FAU made history last season as the fastest new football program in history to make it to a bowl game and then became the fastest new football program in history to win one (prior to that it was South Florida). Maybe it will be the second year in a row that FAU is the only school in Florida to finish the season with a bowl victory as well! They face a powerhouse offensive Central Michigan team in the only bowl game scheduled for the day after Christmas. Many are looking at this game as a pre-determined victory for the Chips. However, FAU is coming off of a strong 5-1 finish to their season with an offense that is fired up. They have their coach, Howard Schnellenberger (5-0 in bowls - including a national championship) and a QB (Rusty Smith) that could be a good fit for the NFL. Central Michigan ended their season with a sputter and QB Dan LeFevour has been hampered by some late season injuries. FAU will be losing their Offensive Coordinator (Gary Nord) to Purdue next season. Maybe he'll be able to show that his offense can beat Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl too (last year Central Michigan lost the Motor City Bowl to Purdue). The game should be a shoot out that (I believe) ends in a narrow FAU victory.
This has been an excellent turn around after a 1-5 start that left most FAU fans completely hopeless for this kind of ending. Next year should be even better and the Owls are unlikely to have a let down to start the year off. The Owls will be returning plenty of Seniors and shouldn't have as many great expectations as they did this year (which will take an emotional load off). The non-conference schedule will be a little easier to manage than 2008 has been. The only difference in teams FAU plays next year will be not playing Texas, Minnesota or Michigan State and instead playing South Carolina, South Florida and Nebraska. They are not push overs but sound a little more manageable for the Owls. All three of those teams are going to be pretty large question marks next year, as far as how successful their teams will be. Regardless, South Florida could be a good match up that the Owls will play hard against no matter what their records are when the game is played. FAU is likely to continue to try to get South Florida on their schedule in the hopes that they will become regular rivals if/when a Big East invite could ever happen. I'm already planning to attend the South Carolina game which I hope to be more competitive than the last match up. South Carolina is not known for being a potent high scoring team, but they managed to put more than 50 points on the owls a few seasons ago. When Steve Spurrier was asked what he thought about FAU's football team last time they played he responded, that FAU isn't very good and he stated that he didn't care if FAU fans read that. I'm ready for a re-match Stevy boy! You might want to settle on just one QB to play with before next season starts. We'll have ours all picked out and prepared for some Owl payback on the Gamecocks. 2009 should also be the Owls last year without an on-campus football stadium and the last year with QB Rusty Smith before starting fresh in a brand new home. The future is continuing to look pretty bright at FAU!