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Posts from September 2011

FAU's tough road a familiar one for Owls

After some poundings at the hands of teams from traditional powers, fans were wondering if there was any hope for the program – let alone the season.

I’m not talking about this season, I’m talking about five years ago when FAU started off the 2006 season in a position worse than this year.
While FAU opened up with games at Florida, Michigan State and Auburn this season, the 2006 gauntlet was pretty rough as well. FAU started with road games with four games against teams from BCS conferences (at Clemson, at Kansas State, at Oklahoma State and at South Carolina) and was outscored 192-20  in those games sending morale plummetting.
Then, in a cruel “welcome to the conference” gesture, the Sun Belt Conference put FAU on the road for the fifth consecutive game when the Owls were sent to Louisiana-Monroe.
Funny thing happened in Monroe, however. FAU won the game 21-19 giving credence somewhat to Howard Schnelleberger’s mantra that playing “advanced training” games prepared the Owls for Sun Belt games. The Owls finished the season 5-7 and 4-3 in its first season in the conference.
Could a similar scenario happen this season? We’ll soon find out and the first step happens Saturday in a familiar place – down in Louisiana – where the Owls will face Louisiana-Lafayette.
Required Reading for Friday: Suspension over for key FAU players

It looks like there will be some new faces on the field Saturday when FAU uses a “nickel” package, which will be often since Louisiana-Lafayette uses a spread offense.

And the two top candidates haven’t played a down this season. To get the scoop, check out our Owl Insider – a weekly subscriber feature with the latest news. Disclaimer: The Owl Insider is for serious FAU football fans only.
If you aren’t a subscriber to Owl Access (and you should be) we still have plenty of stuff for you including Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz, our weekly podcast, and an update on some other food options that could be available outside the stadium from our blog.
Other linkage…
Football game day at FAU to offer additional food options

On Monday, as part of our Football in Paradise series highlighting the features of the new stadium, we told FAU fans that Chick-fil-A, Tomasso's and Subway will be some of the vendors serving food inside FAU's new on-campus stadium.

There will also be some food available outside the stadium before games. The corporate tailgate area, which will be known as the “Owls Landing – Powered by South Florida Ford,” will likely have a couple different vendors offering their dishes to fans who wish to tailgate but don't want to bring their own food.

The most recognizable will likely be Bru's Room, which has talked with FAU about bringing their “Bru's Traveler,” a food preparation trailer (photo) that can prepare most of the items on Bru's menu. FAU has also talked with Maggiano's Italian restaurant, which may serve pasta dishes prior to the night game against Middle Tennessee on Oct. 22.

There may even be another restaurant or two brought in, provided they don't serve the same food already available to fans when they enter the stadium. No alcohol will be sold in the village.

“We're trying to be cognizant of the fact that Chartwells does have the food vending rights for the entire stadium and the campus,” FAU director of corporate sponsorships Michael Smith said. “We want to be able to take care of the folks who are going to be at our corporate tailgate village and have food, but not have 30 different options for them because we want them to ultimately eat inside the stadium.”

The corporate tailgate area will be on the grassy lawn to the southwest of the stadium. Fans entering the stadium through the southwest gates will walk right past the corporate village. Anyone will be allowed to enter the village.

Consideration was given to setting up a stage for a band to play in the corporate tailgate area, but right now it appears as though ESPN 760 will be conducting its pregame broadcast from that area, complete with loudspeakers so fans in the area can listen.

Required Reading for Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011

The biggest news on campus Wednesday may not have been related to football.

 FAU basketball is making news as well as Chris Bryant from Fishburne Military Academy was scheduled to be on campus Wednesday night on a visit.
Bryant was the Class 3A Player of the Year as he led Tallahassee-Rickards to its second consecutive state title last season.
We talked to Bryant and here is our report.
We never ignore football, however, and here is our story on running back the reason Alfred Morris had such a big game against Auburn.
Other linkage...
Denton Record Chronicle: Mean Green defense has potential

FAU hoops close to landing commitment from prep star Chris Bryant

Florida Atlantic may be on the verge of landing one of the most highly regarded recruits in program history.

Reigning Florida 3A Player of the Year Chris Bryant is flying to Boca Raton tonight to take his official visit.

Bryant said if all goes well he could commit to the Owls during the trip.

“It could be a possibility,” Bryant said on Wednesday. “I'm that close with them.”

A versatile scorer who can drive or score from the outside, Bryant was a leader on the Tallahassee-Rickards team that won back-to-back state titles in 2010-2011. Bryant averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds as a senior.

“I held him under 30,” Rickards coach Eli Bryant said, “He easily could have averaged 30 points.”

One of 100 graduating seniors invited to the NBPA camp in Charlottesville Virginia, Bryant was recruited by the likes of Florida State, Virginia Tech and Houston, but is currently attending Fishburne Military Academy – a prep school in Virginia.

“I think he's really undervalued as an all around player,” said Fishburne coach Ed Huckaby, adding that Bryant has grown a couple inches since his 6-foot-7 high school playing days and is now closer to 6-foot-9.

Huckaby said schools from the ACC, Big 12 and PAC 12 have inquired about Bryant.

“There is no question in my mind you are talking about one of the Top 5 players in the state of Florida,” Huckaby said.

Required Reading for Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011

FAU returned to practice on Tuesday, but as you will read in our story on the offensive line, there were three starters missing from practice. And one of those positions, right tackle, was down to a third-teamer as Chris Chappell was subbing for Joe Bailey, who has been in the lineup for Max Karrick, who was injured in the Owls’ at Florida.

Not exactly the way the offensive line wants to start off the week after its best performance of the season on Saturday.
Other linkage…
FAU students give props to players for hanging with Auburn

The last few days have been good ones for Florida Atlantic players, who said they received some congratulations from students in their classes who watched them play Auburn on Saturday.

