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2011 Florida International Football Preview Predictions and Schedule
Last season Florida International kicked off their year against 4 straight non conference teams, Rutgers, Texas AM, Maryland and Pitt. Not surprisingly, they started the year 0-4. But starting the year against 4 tough teams is not always a bad thing. If you can avoid injuries, it can prepare you for a not as tough conference schedule. That's exactly what happened with Florida International as they bounced back from that 0-4 start by going 7-2 the rest of the way and grabbing a piece of the Sun Belt Title along with a trip to the Little Caesars Bowl where they nipped Toledo 34-32.
Their Sun Belt losses came to Florida Atlantic and a one point loss to Middle Tennessee. This year their non conference schedule is much easier and they return at least 7 starters on both sides of the ball including QB Wesley Carroll. Expect Head Coach Mario Cristobal to become a hot commodity with another winning season in 2011. He took over a winless program in 2007 and has done exactly what you hire a coach to do. Produce a winner.
Wanna bet? From a betting standpoint you've got two prime opportunities with Florida International this year. Both come later in the year. The first is November 12th when they host Florida Atlantic. They will get the chance to avenge a 21-9 loss from a year ago to a team they are better than. The 2nd revenge shot comes the last game of the year when they play at Middle Tennessee, their other Sun Belt loss from a year ago which kept them from claiming sole possession of the Sun Belt Title. In that game they won the stat battle but lost the game 28-27 after leading 27-21 with 7 minutes remaining. FIU also fumbled while in field goal range with just a little over 2 minutes remaining.
We predict at least a record that matches last season's 7 win mark. There are some Sun Belt games that could go either way, but with an easier non conference schedule there can be no excuses for anything less than 7 wins and another bowl game for the Panthers.
2011 Florida International Football Schedule
9-1-11 NORTH TEXAS (Thur.)
9-9-11 at Louisville (Fri.)
10-8-11 at Akron
10-18-11 at Arkansas State (Tue.)
10-25-11 TROY (Tue.)
11-5-11 at Western Kentucky
11-12-11 FLORIDA ATLANTIC
11-19-11 at Louisiana-Monroe
11-26-11 at Middle Tennessee
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