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2011 FIU Golden Panthers Gambling Odds | Predictions

2011-2012 Football Previews – Sun Belt Conference – Florida International Golden Panthers

The Florida International Golden Panthers have only had a football program since 2002, but Mario Cristobal took his team to the top of the Sun Belt in 2010.

Sun Belt Conference 2011-2012 Football Previews: Florida International
Head Coach: Mario Cristobal
2010 Record: 7-6
Florida International Gambling Odds from JustBet to win BCS: +1,500 (Part of Field)
Florida International Odds from 5Dimes to win Sun Belt Conference: +240

FIU Team Page – Players Stats – Roster – 2011 Schedule –>

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In the Little Caesars Bowl, Florida International took down Toledo 34-32 in dramatic fashion. Can Cristobal turn the Golden Panthers into a perennial power in the Sun Belt?

The Golden Panthers have 15 returning starters from last year’s team. The nucleus on both the offensive and defensive side of the football is still in place.

Last year’s team was a surprise to the league and most fans of this program, but this year’s squad is expected to win. Now the Golden Panthers must win while the rest of the league is gunning for them.

Team Strengths:

The Golden Panthers were successful last year largely because they were able to run the football consistently. Darriet Perry was the leading rusher for this team in 2010, and I expect him to have another big year in 2011. Jeremiah Harden should get plenty of carries as well.

The strength of this group is their depth. The Golden Panthers have four or five guys who will receive plenty of carries this season. T.Y. Hilton is the team’s best play maker, and he’ll be used in the backfield some as well.

Florida International is loaded in the secondary. This is a group that performed extremely well as youngsters last year, and they should be even better this season. Safety Jonathan Cyprien is the best of the bunch, and he has the potential to be the best defensive player in the Sun Belt this year. Both cornerbacks are athletic and fully capable of holding their own in one-on-one coverage.

Winston Frazier is the leader of an impressive group of linebackers for the Golden Panthers.

While he is the only returning starter from last year, the other two new starters should be great. Larvez Mars missed last year, but he was a highly recruited linebacker, and he should be a play maker.

In addition, junior college transfer Jordan Hunt should be ready to make an impact right away.

Team Weaknesses:

Wesley Carroll is a pretty good quarterback, but the Golden Panthers need him to be more efficient through the air. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

He threw 16 touchdowns last year, but he also threw 14 interceptions. He’ll need to cut down on the mistakes this year if this team wants to take the next step.

The Florida International offensive line was a bit inconsistent in 2010. Three starters return from last year, but the team will also be starting two youngsters.

The skill positions are loaded with talent for the Golden Panthers, but in order for this team to reach its full potential they’ll need the offensive line to improve a bit.

2011-2012 Florida International Football Prediction: 9-4

The Golden Panthers have one of the easiest schedules in the Sun Belt. They travel to Louisville, but that is a winnable game for this team. They will benefit from playing Troy at home on October 25 in what should be a Sun Belt showdown for the top spot. The last couple games of the year at Louisiana-Monroe and Middle Tennessee State could be tricky.

I fully expect this team to continue to build on last year’s success.

In my mind, this team should be the clear favorite to win the Sun Belt this season.

2011 Florida International Golden Panthers Schedule

9/1/11 7:00 PM ET NOTEX
9/9/11 8:00 PM ET @LOU
9/17/11 12:00 PM ET CENFL
9/24/11 12:00 PM ET ULLAF
10/1/11 12:00 PM ET DUKE
10/8/11 12:00 PM ET @AKR
10/18/11 8:00 PM ET @ARKST
10/25/11 8:00 PM ET TROY
11/5/11 4:00 PM ET @WKEN
11/12/11 12:00 PM ET FLATL
11/19/11 12:00 PM ET @ULMON
11/26/11 12:00 PM ET @MTENN

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