The Owls didn’t win the game, losing to the Tigers 30-14, but played well enough to get the student body excited – perhaps showing that FAU students are contuining to understand the world of college football  better.

“It’s better around the Oxley Cnter and better on campus,” said FAU junior linebacker David Hinds. “People are just telling us we played a lot better...It's a good feeling”

FAU has played plenty of games against BCS Conference teams and the results aren’t always pretty, but put the Owls’ performance against Auburn, the defending BCS Champion no less, near the top of those games.

In fact, other than the game against Minneosta the Owls won in 2007, the 16-point margin was among the closest FAU has had against a BCS-conference team.

Here’s the top 5 closest losses to teams from BCS Conferences:

  1. Kansas 30, FAU 19 in 2005
  2. USF 35, FAU 23 in 2007
  3. Michigan State 30, FAU 17 in 2010
  4. Auburn 30, FAU 14 in 2011
  5. Michigan State 17, FAU 0 in 2008
Required Reading for Tuesday Sept. 27, 2011

Owl fans who can’t make the trip to Cajun country for Saturday’s game between FAU and Louisiana-Lafayette may still be able to see the action.

We wrote a few weeks ago that the game had a chance to be picked up on TV, and it looks like that mau indeed be the case as the game is scheduled to be available on ESPN GamePlan. The game can also be watched on-line on
I would expect an official announcement soon as well as an official watch party to be held at the Deerfield Beach Duffy’s (not the one in Boca Raton as some keep telling everyone).
We’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime get ready for the game with our 1st and 10 look at ULL and also check out the latest installment of our Football in Paradise series which looks at the types of food available at the new stadium. Warning: Reading the story will make you hungry.
Other linkage…


FAU RB Alfred Morris not only member of family to have good weekend

 FAU senior running back Alfred Morris scored the first touchdown of the season for the Owls this season.

But he wasn't the only member of the Morris family to have success on Saturday.
Alfred's younger brother, Shawn Morris, is a junior running back for Birmingham-Southern and scored the winning touchdown in the Panthers' 28-21 victory over Sewanee.
Morris (pictured) leads the Division III Panthers in rushing with 131.8 yards per game.
Required reading for Monday, Sept. 26, 2011

FAU players were back on the field practicing in the rain on Sunday to begin preparation for Saturday’s game against ULL.

Unlike the two weeks the Owls had to prepare for Auburn It will be a quick turnaround to get ready for the Ragin’ Cajuns, fresh off their upset of FIU.
The extra week to get ready for the Tigers was huge, and it showed. But the Owls had better have a sense of urgency to get ready for a suddenly-hot team from ULL.
Other linkage…

Required Reading for Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011

The best news for FAU after Saturday’s 30-14 loss to Auburn isn’t that it was competitive with the defending national champions.

No, the best news for the Owls is from here on out, every game the rest of the season is winnable.
Yes, FAU survived its three-game stretch of games at Florida, Michigan State and Auburn and will face only Sun Belt teams, plus lowly UAB, from here on out.
I’m not saying FAU will win all or even a majority of those games, but after seeing the Owls hang around with Auburn, I’d say the chances are pretty good they can knock off a few teams along the way.
Here’s our coverage of Saturday’s game and don't forget to visit for photos from the game by Ralph Notaro (who provided this photo of FAU fullback Xavier Stinson)
Plus coverage of the game from other media outlets...
FAU to have live owl swoop to field before games

FAU fans tuning into tonight's game at Auburn should pay particular attention to the Tigers/War Eagles pregame tradition of having an Eagle swoop down onto the field prior to kickoff.

A similar sight will be coming to the new home of the Owls.

FAU has contracted with Orlando based Birds and Animals Unlimited to have an Owl fly into the new nest as part of pre-game festivities.

Don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those tiny Burrowing Owls from which the school derives it's nickname. It will be a Eurasian Eagle Owl, which stands about two feet tall and has a wingspan of about five feet.

According to Mark Echevarria, the East Coast Operations Manager of Birds and Animals Unlimited, the tiny burrowing owl is “about the size of an Eurasian Eagle Owl's foot.”

These bad boys actually eat foxes.

“It's not your little barn owl,” Echevarria said. “It's a big, powerful bird.”

If the sight of the Eurasian Eagle Owl (pictured) looks familiar, you're probably a fan of Harry Potter movies. This is the same species of Owl that was featured in the movie. Birds and Animals Unlimited provided the Owls for that movie, and while the bird that flies into the stadium man not be one of those movie star owls, it may be a relative.

The plan is to have the owl swoop down from the press box before games, but because it is still being trained, Echevarria is unsure whether the owl will be ready to accomplish that feat in the first outing.

It's possible the Ow will simply make an appearance at midfield for the first game, then take her maiden flight into the stadium later this season.

“We're kind of seeing where (the bird) is at and gauging her progress,” Echevarria said. “We will eventually have it flying down to the 50 yard line. ...The ultimate goal is to release it from the top of the stadium and have it fly all the way down over the crowd.”

Saturday’s prediction: Auburn takes out frustrations on FAU

Greetings from lovely Columbus, Ga. where the FAU football team stayed Friday night before taking the bus to Auburn, Ala. later today.

Unfortunately it won’t be a very enjoyable trip.
The Tigers, especially their defense, are under a great deal of pressure after AU won the national title last season.
Rather than using this game against FAU as a chance test some things, the Tigers will come out and make a statement.
That’s not good news for FAU, so the prediction here is Auburn 49, FAU 10.
For more on the game, check out our preview here.
Also here are assorted previews from other media outlets.
NFL scouts like to see tape of Owls playing against top teams

When FAU plays games against teams from BCS Conferences, the result is all but certain to be a blowout loss for the Owls.

