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Florida Atlantic Football Preview Predictions and Schedule 2011
When you take into consideration that Florida Atlantic didn't even have a football team until 2001, you can really appreciate the job Howard Schnellenberger has done with the program. They have had 4 winning seasons, including an 11-3 year in 2003 and 9-4 in 2004, and have played in 2 bowl games, winning them both. There are programs that have been around much longer then Florida Atlantic that haven't had as much success.
But Florida Atlantic has steadily declined winning fewer games in each of the last 4 years, the last 2 being losing seasons. Last season their offense was among the worst in college football, averaging just 17 points per game while the defense gave up 29. They return some key skill position players on offense this year but must replace QB Jeff Van Kemp. It gets worse on the defensive side of things where they return just 3 starters.
As if their lack of experienced talent isn't enough, they'll also have to open up their season by playing their first 5 games on the road due to the building of their new state of the art 70 million dollar stadium which will hold 30,000 fans on campus. They open with games at Florida, Michigan State and Auburn. Ouch! But hey, you know what they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. That can be true from a handicapping standpoint.
There was a wide enough gap between Florida Atlantic and top Sun Belt teams like Troy and Arkansas State to assume they are still a ways away from contending for a conference title. But they were close enough to middle of the pack Sun Belt teams like UL Monroe and not to mention wins over the bottom of the pack, to suggest that they will at least be competitive.
From a betting standpoint, circle October 15th. That's the date they open their new stadium as they host Florida International. We'd like the spot more if there was the added incentive of revenge, but that won't be the case as they beat Florida International 21-9 last season. But after 5 straight road games, returning home with all of the excitement and added motivation that goes along with opening a new stadium, this could be a good spot for Florida Atlantic.
This team should win 4 or 5 games. Howard Schnellenberger could squeeze a couple more wins out of them making it a possibility that this team wins 6 and becomes bowl eligible but it's a long shot. 4 or 5 sounds about right. Anything more than 6 wins would be an absolute shock.
2011 Florida Atlantic Football Schedule
9-3-11 at Florida
9-10-11 at Michigan State
9-24-11 at Auburn
10-1-11 at Louisiana-Lafayette
10-8-11 at North Texas
10-15-11 WESTERN KENTUCKY
10-22-11 MIDDLE TENNESSEE
11-5-11 ARKANSAS STATE
11-12-11 at Florida International
11-19-11 at Troy
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