By Brett Shweky/Sports Director
With FIU having released their 2018 football schedule, new challenges are on the horizon for Head Coach Butch Davis and the rest of the Panthers.
The 2018 campaign for FIU will include five bowls teams from 2017, a season-opener against a Big Ten opponent and a renewal of an old rivalry.
Conference USA’s 14-team alignment will be implemented again for the 2018 season, the Panthers will play eight conference games and four non-league opponents.
Head Coach Butch Davis discussed how he feels this year’s schedule will offer the Panthers new obstacles.
“This year’s schedule again will be a great test for our program,” FIU head coach Butch Davis said. “The front end of the schedule will be extremely challenging especially with big games against Indiana and Miami to get us ready for conference.”
FIU opens the 2018 season against the Indiana Hoosiers, as the team hosts the Big Ten opponent for the second time in three seasons. In their 2016 matchup, the Hoosiers came out on top, winning 34-13. The Panthers will have a chance to avenge their previous loss on Sept. 1.
The following week for the Panthers, the team will travel to Norfolk, Va. to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs in their Conference USA opener. In 2017, the Monarchs posted a (5-7) overall record and a (3-5) conference record.
The Panthers’ 2018 schedule will include the renewal of the series with the University of Miami Hurricanes. The last time the two teams met was at the historic Orange Bowl in 2007, where Miami defeated FIU 23-9. The game against the cross-town rival Hurricanes is slated for Sept. 22.
The team’s bye week will be on Oct. 6, following their matchup against FCS opponent Arkansas Pine Bluff.
Davis highlighted that having the bye week midway through the season will offer the team a nice advantage.
“Having the bye week midway through the year will give us a chance to regroup at the right time and gear up for the second half of the season, especially with three of our last five C-USA games on the road,” said Davis. “We’re going to have to have a good offseason to get us ready.”
After the bye week, FIU will close out the season only playing C-USA opponents.
On Nov. 3 at Riccardo Silva Stadium, the Panthers will host the FAU Owls in the annual Shula Bowl. Last season, the Owls clinched the C-USA Championship under new head coach Lane Kiffin.
FIU will conclude their 2018 campaign on Nov. 24 at home, as the team hosts the Marshall Thundering Herd. In their previous matchup in Huntington, WV., the Panthers pounced on the Herd, defeating Marshall 41-30.
The 2017 season for FIU featured an (8-5) overall record and a (5-3) conference record. The Panthers returned to a bowl game for the third-time in program history with the team competing in the 2017 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
The Panthers will look to build upon their successful 2017 season, as the Butch Davis era turns the page to year two.