When the beatdowns come in bunches, like this season when FAU faces Florida, Michigan State and Auburn in succession, the disparity between FAU and traditional powers is even more scrutinized.
The games are indeed a necessary evil to FAU - they will bring in nearly a million dollars to play Auburn on Saturday. And in some ways, you have to feel for the players.
But the players don’t seem to mind playing games against the top teams in the nation nearly as much as you might think.
Not only do the players like playing in front of 85,000 fans instead of 8,500 fans at some Sun Belt venues, but many say they prefer to play against the top players in the nation.
And there is another advantage to playing in these games for the players.
When NFL scouts pop into The Oxley Center, they spend a lot of time watching film of the Owls’ pro prospects. More often than not, the tapes they want to see is how the players perform against top-of-the line teams.
Take former FAU tight end Rob Housler for example. Two of his best games of the season in 2010 came against Michigan State (7 catches for 75 yards) and Texas (2 TDs). You can bet his play in those two games was a factor in him being drafted in the third round by the Cardinals.
It’s easy to take pity on the players for having to play big-time teams and absorb the impending beatings, but there can be something good that comes out of the games.
Required Reading for Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

It’s getting closer to the FAU-Auburn game so we are getting our game-face on with plenty of stuff coming out on Thursday and later today.

If you are a serious fan and want some serious coverage of the Owls, you have to check out our Owl Insider report with the latest news from the practice field.

We also rolled out another installment of Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz, our weekly podcast.

Also check out our look at some of the little landscaping details FAU Stadium have that will make it a unique place .

Other linkage…

Little touches like a shell walkway make stadium beach theme authentic

As has been the case with many of the new stadium features we've examined during the Football in Paradise series, the attention to detail shown in the stadium landscaping is amazing.

I think my favorite part has to be what I thought were gravel walkways that wind around part of the stadium exterior. (top photo)

What's so interesting? They are not really gravel. Look closely and you'll notice the path isn't made up of rocks, but rather shells and bits of coral (second photo).

“When I looked at the landscape plan, all of that – I assumed – was concrete pavement,” said Balfour Beatty Operations Director Chris Long. “But then when you look at the legend it's called out as sea shells.”

The shell paths were a late addition to the final stadium plans, which originally called for a brown-rock walkway.

“We are trying to use all local materials as much as we actually could,” said Eric Propes, an associate principal with landscape architect EDSA. “I was like, we have to use this because it really ties in the beach theme.”

The pathways will be used primarily by the food service vendors, who can load their food into the concession boxes from the back doors, keeping them from having to try to fight the (potential) crowds within the stadium.

And the walkways aren't the only places shells are incorporated into the stadium. Under the east stands there are are outcoves of palm trees, which also have larger shells around them (third photo).

These shells are large enough that they look like stones from a distance but are obviously shells from a closer view (bottom photo).

For those of you who can't get enough stadium photos, I posted a gallery of shots I've taken over the past week.

Looking at the landscaping, I share FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos' evaluation.

“It's looking better than I could have hoped for,” he said. “In the rendering early on they always dress those things up to look really nice and you wonder if it can really look that way.”

Required Reading for Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011

The struggles of FAU’s offense have kept  fullback Xavier Stinson from making a big impact. However, he is expected to get involved more when the Owls begin Sun Belt Conference play next week.

Here's our story on Stinson and the FAU offense hoping to get on track.

Other linkage...







Sun Belt wants to know what’s best in Boca

We just got something interesting from the folks at the Sun Belt Conference.

They are launching a Best of the Sun Belt contest for each city in the conference where fans and media members will be selecting their favorite places to go and things to eat.
The categories include best pre-game spot, best sandwich spot, best hotel, best breakfast, etc.
Not only will it give fans coming to Boca Raton an idea of what to do, but also Owl fans who take to the road can have an idea of where the best spots in each Sun Belt city.
Since Blue Martini, Fatso’s Pizza and Hot Dog-Opolis have been great about reaching out to FAU fans and giving students great deals, I hope they will be well-represented on the list. Some other suggestions may be found on our "Stuff To Do Around FAU" directory we are building.
Fans can vote by clicking here.
Required Reading for Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011

FAU players reported back to the Oxley Center on Tuesday after taking Monday off and hope the off week paid off as they prepare to face Auburn on Saturday.

The Owls will need every advantage they can get when facing the defending national champion and having a little more time and a chance to get some players healthy is a big help.
Not sure, if it will be enough, but it certainly can’t hurt.
Also, we posted a blog last night that Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters and some presidents and ADs from each institution held a conference call to be briefed on conference expansion issues.
Other linkage…
Sun Belt holds conference call due to discuss realignment issues

The Sun Belt Conference held a conference call Tuesday with its members institutions and commissioner Wright Waters on Tuesday to discuss possible ramifications from the conference shuffling that is going on now, FAU AD Craig Angelos said.

It wasn't an "emergency" call, but let's just say it wasn't previously arranged.

It was more of an informative discussion instead of figuring out which schools are staying and which ones are leaving.

It's far too early for that, but the time when schools leaving BCS programs will trickle down and affect FAU and the Sun Belt could be coming soon.

Angelos said he is "monitoring" the situations, but it sounds like the time is coming soon when some action needs to be taken.

What will happen is anyone's guess, but my guess is something will indeed happen that impacts FAU in a big, big way.

Auburn may finally get revenge on Schnellenberger for winning 1983 title

While coaching the University of Miami to the1983 National Championship is certainly one of the crowning achievements in Howard Schnellenberger’s career, there are plenty of people who maintain that the Hurricanes didn’t deserve the title.

