Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sun Belt 2010-Florida International Golden Panthers
2009 Record: 3-9 (3-5)
Head Coach: Mario Cristobal (4th season, 9-27)
Offensive Coordinator: Scott Satterfield (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Geoff Collins (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Never been
Offense: There are issues on the line and in the backfield. Wesley Carroll, a Mississippi State transfer, was supposed to be the starting QB, but allowed senior Wayne Younger into the battle during the spring. Syracuse transfer Jerimiah Hardin is getting his first look after sitting out last season, but will be battled by Darriet Perry for carries. YA Hilton, who is the best WR in the group, is back as the offensive leader. He is a big play threat for certain. Jason Frierson and Greg Ellingson are also back as starters at WR. TE Jonathon Faucher returns as well, so whomever wins the QB battle will at least have experienced people to throw to upfield. RG Dave Istanich is the lone returning starter on the line, so whomever wins the QB battle will probably also be running for their lives.
Defense: This unit is a wasteland. Only one starter returns in the front seven, and the starters that were lost did a horrible job last year anyway. It can't get worse, but it can stay the same. LB Toronto Smith is the only returnee (starting at LB). CB Anthony Gaitor and FS Jonathon Cyprien are the lone returnees in the secondary, but they were pretty awful last season too. The buffet is open, and people are going to feast.
Special Teams: Again, no starters coming back, so it's time to start over once again. PK should go to freshman Josh Brisk, while punter should go to Jack Griffin, a sophomore. Not so special.
Wins: 10/9 Western Kentucky, 10/16 @ North Texas
Toss Up Games: 9/25 @ Maryland, 10/30 @ Florida Atlantic, 11/20 @ Louisiana-Lafayette
Losses: 9/11 Rutgers, 9/18 @ Texas A&M, 10/2 @ Pittsburgh, 11/6 Louisiana-Monroe, 11/113 @ Troy, 11/27 Arkansas State, 12/4 Middle Tennessee
Well, it's pretty ugly. 3 of the first 4 games are against 2009 bowl teams. The last two games are at home, but they are against Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee, which are guaranteed losses. Virtually no chance at success with this slate.
Outlook: Bad. Mario Cristobal will feel some heat after this season, as FIU stands no chance at posting a winning season. The Panthers could lose as many as 9 games this season, which would be doomsday for the coaching staff. Cristobal worked very hard to improve the roster this off season, but it won't be enough for 2010.