Football becomes bowl eligible, still in the hunt for C-USA title

By Joel Delgado ’12, MS ’17

Don’t look now, but FIU football is on a roll.

Under first-year Head Coach Butch Davis, the Panthers are in the midst of a turnaround season that fans have been waiting for a long time.

On Saturday night, FIU became bowl eligible for the third time in program history after a 14-7 victory over the University of Texas at San Antonio. It took only eight games for the Panthers to reach that mark, the fastest any FIU team has reached the six-win threshold.

The last time the Panthers were eligible for a bowl game was 2011, when FIU took on Marshall in the St. Petersburg Bowl. It looks like that postseason drought will end after six years.

“Quite a night,” Davis said after the game. “Things aren’t always easy for us. One thing we can count on each week is the guts and determination and the willingness to pay the price every night.”

Not only have the Panthers (6-2, 4-1 Conference USA) secured bowl eligibility, but they are also in the hunt for a C-USA championship.

FIU has a favorable schedule down the stretch with three of the team’s four remaining games being played at home within the friendly confines of Riccardo Silva Stadium.

Conference USA East Division standings as of Nov. 6, 2017.

The Panthers currently sit in second place in the C-USA East Division standings and the only team to catch is rival Florida Atlantic, led by new coach Lane Kiffin. The Owls have a perfect 5-0 record in conference play.

This year’s Shula Bowl between the Panthers and Owls on Nov. 18 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton could very well determine who will play in the conference championship game in early December. Sporting News has billed the upcoming contest as one of college football’s top 25 games in the month of November.

But first, the red-hot Panthers will go for their fourth straight victory against Old Dominion (3-6, 1-4 C-USA) at Riccardo Silva Stadium on Nov. 11.

No matter what happens, the final month of the season should be a fun ride.