Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the FIU season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: FIU Golden Panthers
Butch Davis picked the wrong year to come up with one of his best head coaching jobs.
All he did was take a FIU program that struggled to break through after years of mediocrity and get it to eight wins and a bowl game.
However, it happened in the same season as the Miami Hurricanes’ fantastic run to the ACC Championship game for the first time, and it happened when That Team Up North – Florida Atlantic – took the Conference USA world by storm.
And it happened in a year when a storm took the state of Florida for a stretch.
The lack of attention doesn’t diminish how great it was for Davis and his staff to swoop in, come up with eight wins, and get to a bowl – even if it was a clunker of a 28-3 loss to Temple.
This year, it’s about maintaining the success, being more consistent, and making sure that Kiffin guy doesn’t own the rivalry and the area.
There needs to be a better offense despite losing the top skill guys, and the defense has to be stronger and more disruptive despite losing just about everyone who mattered in the back seven.
The team that good enough to whack WKU and beat Marshall can’t be flaky enough again to lose to struggle against teams as bad as 2017 Rice, Charlotte and Alcorn State – winning all three games by a total of 14 points.
But that’s going to be the deal for a while. It’ll take a little bit to get the players in place to make FIU a consistent Conference USA powerhouse. Fortunately for the team, keeping Davis around might not be a problem.
About to turn 67 this season, and at a program he can make into his own, there are worse places to play out a coaching career than in the Miami area. Meanwhile, Kiffin is gone at the first serious offer from a bigger-time school.
Davis has dealt with plenty of adversity and had to work a few miracles before. Getting this FIU team to its fourth bowl game in school history should be easy by comparison.