Some say the rightful champion that year is a certain team from, you guessed it, Auburn, this week’s opponent for FAU.
For those who don’t remember the details of Jan. 2 1984 let me explain.
The day began with the AP poll looking this way:
1.       Nebraska (12-0)
2.       Texas (11-0)
3.       Auburn (10-1)
4.       Illinois (10-1
5.       Miami (10-1)
Auburn had lost to Texas early in the season and Miami had lost to Florida in the season opener.
No one could have predicted the wild day that was about to unfold.
First Texas was upset by Georgia in the Cotton Bowl in the afternoon and while we all know what happened in the Orange Bowl as UM upset Nebraska, Auburn had a lackluster 9-7 victory over Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.
When the dust settled, the Hurricanes jumped from No. 5 to No. 1 by beating the Cornhuskers setting off a public outcry among Auburn people. They claimed the Tigers should have been the champions due to strength of schedule and while Miami and Auburn each had one loss, the Tigers were narrowly defeated by the powerful Longhorns while Miami’s looked awful in its 28-3 loss to an average Florida team.
Auburn, led by running back Bo Jackson and Lionel James, was named the National Champions by the computer rankings by The New York Times, keeping UM from being a “unanimous” champion.
Here’s a story by longtime football scribe Tony Barnhart on what happened and he does a much better job than I can of setting the scene (I was 12-years-old at the time).
I have the feeling that there are some on the Plains who don’t need a refresher. They’ve been waiting since 1984 for a little payback.
Required Reading for Tuesday Sept. 20, 2011

As he has done every Monday since June, our Chuck King went to the stadium site with notepad and camera to report on a different aspect of FAU’s new stadium. This week’s installment of Football in Paradise looks at the landscaping around the stadium to give it that tropical feel. You can check out the entire series here.

Other linkage...
What happens if FIU finishes the season 12-0?

This may not be easy to swallow for FAU fans, but after FIU defeated Central Florida on Saturday, I have seen the point made that Florida International has a good chance to go 12-0 this season.

Here’s a recent entry from Miami New Times of all places.

It would be easy to dismiss such thoughts, but as much as I hate to say it, the Panthers do have a chance at running the table.

If that happens, what does that mean for FIU?

Possibly nothing more than winning the Sun Belt title.

Members of the Sun Belt Conference have always held on to the hope it could crash a BCS game like TCU, Boise State, Hawaii or Utah have done in the past.

However, here are the BCS rules for a team from the Sun Belt making it to a BCS bowl game:


3. The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference (hereinafter "non-AQ group") will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:

A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or

B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.


No more than one such team from the non-AQ group shall earn an automatic berth in any year. (Note: A second team may be eligible for at-large eligibility as noted below.) If two or more teams from those conferences satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, then the team with the highest finish in the final BCS Standings will receive the automatic berth, and the remaining team or teams will be considered for at-large selection if it meets the criteria.


I would never want to rain on the FIU parade, but I'm not so sure the Panthers would meet these standards. It 's early in the season, but I don't see FIU finishing in the Top 12 of the BCS poll.


Required Reading for Monday (09.19.11)

We’re starting a new feature today on Owl Access. Every day we are going to provide you with the links to stories, including articles on the Sun Belt and FAU’s next opponent, that Owl fans will want to be reading.

Let’s start with our look at FAU’s defense as the Owls returned to the practice field on Sunday on Owl Access.
Other linkage 
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: FAU's chance of sneaking up on Auburn gone

With the Owls off this weekend and no football practice I got to watch a little college football on TV on Saturday. OK, it was every waking moment if you count ESPN GameDay.

The game I was most interested in was the game between Auburn, FAU’s opponent next week, and Clemson. I wasn’t overly impressed with Auburn, but it will have a chip on its collective shoulder this week after falling to Clemson and losing for the first time in 17 games.
One would think there will be some spirited practices this week and Auburn may be taking their frustrations out on the Owls next week.
Auburn may have lost, but it is still the defending national champion, which gives the Owls something to aim for next week.
Owl Links 
Owl Access
FAU didn’t practice on Saturday, but we didn’t take the day off. We examined the QB situation as we debated whether there should be a change.
Other linkage
FAU all but forgotten by the local papers, but here’s some links to Auburn media outlets who covered the Tigers’ loss.
Internet sites
Saturday’s Daily Briefing: Either UCF or FIU fans will pipe down after today’s game

While TV cameras will be showing two games involving Florida teams tonight, there are fans of certain schools who think ESPN and ABC should abandon their plans to show the Ohio State-Miami and the Oklahoma-Florida State games.

If you have any friends or co-workers who are Florida International or Central Florida fans you know what I am talking about  - and  you have my sympathies,
To listen to  them, the biggest game of the year is FIU-UCF. Late breaking news is that the networks will not change plans and the Knights-Panthers will be shown on something called ESPN3 to literally hundreds of people interested in this game. Heck,  this game is so big I just heard FIU's "Radio Network" isn't even carrying the game.
Oh, I know these are two programs on the rise. UCF earned a Top 25 ranking last season for the first time – of course they have been playing football there since the 1970s, so I hardly say they are on the fast track. Nonetheless, if UCF continues at this pace it won’t be long before George O’Leary can add some more accolades on his resume.
FIU is a program growing at much faster pace. After all FIU won the Sun Belt title last season, just a few seasons after FAU won the league championship in 2007 after both programs joined the Sun Belt in 2006.
And of course, most recently FIU beat a team from a BCS Conference last week when the Panthers defeated Louisville just nine years after starting their program, giving Panther Nation a reason to cheer. FAU fans know the feeling after the Owls defeated Minnesota in 2007, just six seasons after their first game.
I hope fans enjoy the game – and the game is likely to be a sell-out on Calle Ocho.  But the best part of today’s game, other than the fact it’s not on TV, is that at the end one group of fans will be forced to shut their mouths.
It’s a difficult choice, but I know who I am pulling for – and may the loser be forced to put Golden in front of their nickname again.
Owl Links
Owl Access
We broke down the latest ticket numbers for the first game in FAU’s new stadium.
Other linkage
Another light day of FAU coverage from the papers, so here’s some links to read up on next week’s opponent, Auburn, which faces Clemson next week. Remember, you can always keep tabs on the Owls’ next opponent on our “FAU Football” page.
Friday’s Daily Briefing: FAU says no NCAA rules broken at lighting ceremony

You may remember a few weeks ago when we told you that FAU officials were looking into if an NCAA violation occurred at the lighting ceremony for the FAU Stadium.

