Sure, FIU is 0-3 on the season and technically have been in every game they have played in so far. But there is room, since they have all been tough out of conference road games, for fans to be pleased with the improvement this team has shown compared to it’s putrid 2009 year.
The team has shown a more consistent, improved defense. Let’s not throw out the big plays that have killed the Golden Panthers the last few weeks, but lets give some credit to the opponents, who playing at home, have come through with big plays. Despite last weeks meltdown at Maryland, FIU still ranks first in the SBC on total defense. They are still third in pass and run defense in the SBC.
Barring the predictable playcalling, lack of discipline and an injury bug ala 2009, things will surely look up in conference play. That’s because the team will have an even slate for its final eight games, as in four at home and four on the road. We will talk about this more next week, for now, lets look at Pitt as we close out non conference play.
FIU is once again expected to lose this one. Pittsburgh came in 2010 as the favorite to win the Big East and an upstart team. They have fallen to a 1-2 start however, and were dismantled at home by Miami (FL) last week.
You all will read a lot about Pitt’s star running back, Dion Lewis, who is absolutly dynamic for the Panthers.
If we have seen one thing from this FIU team, however, is that they can put together a great defensive game. Given how Pitt has only showed some semblence of an offense in a cake walk win over New Hamphshire, FIU has an opportunity to hold this team under 20 points. And let’s say that the defense holds their end of the bargain…..
OPENING IT UP
FIU threw the football 58 times last week. That was a record. Naturally, the stats filled up after that and the Golden Panthers set records for most colpmetions (35) and completed passes to 12 different receivers. Was it a breakout game for Wes? Probably not. The completion percentage wasn’t there, so the stats were more a result of his amount of attempts. Let’s remember that Maryland has a horrid defense as well. And, FIU is doing a nice job at keeping his jersey clean (10th in FBS in sacks allowed per game).
The team will have to score over 20 points to win this one. Some more efficiency and a stout run game against a vulnerable Pitt defense will do the job and bring FIU back home with the biggest win in program history.
Both sides of the ball will likely come up short in holding their ends of the bargain here. FIU will come home 0-4, with a must win home contest vs. WKU awaiting as conference play begins.
- Given that FIU is playing Pitt here, I will again voice my opinion on FIU’s branding situation. It is ironic that FIU plays another team that wears blue and gold and calls itself the Panthers, because FIU is trying so hard to be just that. Pitt has been around since 1787, and it’s dissapointing that FIU’s has lazily settled on a generic logo and brand. I understand wanting to implement something clean and simple in its design, but copying something else is different.
With that being said, this isn’t all to blame on the current people in charge. Former president Modesto Maidique changed the school mascot to a Golden Panther from the cool and unique SunBlazer the team had that even starred in Miami Vice. Overall, athletics has already pretty much pushed a campaign to drop the ‘Golden’ from the name as well. Not a big deal, but just voicing my two cents about the brand/logo/mascot situation.
Remember, if you need something to listen to in the mournings or as driving through traffic in the mourning, ‘Panther Sports Talk Live’ every Mon-Wed-Fri from 10-11 a.m. streaming live on fiusm.com and on your radio dial on 95.3(MMC) and 96.9(BBC). We recently had a caller call in, in quite colorfull terms, and called for Mario Cristobal’s head. You can call in at 305-348-3575 and share your opinion.
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Written by Jay Ramos