When you think about 8-5 and a bowl appearance, that is supposed to be a good feeling. When you look at the recruiting rankings and see 4★s there is a similar feeling.
When you see the actual scores of the games and the performance in the bowls you wonder how good you should feel about this FIU team.
Butch Davis, in any other season, would have been the talk of the league. As it was, Lane Kiffin, Bill Clark and even Seth Littrell stole his shine. The most dangerous threat to Davis, veteran Florida recruiter and successful builder of National Champions in years past, is of course Lane.
The advanced numbers showed a team that did not do anything particularly well. The wins came against poor teams and were more escapes than dominations. FIU started the year by losing to the eventual national champs 😉 and then won three straight in unconvincing fashion against poor teams — Alcorn State, Rice, and Charlotte. The first two were by seven and the second by a mere one point.
Still, those wins got Panther fans excited, only to be let down in the MTSU debacle. No one could determine what, exactly this FIU team was. Alex McGough was serviceable, but nothing especially great. No back went over 1000 on the season, and the defense had holes.
Still, this same, frustrating team managed to beat Marshall and WKU in convincing fashion, and completely frustrated UTSA. Before the season, this would have been unthinkable.
This would have been a great end to the season if FIU did not drop a game to the struggling ODU and then get completely waxed by Temple in the bowl game.
Still, a bowl game appearance — an arguably better one than FAU — was special. Butch Davis looks to be filling the roster out with guys that can help improve his defense (his specialty) and things are looking up in Miami.
2017 may have been the year of Kiffin in south Florida, but FIU should not be ignored. The payoff may not be as quick as the one-year wonder that was FAU, but Butch Davis won the recruiting class this year and just needs to find a QB this offseason.