At issue was the fact that players were tossing around a football at the photo-op in full view of coach Howard Schnellenberger since NCAA rules prohibit coaches from being at workouts before practice begins.
The FAU compliance office looked into the possibility that the players unintentionally committed a secondary NCAA violation, which are usually self-reported and carry no major penalties – the NCAA equivilant of a jaywalking ticket.
FAU did its due diligence in the matter and determined this was not a violation and will not have to be reported.
Thus ends lighting-gate, but you can bet in the future at events like this, the football will be left at home.
Owl Links
Owl Access
Even with a new coach next season, FAU assistant coaches are busy recruiting. Here’s our report after most of the staff wasn’t at Thursday’s practice.
Other linkage
Not much in this morning’s papers on FAU (although there is on FIU and UCF) but here is an interesting story by The Palm Beach Post on FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos’ work with Miami in the 1990s when they had NCAA troubles.
Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Changes made to FAU basketball schedule

There are a few changes to the FAU basketball schedule.

The biggest adjustment is that the Owls’ game at Jacksonville which was scheduled for Dec. 19 has been cancelled. The Dolphins had already scheduled a game against Wofford on Dec. 18 in Spartanburg, S.C.
Also the dates for the Basketball Traveler’s Invitational have been moved ahead a day. The Owls will play on Nov. 12-14 in Seattle.
By the way the teams for that tournament are Washington, Georgia State and Portland and it now runs on a Saturday-Monday schedule instead of Friday-Sunday.
Owl Links
Owl Access
Which player is having the best season so far? It could be punter Mickey Groody. We talked to him and filed a practice report that you can check out here.
Other linkage
Interesting piece by Louisville Courier-Journal’s Rick Bozich on Howard Schnellenberger’s role in starting an annual game between UK and UL. … FAU works on filling new stadium for opener, the Sun-Sentinel says. …Owls lost opener to Florida, but someone put a big hit on UF WR Deonte Thompson, the Orlando Sentinel said.
Video being played on new FAU stadium videoboard

They are having a little fun with the videoboard at FAU's new on-campus stadium.

Drove by today the stadium today to see a time lapse of the the stadium construction on the videoboard. Took a moment to get out of the car and record it. The video quality isn't up to our normal standards, but for those out you who are out of town, it gives a pretty good idea of what you'd see were you on campus.

I'm told they are in the process of connecting all the different inputs into the switcher that controls the board.

As for clarity, the video coming out of the board looks fantastic. Keep in mind, this video was shot from outside the stadium. I noticed the board lit up while driving on I-95 yesterday. My car is small so I only caught glimpses here and there, but people driving pickups and SUVs will be able to see over the lane divider, receiving several clear views of the board while driving south through Boca Raton.

FAU football players spent part of the day preparing to be on the videoboard. They've been recording player introductions at the on-campus TV studio. I shot a little of that, too. The video will appear on an upcoming episode of the Howard Schnellenberger Show.

Now, off to practice.

Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Coaches ride players hard as Owls return to practice

If anyone thought Florida Atlantic was going to take it easy this week because of an open date on Saturday, think again.

When the Owls hit the practice field, the coaching staff instantly let the players know this wasn’t going to be an ordinary practice.
It was full-contact, with the starters going against the starters for a good part of the day. Coaches yelled (photo of OL coach Dale Williams in C Jimmie Colley's ear)  so much they nearly lost their voices in an effort to pump up the intensity.
“We have to get back to playing better football,” said associate head coach Kurt Van Valkenburgh. “We were trying to get them pissed off, so they will play football they way they are supposed to. We’re going to get on them and get them ready to play. I’m pretty sure that’s what they want to do, but we’re just going to make sure.”
Did the players get the message? It sounds like it.
“It was a tough practice, but we needed it,” said senior tight end Darian Williams. “It was productive.”
FAU returns to practice today. I'm bringing my earplugs.
Owl Links
Owl Access
Why is FAU's offense so bad? We decided to ask FAU offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson about it and Jackson talked exclusively with Owl Access about the Owls’ offensive woes. Owl Access Pass holders can read the story here. Not a subscriber? Take a Free Trial to get the best coverage of the Owls available.
Other linkage
Three-and-outs routine for FAU's offense, the Sun-Sentinel says
Tuesday's Daily Briefing: So long Beer Pong at FAU Stadium

Looks like there might be some people longing for the good ole' days at Lockhart Stadium tailgating after all.

Beer pong aficionados who were able to freely hold their competitions prior to the start of FAU games in Fort Lauderdale won't be permitted to do so on campus.


According to Section IV, subsection H of FAU's on-campus alcohol policy:

The conduct of drinking games on campus is prohibited.

I asked Dean of Students Corey King if this applied to beer pong and he was adamant with his answer.

“There will be no drinking games allowed on campus. No beer pong or anything,” King said, adding. “The policy will stand true for tailgating as well.”

The non-drinking game rule will also apply to flip cup and quarters. Funnels used for drinking multiple beers at once are a no-no, too.

King said students – even those of legal drinking age - caught playing beer pong at tailgates will be subject to disciplinary action.

FAU student government President Ayden Maher takes issue with some of the perceived inconsistencies in enforcement of the policy – there were multiple beer pong games at basketball tailgates last year – but isn't going to press for a drinking game exception for tailgate parties.

“The university policy has always banned drinking games on campus and we didn't really try to fight that,” said Maher, who instead successfully focused on securing for student groups prime lawn space for their tailgates.

