pretty effective rushing game on Saturday against the Mean Green. FIU rushed for a Dolphin-like 173 yards -- the second highest total this season after the 206 rushing yards they put up against Western Kentucky.

Kendall Berry (right) is made for the WildPanther. KB is a former high school running quarterback. Or as he put it, "I like going back to my roots". And did you notice what Daunte Owens can do when he gets a little blocking?

Although, it was not the WildPanther, backup quarterback Wayne Younger (below, left, thanks Sam Lewis photo) showed he has got some moves in the open field.

If you haven't seen Younger since Saturday, he has dropped a ton of weight after all those "people" got off his back. No, he ain't Peyton Manning, but who is? Will you now cut WY some slack? MC and Bill Legg played him in the right situations Saturday.

Some creativity on offense with the use of both PMC and WY. Might be a peek at the 2010 offense with the 2 Ws -- Wesley and Wayne. Who knows, because if the FIU O-line is sub-par next season, the Wy Panthers might need more creativity when they have the ball.

Obviously, the offense had to score the 21-unanswered points against NT, but it was the FIU D and special teams that set everything up.

Tip the hat to DB Peter Riley (below, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), who started it all with a pick 6. Then Jonathan Faucher with the blocked punt and Trenard Turner with the recovery. Anthony Gaitor and Jonathan Cyprien finished it with a forced fumble and recovery.

The FIU D which has been hurt pretty bad with the run this season held NT to just 61 yards rushing in the 2nd half.

Big plays along the D-line to Andrew Mattox (below, left, thanks AJH photo), who is only a walk-on in name. We're seeing the reasons heRiley was the Osceola Defensive Player of the Year last season at Spruce Creek.

Aaron Davis with another big game (13 tackles) and Jarvis Wilson with 9 stops. Tyler Clawson had another big game. Now, FIU needs to take all this up to Gainesville.

Mattox FIU has been listening to you good people as Saturday's gameday experience showed. Led by UltimateFIUFan, you people have been clamoring for "Zombie Nation" piped into the stadium and FIU responded Saturday.

There was even the quiet sign on the jumbotron when FIU had the ball. I know a bunch of you are not fans of the "Ole, ole, ole" chant, but when it's done in unison by the largest home crowd of the season after an FIU TD or good play -- it's not that bad and unique in college football to FIU.

Nice crowd at Saturday's game after I called it a Marlins crowd in the first quarter. The 11K plus stayed until the end -- then again your Panthers gave them a reason to stay. And yes, 11K is good for FIU considering there is no winning tradition or consistent fan base.

This is an abbreviated post today, because I've been assigned to a hockey marathon all day today covering the hockey Panthers.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw Don't forget LIVE GPP BLOG tommorrow night (Tuesday) of FIU's hoops home opener against Florida Memorial. Will be on-line around 7:45 p.m. for the 8 p.m. tip-off. Like the 7 p.m. football kickoffs, might have to leave you a little early to write game story for Wednesday's paper.

Aaapaw You can check out a story on FIU's best team -- the lady Panthers volleyball team -- in Thursday'sVolley Miami Herald as the ladies play their first Sun Belt Tournament match on Thursday morning. About the only way a Sun Belt team can stop these ladies is to wrap a net around them like in the photo on the right. 

Q&A

FIURE: Pete, Is there any news on if the Big East is really looking at FIU.

PP: Not right now, need the big 3 FIU sports to start winning some Sun Belt titles before any of that happens. Yes, we'll call the FIU volleyball ladies as one of the big 4 FIU sports. They certainly deserve it.

pikedanny: Pete, Not sure if anyone has asked this already, so here goes. Any word on who we might schedule in place of UCF for next year?

PP: Word is it will be another home-and-home series with another Big East team (not South Florida, they want nothing to do with FIU after the Rutgers football deal. The Bulls cancelled the baseball series with FIU this season after the football deal.) The UCF series is still a 4-game home-and-home, but it will now start in Be 2011. The first game of the new home-and-home with the unidentified Big East team (possibly the fighting Wannstaches of Pitt) will be on the road so FIU has 5 home and 7 away games next season. In 2011, is the first season FIU has 6 home and 6 away games.

FIUFPL: Pete, can you find out if there will be an FIU hosted tailgate.

PP: Yes, it will be at the O'Connell Center (UF hoops arena) at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Aaapaw Unless, one of the greatest upsets in college football history happens this coming Saturday, Fomenter should clinch 1st place in the WIN A GPP BLOG sweepstakes. 2nd place is still up for grabs.

Congrats to TheChampionUnderdog and OC FIU Panther, who with their predictions both nailed the exact score of FIU's 35-28 win. Even though OC dropped out after not giving a score for the MT game.

WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 10 STANDINGS (FIU/Florida scores due by 12:29 p.m. Eastern GPP Time on Saturday)

10-0

Fomenter (142)

8-2

FIU0406 (168), NYCFIUFan (188)

7-3

CJ (173), BaltimorePanther (187), theINTERNATIONAL (189), Joel (191), CrazyCane (197)

6-4

TheChampionUnderdog (184), FIU Fanatic (192)

4-6

SouthPaw (207), FIUer (345)

GPP: 8-2, (158)

 

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Tailgate at the O'Connell center is at 10am Saturday morning...

Hmm... a home-and-home series with Pitt would be pretty interesting with Dave being a former Dolphins coach... imagine him returning to Miami at FIU Stadium? That would make for a feeding frenzy in Miami. I think a series with Syracuse or Connecticutt would be fantastic. They have name recognition and are beatable as well.

It's a shame that USF wants nothing to do with us anymore... it really is. We should have good relations with teams in our own state, for the fans' sakes. I hope that brigde can be mended soon... plus, if we ever want to make the jump to the Big East (just sayin'...), we don't want to make an enemy out of USF. We want them on our side. Ask UCF how that's going for 'em...

And can't wait for the game tomorrow! Hopefully we'll all be witnessing the first win in the Isiah Thomas era!

Pete, thanks for answering my questions.

I still don't understand why they would absolutely need to play the game away. A home-and-home doesn't have to be in consecutive years, does it? FIU can sign a home- and-home with a team starting at home in 2010 with the agreement to play away in a few years.

As much as I'd love to see FIU go on the road and take down a Big East opponent, I think it would do the team, the fan base, and future attendance figures some good to play a lesser opponent in a home season opener.

FIU has the opportunity to give its fan base a sixth home game. Unfortunately, it's probably smarter for the program from a financial standpoint. There is probably more money to be made by going on the road than by hosting a home game that only 11,000 people attend. But then again, if FIU started with a home win or two, instead of coming off of two straight Big East losses on the road, hosting games might yield FIU some more money.

Truth is, I'm just a season ticket holder that wants more bang for their buck!

Pete,

I submitted my score for the NT game the week prior on the same blog I posted the MTSU prediction, since I kneww I might not get a chance last week, will you give me credit for that/

Thanks.

On the blog The Price Is Dwight on November 05, 2009 at 11:26 PM my prediction fro the UNT game was

UNT 17
FIU 24

For goodness sake... say it ain't so Pete... will you actually give Fomenter a chance to blog about his endless and useless nonsense?

The chance to blog should go to someone who has something positive to say about our university.

Well, technically speaking in 2010 the FAU game can be considered a "home game" of sorts. Most of us fans will be able to actually go to six games this season. If they are smart, FIU will promote the game on campus as a home game, providing bus rides, tix to students and the works. I'd prefer a sixth home game, too... but I'm trying to look at the bright side here.

Thanks for tailgate info, FIUPIKE....someone at FIU gave me the wrong info. I fixed it already on this post.

*****************************

FIU0406: Your score is included now in the standings. Sorry, missed it the first time.

*****************************

LonePanther: The GPP runs a fair contest. Whoever wins writes.

Gotta give Fomentor props... he's picking them right on the money.

I hate to admit it, but Joel's right, our good friend Fomenter seems to be right on the money. Looking forward to his blog, I'd love nothing more than to argue some more.

Fomenter, bring your A' game so we can all rip your blog to shreds.

Does this mean USF is scared of FIU too?

I love how you try your hardest to deny that UM is scared of us.

Pike Danny, it's all about money. FIU can make a heck of a lot more money playing a big BCS school on the road in a single away game (filler game) than we can by playing at home. The big boys (UF, Bama, OSU, Oklahoma, USC, etc) pay huge sums of money for a home game (I personally know OSU paid New Mexico $500k for a game this year). There's no way FIU generates anything close to that for a home game.

Now maybe if we could get a huge team to come for a home and home (like UCF playing Texas), then we could fill up Landshark Stadium with mostly visiting fans. But, until that happens, we're stuck with the paychecks (nothing wrong with that, especially if it gets your name out there).

As for the Big East talk, can we put it to rest? There's no way we move to the Big East in the next five years. Conference USA is the most likely destination. What I see happening, is the Big East takes on two football members (UCF and maybe Memphis) and Conference USA asks Troy & FIU to join. I could see that happening. But, I really doubt we're anywhere on the Big East's radar at this point. If we get the basketball program into the top 25 and the football program starts making bowl games, then we'll move up to another conference. But, I doubt that it will be the Big East.

