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Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2007

FIU ranked last in NCAA Div. I-A

August 11, 2007

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Lindy's College Football preseason magazine took the task of ranking all of Division I-A football from top to bottom.

Kansas University, ranked 58th, will play the caboose on Sept. 22.

Florida International was ranked dead last by Lindy's - 119th out 119 teams largely because of an anemic offense that might not get better right away.

FIU perhaps is best known for the ugly brawl it was involved in when playing Miami last year, the low point of an 0-12 season that was full of them.

The Panthers cleared the cupboard after the disaster to both its prestige and its perception. New coach Mario Cristobal is switching to a spread offense, and has enough ties to possibly recruit better talent into the Miami school.

In addition, an on-campus stadium which seats 18,000 is being built, a sign that perhaps better times are ahead.

But not yet. FIU will play this season in the aging Orange Bowl, and will do so with a talent-deprived roster. Eight of the Panthers' first nine games are road games, and it's possible they'll be heavy underdogs in every one of them.

FIU has little to no experience at quarterback (Paul McCall is the likely starter), Ashlyn Parker is the most proven receiver with 23 career catches, and the Panthers' gritty linebackers from last year all are gone. Some pundits feel cornerback Lionel Singleton is one of the few Panthers who could earn All-Sun Belt honors by season's end.

What does have experience for Florida International is the offensive line. All five starters return, including center Xavier Shannon, the son of new Miami coach Mike Shannon. Father and son will meet on Sept. 15 at the Orange Bowl, when FIU plays Miami in a game televised by ESPNU before leaving for Lawrence.

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