The rule against drinking games will also apply to alumni and other non-students, too.

“We'll point out to them there is a policy prohibiting it and invite them to stop,” FAU Chief of Police Charles Lowe said. “There's always an outside chance that people are not going to comply. You just deal with that accordingly.”

Of course, all underage drinkers still face the possibility of having their game day end before kickoff, like that fellow in the bottom photo.

Party carefully Owl fans.

Owl Links

We continued our Football in Paradise series detailing different aspects of the new stadium by detailing FAU's tailgating policy for on-campus football games.

Other linkage

The Sun-Sentnel says Owls have plenty to work on during off-week

Monday's Daily Briefing: Situation was bleak Saturday, but could have been worse

With no game this weekend, we can afford to put down the pitchforks and torches for at least one day can’t we?

After all there were some good things worth mentioning from Saturday’s game. Unfortunately for the Owls, all of them occurred before kickoff.
Let me give you the situations. Or more appropriately, let me give you The Situation.
That’s right Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from the MTV series “The Jersey Shore” was roaming the sidelines on Saturday and FAU’s enterprising photographer Ralph Notaro, who shoots for FAU and his Nine Digit Media,  has the photo to prove it.
Notice he is hanging with the MSU cheerleaders, not FAU's. That is the only thing that went right for the Owls on the day.
Also, I went to Sports Information Director Katrina McCormack to determine the biggest celebrity to attend an FAU game. She correctly informs me that the honor should go to Matthew McConaughey, who was at FAU's 52-10 loss at Texas in 2008. Sorry, Situation.
Notaro also caught a special moment before the game when FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger took the field with a special friend. 
Yes, that is former Miami Dolphins quarterbak Earl Morrall, who played for Schnellenberger on the 1972 undefeated team. Morrall and Schnellenberger were re-united years later when he served as quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami, including on the 1984 National Championship team.
Morrall played at Michigan State in the 1950s.
Another thing that was pretty impressive was Michigan State honoring Schnellenberger with a ball presented to him by Spartans coach Mark Dantonio for Schnellenberger’s “lifetime contributions to college football.”
Schnellenberger and the Spartans have a brief history. Other than MSU’s three victories in the series that ended Saturday, Schnellenberger led Louisville over Michigan State in the 1993 Liberty Bowl.
By the way, I must have missed what the University of Florida did to honor Schnellenberger, who coached in many games against Florida while he was at Miami.
It was a very classy move by Michigan State.
Owl Links
Owl Access
FAU was back on the practice field on Sunday, including the first Toilet Bowl of the season. Read our report, including some game balls from Saturday.
Other linkage
FAU's offense worst in country in multiple categories, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Sunday's Daily Briefing: Loss to Spartans is worst defeat in FAU history

There have been many long afternoons and evenings for Florida Atlantic through the years as they have played teams from BCS conferences.

 There have been games where the margin of defeat has been larger for the Owls (such as a 61-10 loss at Louisville in 2005 or a 61-14 loss at UConn in 2002) but there really hasn't been any game where FAU looked as bad as it did during Saturday’s 44-0 loss at Michigan State.
On Saturday the Owls had 26 passing yards, a program low, and  had just one first down. Let that sink in for a moment. FAU  had 11 possessions and went three and out on nine of them.
It’s stating the obvious to say the Owls aren’t going to score many points if they can't gain 10 yards every now and then. But it also it also puts the Owls defense in the tough position of being on the field for an awful long time.
Put the two together and you have what we saw Saturday - a game that was about as noncompetitive as it gets.
One can only hope the Owls will have a better showing when they begin their Sun Belt schedule and to be fair, FAU has gone against two pretty good football teams the last two weeks.
But FAU has looked better in some of the biggest blowouts in school history than it did vs. Michigan state on Saturday.
The biggest positive from Saturday's game is that there isn't a game next Saturday. There is a lot of work to be done at the Oxley Center before facing Auburn in two weeks.
Owl Links
Owl Access
Here’s our coverage from the game including a recap, analysis and our video highlights of the game.
Other linkage
Here’s how the papers saw it...
Saturday's Daily Briefing: Spartan effort needed by Owls today

Florida Atlantic would need everything go right to be able to pull the upset and defeat Michigan State today.

Being short the player who was the lone bright spot in Saturday's 41-3 loss at Florida is not what t he owls needed.
FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said that tight end Nexon Dorvilus who was FAU’s leading receiver last week vs. the Gators, may miss today’s game vs. Michigan State with a rib injury,
Dorvilus missed practice this week but did attempt to run on Thursday. While Schnellenberger didn't say Dorvilus will definitely miss the game, it is possible he won't play.
To make matters worse near the end of Thursday’s practice true freshman Hakeeme Ishmar had to be helped off the practice field after twisting his ankle.
If Ishamr’s injury is serious it would have the Owls possibly down to just one tight end - starter Darian Williams.
Enough bad news it’s Saturday morning prediction time...
Michigan state fans are used to fidgeting in t heir seats when heir teaqm plays the owls. Their squirming will continue as fau keeps it close, before Michigan state can breathe easy a little later than most people think. Michigan State 21, FAU 10
Owl Links
Owl Access
Here’s our preview of today’s game.
Other linkage
Friday’s Morning Briefing: FAU Stadium receives $700,000 gift from Delray Acura

On Thursday, FAU Stadium tested its toilets in what turned out to be a fantastic P.R. move for the school.

