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The 2015 Football Schedule

Five home games, seven road games, no bye weeks. The athletics department bean counters ought to be happy, however -- of the seven road games, the Panthers can get on the bus, Gus, for two.

The demise of Alabama-Birmingham leaves Conference USA with another 13-team football season.

Sept. 5 -- at Central Florida. FIU did UCF a solid by agreeing to move this game from 2014 to 2015, giving the Knights a bye week after their overseas game with Penn State. Good measuring stick right out of the gate.

Sept. 12 -- at Indiana. Let's make this clear: I grew up in Indianapolis caring almost as much about IU football as IU basketball (it's against state law to care equally as much). My four years in Bloomington described the kind of college experience many people hope to have. They included covering the two best seasons of IU football in my cognizant lifetime.

And I will laugh from Kilroy's all the way back to the 305 if FIU takes down Indiana. It would be a win against a Big Ten school, mediocre as the Hoosiers football tradition is, but also Indiana thinks it bought a win. IU paid to get out of a game with South Florida to enter into a home-and-home with FIU that nets $800,000 to the Panthers.

Sept. 19 -- North Carolina Central. This year's FCS supplement for bulking up wins and statistics.

Sept. 26 -- at Louisiana Tech. FIU brings back its defense. West Division champion Louisiana Tech brings back running back Kenneth Dixon (1,299 rushing yards, 5.1 per carry). I'm tingly already.

Oct. 3 -- at UMass. You've got to come home with the bacon (or chowdah) from this game.

Oct. 10 -- UTEP. If Bill Clark wasn't Conference USA Coach of the Year for what he did at UAB (RIP for now), then it's Sean Kugler for turning UTEP from stink bomb to bowl team.

Oct. 17 -- at Middle Tennessee State. My preliminary pick for the East Division.

Oct. 24 -- Old Dominion. Now, it's ODU coming to FIU with an inexperienced quarterback after four years of Taylor Heinicke.

Oct. 31 -- at FAU. On Halloween. With both teams still entertaining bowl hopes.

Nov. 7 -- Charlotte. FIU gets a home cupcake on the same weekend the women's soccer team hosts the Conference USA tournament. 

Nov. 14 -- at Marshall. Let's see if they go from Thundering Herd to annoying Green Hornets without Cato.

Nov. 21 -- Western Kentucky. Remember the Sun Belt version of the Hilltoppers? Defense, severely limited quarterback while running a running back up the statistic charts and into the ground. Yeah, now they're Air Brohm with Drew Doughty. Unless the Over/Under exceeds 70, jump on the high side to get your Christmas and Hanukkah gift money.

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