The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the FIU Golden Panthers.
No. 98: FIU Golden Panthers
Spring Practice Starts: March 5
Spring Game: April 6
FIU Golden Panthers Spring Status
It all went better than anyone could’ve asked for. The Butch Davis hiring led to an 8-5 season and a bowl appearance, even if the back part of the season was a problem with three losses in the last five games.
The Golden Panthers have to replace QB Alex McGough and RB Alex Gardner, but the receiving corps is loaded with experience, and the offensive front gets back four starters.
The defense has to come up with some new key linebackers and three new starters in the secondary, but the line should be terrific with a little bit of time.
There’s a lot less work to do than Davis had in front of him last year. Now he has to work mostly on the expectations to start doing more.
FIU Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Linebacker. It’s the quarterback situation, but that will have to wait – Bowling Green transfer James Morgan isn’t coming in until this summer. The bigger problem is finding two new killer linebackers to replace top two tacklers Anthony Wint and Treyvon Williams, and now the spotlight is on Sage Lewis – a 55-tackle veteran – and Tyree Johnson to set the example for the rest of the defense.
FIU Biggest Issue
The secondary has to make more big plays. The pass defense struggled throughout last season, allowing 244 yards per game and finishing 13th in the conference. The Golden Panthers only came up with seven picks on the year and got hit with almost 240 passing yards or more in seven of the last nine games. Fortunately, there’s experience returning.
FIU Biggest Positive
Receivers. The running back situation is solid, too, even without Alex Gardner around. The receivers should be even better once the quarterback situation is settled. Losing leading target Thomas Owens isn’t a plus, but the next six top wideouts are back. Now the passing attack has to be even stronger without McGough.
Really, Why Are The FIU Golden Panthers Ranked Here?
To be brutally honest, FIU was helped by a light schedule with a whole slew of easy, winnable games in a mediocre league. However, the Golden Panthers were able to beat WKU and Marshall along the way, and the offense stepped it up over the second half of the season. Davis is the right coach, and now eight-win seasons should be the norm.