On Friday, FAU had some more good news.
The university announced this morning that it had secured a major gift from Delray Acura and Delray Hyundai totaling $700,000.
The partnership includes naming rights to the two club levels, which will be known as the Delray Acura Premier Club and the Delray Hyundai Priority Club.
Delray Acura has been a supporter of FAU and Howard Schnellenberger for years. I seem to remember a TV commercial with Schnellenberger for Delray Acura in the program’s early years and Schnellenberger has been seen around town driving his Acura for years. After this gift hopefully Owl fans will consider driving one too (their own, not Schnellenberger’s)
Owl Links
We debuted a new feature on, the Owl Insider report, filled with the latest information including shuffles on the depth chart and possible lineup changes. This new feature is for subscribers only and is only for the serious fans who want to know everything about the team. You won’t find any fluff here, just the latest info from out program insiders.
And for those who want things a little more light-hearted, check out our coverage and video of the SuperFlush event at the stadium. …And we also had our latest edition of Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz.
Other linkage
Schnellenberger benefited from new surgery technique, Sun-Sentinel reports. ...Michigan State sophomore Denicos Allen aims to be next great linebacker at MSU, the Detroit Free Press says
Owl fans do their Dooty at Super Flush

As milestones go, this one wasn't exactly the most glamorous. Nonetheless, it was still important.

The Cummings Balfour Beatty crew held their Super Flush at the new FAU stadium today, checking to ensure the stadium's plumbing can handle the workload expected at halftime of football games.

The good news is that the stadium passed easily. There were a few stuck handles on urinals and toilets - nothing that made the construction crew look worried.

Nice job by FAU bringing in Owl Club members to help with the Super Flush. There were about 120 volunteers who spent 15 minutes running from toilet to toilet and faucet to faucet ensuring everything worked properly.

After that, they were treated to pizza and allowed to walk onto the field, giving many their first look inside the stadium.

Check out the video to see the highlights.

Thursday's Daily Briefing: Owl Rangers looking for biggest FAU fans

You know those painted guys at FAU football and basketball games?

Well, they've gone corporate – kind of.

The Owl Rangers are now an official student club on campus whose purpose, according to their web site, is to “the sporting event experiences at FAU and better the university, not only athletically, but in every area in need of improvement. We display our school spirit through creative paint-ups, cheering loudly, and dedicating ourselves to Florida Atlantic University.”

Last week the Owl Rangers spent half a day signing up new recruits at FAU's Club Fest (top photo). Afterward a few of them made the trip north to Gainesville (bottom photo), walking into The Swamp all painted up.

Considering how obnoxious the Gator fans were, that took some real guts.

The Owl Rangers may not make it to every road game this year, but that doesn't mean they'll be taking weekends off. This Saturday for the Michigan St. game they are hosting their own watch party at Hooters in Boca Raton, where students who buy 10 wings will get 10 more free.

There have been several groups that tried to put together a crew similar to the Owl Rangers, but these guys are fervent in their FAU spirit and appear willing to put in the effort to make this club last.

And while the club encourages body painting (by both male and female students), it's not a requirement to join. From what I've seen of these guys, it's pretty easy to have a good time hanging out with them.

OwlAccess encourages FAU students to check in with them on Facebook and see what they have planned in the coming weeks. And stock up on body paint.

Owl Links:
FAU held two practices on Wednesday and we attended both. Here's a story about the emergence of Willie Floyd as a kick returner.

Other linkage

The Sun-Sentinel says FAU familiar with Michigan State's offense. ... Spartans' kicking units still settling in

Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Owls hold sunrise practice, will be back in the afternoon

Many college football teams have two-a-days.

But that’s during training camp. Try having a two-a-day practice session during the season.
That’s what FAU plans to do today after rain washed out most of Tuesday’s practice. The Owls were on the practice field before the sun had risen over the Oxley Center on Wednesday morning and plan to come back in the afternoon for another practice.
“It was a completion of our work yesterday after we got rained out” said Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger. “Now we’re back on schedule and ready to come out in the afternoon.”
FAU senior running back Alfred Morris wasn’t thrilled with the idea of waking up at 5:30 a.m. but said the team can’t afford to lose any practice time to prepare for Saturday’s game at No. 17 Michigan State.
“It was different, but it didn’t bother me,” Morris said. “With ‘Coach Schnelly’ you just expect the unexpected. …Just like in a game, you have to be ready for anything.”
Some players who live off-campus had to get up around 5 a.m. to make it in time to get dressed and ready to go by 6:30 a.m.
FAU has had plenty of practices affected by afternoon rainstorms during training camp and when rain cut Tuesday’s practice short, Schnellenberger had seen enough and ordered the early workout.
Did Schnellenberger notice any displeasure from his players?
“They had long faces, but they are all football players,” Schnellenberger said.
Owl Links
Owl Access
In addition to waking up at dark-thirty to be there for today’s morning practice, we were also at Tuesday’s workout and here is our report.
Other linkage
Schnellenberger says offense must be able to run the ball for FAU to win, the Sun-Sentinel reports. …Michigan State shuffles offensive line, the Lansing State Journal says
Tuesday's Daily Briefing: FAU officials want to keep parking prices low

FAU fans hoping they won't have to pay a week's salary for game day parking may have a friend in an unexpected office.

Athletic Director Craig Angelos says it will cost more to park at FAU on Saturdays than in previous years at Lockhart Stadium, but the rates will still be less that those charged for similar South Florida events.

“I don't want to make it too expensive because I hate paying to park when I go to Dolphin Stadium, too.” Angleos said.

Parking for Priority Club and general admission ticket holders will rise from $5 to $10 per event, provided they purchase the season parking pass. The price will be higher for those who choose to pay the attendant on game day, but the exact fee has yet to be set.

Fans who purchase loge box seats, premier club seats and suite tickets automatically receive a parking pass with their tickets, Angelos said.

Looking at the parking layout graphic above, the orange and yellow lots are priority lots, containing spaces that will be doled out based on priority points. The green lots are mainly cash lots, but for well attended games will also host some fans with pre-paid parking passes.

The purple lot is for coaches and VIPs. The brown lot north of the stadium will feature valet parking, and the northernmost end of the lot will also be available for RV parking.

