Some Conference USA schools released their entire basketball schedules Monday. Some released their conference basketball schedules Monday. Some released nothing Monday.
FIU's in group No. 3, but we're not mad. We just had to do a little research and deduction.
Conference USA uses the travel partner system. For example, FIU and FAU are travel partners. When FIU plays at Southern Mississippi on a Thursday, for example, FAU plays at Louisiana Tech. They'll swap opponents for the Saturday games. The week you play your travel partner, you have only one conference game instead of two. The C-USA partners, aside from FIU and FAU, are Rice-North Texas, Texas-San Antonio-UTEP, Southern Miss-La. Tech, Middle Tennessee State-Alabama-Birmingham, Western Kentucky-Marshall and Charlotte-Old Dominion.
Also, the men and women tend to have mirror schedules.
Based on the schedules already released, here's what we know of FIU's schedules with hypothetical games based on the travel partner system noted by "Probably."
Jan. 2 or 3 -- FAU (probably)
Jan. 7 -- at Western Kentucky
Jan. 9 -- at Marshall
Jan. 14 -- vs. La. Tech
Jan. 16 -- vs. Southern Miss (probably)
Jan. 21 -- at UTSA
Jan. 23 –- at UTEP
Jan. 28 – at Charlotte (probably)
Jan. 30 – at Old Dominion (probably)
Feb. 4 -- at UAB (probably)
Feb. 6 -- at Middle Tennessee
Feb. 11 -– vs. UTEP
Feb. 13 -– vs. UTSA
Feb. 18 – at North Texas
Feb. 20 – at Rice
Feb. 27 -- FAU (probably)
Mar. 3 -- vs. UAB (probably)
Mar. 5 -- vs. Middle
Jan. 2 or 3 -- FAU (probably)
Jan. 7 – vs. Western
Jan. 9 -- vs. Marshall (probably)
Jan. 14 – at La Tech
Jan. 16 -- at Southern Miss (probably)
Jan. 21 -- vs. UTEP (probably)
Jan. 23 -- vs. UTSA (probably)
Jan. 28 –- at Charlotte
Jan. 30 –- at Old Dominion (probably)
Feb. 4 -- vs. UAB (probably)
Feb. 6 – vs. Middle
Feb. 11 -- at UTEP (probably)
Feb. 13 -- at UTSA (probably)
Feb. 18 – vs. North Texas (probably)
Feb. 20 – vs. Rice
Feb. 27 -- FAU (probalby)
Mar. 3 -- at UAB (probably)
Mar. 5 – at Middle
Needing to clear the DVR of David recordings, I finally watched Booker T. Washington's 34-28 overtime win against Bingham (Utah) High in the Burger King State Champions Bowl Series. It wasn't the first time I saw FIU soon-to-be freshman Maurice Alexander. It was the first time I thought "He can come in there and take that quarterback job, if those guys already there don't watch it."
Maybe not this year, although only a fool would rule that out when the competition's a sophomore who started 11 games and looked like a freshman with ability (Alex McGough), a redshirt freshman (Bud Martin) and another true freshman who fits the tall, strapping quarterback suit (Christian Alexander). But Maurice Alexander (no relation) will challenge for that No. 1 job.
The "whatever it takes" quality he showed against Bingham impressed me and probably is why, FIU coach Ron Turner noted from a camp, players gravitate to him as a leader. On one play, Alexander threw a hitch left to running back Mike Walton. Walton reversed his field to get around the right side. Alexander didn't just get in the way of a defensive lineman -- he threw a block with a six-pack of gusto. Later, he broke the same lineman's tackle on a read option keep to slip into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
Alexander ran for two touchdowns and threw for three, including two achingly beautiful touch passes to the numbers. Quarterbacking a team that rarely trails at all and only once before in the fourth quarter, he marched the Tornadoes the length of the field in 1:51 for the tying touchdown with 18 seconds left. He got away with his only mistake, not just getting the first down on a scramble, but trying to dip wide for the sidelines or bigger yardage. He got away with it because on third and 1, he threaded the needle with a throw down the middle. A miscommunication with a receiver that almost turned into a game-killing interception, but you can't tell if that goes on Alexander's account or the receiver's.
Alexander will wear No. 13, probably until Richard Leonard finishes with No. 3. Don't be surprised if, by that point, Alexander's No. 1 on the depth chart.
I'm not saying it will happen. I'm just saying don't be stunned if it does happen.