2017 Football Preview – Conference USA – Panthers
Looking for 2017 Florida International Panthers predictions? The Panthers are entering into a new era of FIU football as Butch Davis takes the helm. Can one of the most respected coaches in Florida history be able to work the same magic at FIU?
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- 2017-18 College Football Preview – Florida International Panthers
- Head Coach: Butch Davis
- 2016 Record: 4-8
- Florida International Panthers Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +50000
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- ***More 2017 NCAA Football Team Season Previews***
How quickly can Butch Davis turn things around in a loaded East Division?
2017 Florida International Panthers Predictions: Team Strengths
Experience matters in close games.: Butch Davis inherits a team that is one of the most experienced squads in the country.
Losing just 17 players from the roster, the team brings back a very experienced linebacking corp, a veteran signal caller, and their top 7 leaders in rushing from last year’s team.
These factors, along with an excellent and smart recruiter in Butch Davis, should pay off in the first year of the new era.
Preseason favorite to make an All-Conference team, Alex Wint leads an excellent linebacker unit and should have a chance to reach 100 tackles this season.
Deep and Experienced at RB: FIU RB Alex Gardner has been the lead tailback since the start of the 2015 season. He is very good cutting to the right hole ad utilizes his vision to pick the proper points of attack.
Gardner has a chance to be the third 1,000 yard rusher in FIU history (finished with 930 last year), and is already the school’s all time leading rusher.
Behind him on the depth chart is explosive former wide receiver Anthony Jones, and the two combined to each rush for 100 yards in the game against Marshall.
This 1-2 punch should be a matchup nightmare for Conference USA defenses.
2017 Florida International Panthers Predictions: Team Weaknesses
How strong can this FIU offensive line be?: The continuity on the offensive line will be an issue in 2017. The Panthers go from a very experienced unit to losing three starters who started all 12 games last season.
One of those three was second team all-conference center Michael Montero.
Although they should be adding by a strong rushing attack I do expect a few growing pains the unit.
The big concern for me from last year was the 30 sacks allowed on 407 attempts. Those numbers must get better if the Panthers are going to make noise in the East.
The FIU secondary can only go up Florida International defensive backs had a tough time slowing down the passing game last season. The unit as a whole gave up 22 touchdowns and only picked off six passes.
The completion percentage wasn’t horrible (61%), but they will need to force more turnovers win the toss up games on the schedule.
Look for a big year from standouts Niko Gonzalez and Shermarke Spence as they were the #3 and #4 tacklers on the team on the team last season.
They both may be able to compete for all conference nods.
Florida International Panthers Prediction: 3-9
Florida International will have a very rough season in year 1 under Butch Davis.
Outside of a few easy games on the schedule I don’t see them having much of a shot to win many games in conference.
2017 Florida International Panthers Football Schedule
- 9/2/17 TBD @UCF
- 9/9/17 TBD ALCORN
- 9/16/17 TBD @IU
- 9/23/17 TBD @RICE
- 9/30/17 TBD CHAR
- 10/7/17 TBD @MDTN
- 10/14/17 TBD TUL
- 10/28/17 TBD @MARSH
- 11/4/17 TBD UTSA
- 11/11/17 TBD ODU
- 11/18/17 TBD @FAU
- 11/25/17 TBD WKU
What do you think about our 2017 Florida International Panthers predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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