I could see a major realignment occurring in the next five years or so, if the Big Ten were to take on another member (Notre Dame, Cincy, Rutgers or Pitt). This could cause a realignment within several conferences, especially Big East football. We may move to a different conference when this happens, but it would probably be Conference USA. What do you guys think? BTW, what started all this Big East talk in the first place?

Our overly optimistic preseason predictions, that's what started the Big East talk. Prior to that, I don't think any of us had any solid evidence or inside info to support an invitation from the BE.

Hey Pete, thanks for all you do and I've can't wait to read the Volleyball story.

One thing though, it's not our job to get off WY's back. It's the coaches job, as we've said many times here, to put their players in the best possible position to be successful. Unfortunately it has taken the coaching staff the better part of the year to figure this out.

Also, I assume that our home part of the Pitt series (if it materializes) would be played at Land Shark as I can't imagine a big-name school like Pitt playing at an 18k seat stadium. And I don't assume that phase II of the stadium build-out will be accomplished before the 2011 season. Looking forward to hearing more.

Thanks again.

Carolina Panther id have to agree w/ you i would see if there is a switch/ realignment it would prob be to the C-USA... no way big east poaches the Belt for a new school for their conf.. if i had to say i would think ND would be the most obvious choice for the Big East.. but then again.. that prob wont happen.. ND likes being independent

No... I do not want to go play at Land Shark Stadium if we host Pitt. Absolutely not. If a team wants to play us, come play at OUR stadium. Period. USF did it, so why not Pitt? If that gets us to finish closing out the bowl, then let's do it. But if we get Pitt, let's get them to play at our stadium so we can try and fill out The Cage. THAT'S what this program needs. Not outsourcing our biggest games to Whatever-Name-Stadium.

And C-USA... If the Sun Belt continues to improve and gets more guaranteed bowl games, I say we stay. Remember, the Belt is a young conference and is just starting to show signs of success. North Texas and FAU (maybe.. lol) will be getting beautiful new football facilities soon. WKU has an amazing football stadium and great basketball program. MTSU is getting stronger. Troy is Troy. And South Alabama will be joining the conference in football soon and they love their football. Plus, I think this conference is better for us travel wise. Big East calls, I say we jump at the chance. C-USA, maybe but I don't know...

Joel,

Actually Travel wise the Big East would be the perfect Conference. As a former athlete at FIU I still have nightmares over the long trips to UNT, ASU, Little Rock (No Football), and Western. But I do think the Sunbelt is perfect for us in more ways then one. Right now we are not TROY, and for a school that has been in this Conference for only 10 years we are not doing so bad. Remember that FIU was in the TACC in 1998. I think "realistic" our future can look something like this:

Football: 6-6 (2010)
Baseball: Sunbelt Champs (2010)
Soccer: 8-8 (2010)
Basketball: Sunbelt Semi's (2011)
Track: Top 3 in Sunbelt

WOMEN
Volleyball: Sweet 16 (2010)
Softball: Sunbelt Champs (2010)
Basketball: Sunbelt Smei's (2011)
Track: Sunbelt Champs (2011)

We can make some noise in the Sunbelt if we just keep the improvement going. No one can say that we are not headed in the right direction.. We can be the OVERALL Powerhouse of the Sunbelt the way Western use to be in the 80's..

GO FIU!!

I'm off to Gainesville for the "FIU Miracle" on Friday! Who else from the GPP is going>

GO FIU!!!

Im headed to the Cross Country State Meet! I wish it wasnt in the same weekend! I just hope the Injury Bug does not follow us to GVille.. We cant afford anyone lese hurt for FAU game. BTW i think we will easily see 15K at the Cage for the FAU (10K from fiu and 5K from fau)..

Pete, I saw your boy Butch Stallings at the 13.1 Half Marathon. He does not seem like the nices person in the Herald Building.. Maybe his just not a morning person.. Ha ha ha

I'm going ! Leaving on Friday.

Gooch,

Knowing Butch...i agree with the second part of your assestment. Since I'm a former Herald staffer.

Guys,

FAU and Pitt are not going to have 5K fans at our stadium. Schools generally don't provide the visiting school with such a large amount of tickets.

The visiting school would have to purchase MORE tickets from FIU in order to give it to its fan base.

And there is no way in hell we would play Pitt at LandShark. The whole reason we spent millions on our stadium is to play home games at HOME!

Though I'd like to stay in the SBC, perhaps being in C-USA will give us more exposure than the Sunbelt can.

No conference is going to cherry-pick a school from the SBC. It's just not going to happen. At least not anytime soon. I use to scoff at the idea of moving to C-USA, but perhaps moving there is the logical stepping stone to a BCS conference in the future.

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