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Pan-Panthers Postseason Prospects

All of FIU's fall athletic teams might play postseason games. As of lunchtime Monday, none possess the standings position to do so.

So, the Halloween week FIU contests arrive pregnant with possibilities. By Sunday night, we'll know who saw The Great Pumpkin rise and who brought forth Damien

Football (3-5, 2-2 in Conference USA): Bowl eligibility's still very attainable. Rice (this weekend's foe), Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas could cobble the best of their rosters and not be as good as Marshall or Louisville. Granted, the Panthers' demonstrated youthful inconsistency stands antipodal to four consecutive wins or even three straight. And, as far as attractive, a 6-6 FIU is 7-5 FIU unshowered with morning breath. But bowls these days place real estate's importance on location, location, location, so the Boca Bowl and Popeye's Bahamas Bowl still might love FIU at 6-6. I don't see that happening without beating Rice, Saturday at noon.

If They Don't Make It, They'll Regret: Losing 16-13 at Texas-San Antonio with all those fumbles and red zone failures.

(Side note: noon kickoff, in South Florida; the day after Halloween; against a meh opponnent; with the other FBS team in town kicking off at 12:30 p.m...just call FIU's Saturday attendance "Sonny.")


Women's Soccer (8-8-1, 3-4-1): The conference tournament takes eight teams and five spots have been clinched. FIU sits 10th, in the midst of a gaggle fighting for the last three spots, with 10 points in conference play (three points for a win, one for a tie). The Panthers need at least a win and a tie out of the Thursday game against Marshall and the Saturday game at Alabama-Birmingham. Marshall, which sits sixth right now with 14 points, needs Thursday's game, too, as it's The Herd's last conference game. Expect more than the usual Senior Night passion at FIU Soccer Field. A win Thursday obviously goes a long way to getting the Panthers what they need, especially because UAB is likely to lose to Rice Thursday. In that case, UAB would be playing for pride while FIU would be playing for playoffs.

If They Don't Make It, They'll Regret: A 2-1 home loss to North Texas on a penalty kick in the 88th minute and a 2-1 home loss to Charlotte on a goal in the 87th minute.

Men's Soccer (5-7-1, 1-4): Seven teams get into the conference tournament. FIU's ninth with three points and has home games with FAU Wednesday and conference leader Kentucky Sunday before closing next week with Old Dominion. Beating the Owls, owners of four points and sitting eighth, would hop the Panthers into a tie with South Carolina. FIU's been all over the place this year, so it's not inconceivable the Panthers could lose to FAU to seemingly slay their chances, then do a Dracula rise-and-bite on Kentucky and Old Dominion.

If They Don't Make it, They'll Regret: the wild 5-4 home loss to South Carolina in which they gave up the winner with three seconds left in regulation after leading 2-1 and 4-3; and, the next game, a 4-3 loss to Charlotte after leading 3-0.

Volleyball (6-17, 3-7): Eight teams get past the velvet rope. FIU's ninth, tied with Middle Tennessee at 3-7 but having lost the head-to-head match. There's three conference matches left after this week, but you have to get into position for those. That means not getting shut out at FAU Wednesday or in home matches against Rice Friday and Charlotte Sunday.

If They Don't Make It, They'll Regret: losing at home to Middle, 3-2 (25-18, 25-19, 21-25, 18-25, 9-15), after winning the first two sets.





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