“I don't think we are going to have too many RVs,” Angelos said. “This isn't the SEC where (fans) drive around a lot to games.”

Angelos said FAU is still designing the look of the season tickets. Once that is completed, they will be mailed, along with the pre-paid parking passes. Those who did not purchase a parking pass with their season tickets can still do so at the ticket office.

Owl Links
Busy Labor Day around the office. We started the holiday with our usual Monday First and 10 feature which provides 10 facts about FAU's upcoming opponent - in this case, Michigan St. In the afternoon we continued our Football in Paradise series by examining the new on campus stadium's  parking and traffic situation in depth. Then in the evening we were the first to talk with FAU's latest commitment, Stephenson (Ga.) running back TJ Moon.

Other linkage

Schnellenberger says FAU got better as a team on Saturday, the Sun-Sentinel writes. ...MSU LB Bullough's first start impressive with 15 tackles, according to Detroit Free Press

RT Max Karrick out for Michigan State, possibly longer with knee injury

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said Monday that senior right tackle Max Karrick injured his knee during Saturday’s 41-3 loss at Florida and will be out this week's game at  Michigan State and possibly longer.

Karrick (photo, courtesy of JC Ridley) may need surgery on his right knee, Schnellenberger said, raising the possibility that he could be out for an extended period of time.
“He’s had so many problems there, they may have to do a procedure, but we may not,” Schnellenberger said. “He’s not going to play in the game coming up and even if it’s not an operable knee, he probably won’t play for a game or two.”
In Karrick’s place, redshirt junior Joe Bailey is expected to start against Michigan State.
“We’ve got to get Joe Bailey ready and possibly (Troy) Niblack and the others in line,” Schnellenberger said.
Schnellenberger also said linebacker Yourhighness Morgan, who has not been cleared to play this season due to the concussion he received in the spring, could miss the entire season.
“He hasn’t been cleared to practice so he’s pretty much out for the season,” Schnellenberger said.
Toney Moore has been practicing in Morgan's place and played in a college game for the first time, earning the start and intercepting a pass in FAU's 41-3 loss to the Gators.
Monday's Daily Briefing: FAU's loss to Gators was expected, wasn't it?

The reaction by some fans after FAU’s ugly 41-3 loss to Florida is somewhat perplexing.

Against the Gators, the offense was impotent but the defense showed potential. This was hardly a shocker.
But some sound like they are ready to turn in their season tickets after losing to UF. What did they expect to happen?
The game pretty much went how I thought it would. In this space on Friday I predicted a 44-10 final score, missing on a FG by the Gators and a touchdown by the Owls.
The case could be made that the most frustrating part was the Owls’ struggling to mount any drives and I agree. However, let’s remember that this was the first strat for QB Graham Wilbert (photo courtesy of Ralph Notaro) and he was going against an SEC defense coached by Will Muschamp, one of the top defensive coaches in the nation.
Should Owl fans be happy after Saturday? Of course not. They should be demand better – just like Howard Schnellenberger said he does after Saturday’s loss.
Losing to Florida was all but a foregone conclusion. Owl Nation should wait until FAU loses a game it should win to bail on the team.
There is plenty of work to do, but there is no reason to think FAU won’t be able to improve in three weeks to be competitive when the Sun Belt portion of the schedule.
Other Linkage
Owl Access
Here’s our follow-up report to Saturday’s game including our “Game Ball” winners for the game.
Other linkage
The Palm Beach Post examines the woes of FAU’s running game. …Sun-Sentinel reports FAU couldn’t contain Florida’s running backs. …It’s time for Michigan State to move on from its ugly opener, the Lansing State Journal says.
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: Schnellenberger unhappy after watching Owls struggle from coaches' box

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger did not care too much for his view - or the outcome - of the Owls' 41-3 loss to Florida on Saturday.

Not only did he not like watching the game unfold from high up, but with the Owls struggling like they haven’t struggled in quite some time, Schnellenberger missed being on the sideline.
“I don’t like it all and I’m not going to be up there any more,” Schnellenberger said. “I had to protect myself and stay alive as well.”
Schnellenberger was forced to coach from the press box for the first time in his head coaching career after developing hip problems as FAU drove from Boca Raton to Gainesville on Friday.
Schnellenberger did not travel back with the team either. He traveled home on a private plane.
Quarterback Graham Wilbert said it was strange not having Schnellenberger on the sidelines.
“It was a little different,” Wilbert said. “Usually he’s there yelling for a good play and kind of directing things.”
Schnellenberger addressed his brief hospital stay before the game in a previously scheduled press conference to announce he and former FSU coach Bobby Bowden will coach in the Battle of Florida college all-star game to be held at FAU’s new football stadium in January.
“I couldn’t allow this to go forward without my participation,” Schnellenberger said. “The game can be so very important for the state of Florida and ensure football in Florida will continue to grow and develop and keeps its right station with everybody else in the country.” 
Owl Access
Although the Owls lost, we hope you’ll like our game coverage from The Swamp. Check it out here.
Other linkage...  

 Here is the game-day coverage from the papers...

Saturday’s Daily Briefing: Saunders puts her words where her shirt is

There has been a lot of reminiscing about the 1980 Miami-Florida game when Hurricanes coach Howard Schnellenberger kicked a late field goal in a 31-7 UM victory because he was upset his team was pelted with oranges during the game.

If UF fans thought that was disrespectful, how about an FAU fan saying that Gators “Taste like Chicken” and then wearing a shirt that says the same thing?
Did we mention it was FAU President Mary Jane Saunders doing the trash talking?
Check out this photo of FAU’s No. 1 fan as the buses left the Oxley Center Friday morning.
You gotta love Saunders. After word got out that she had said that Gators “tastes like chicken” she didn’t back down or water down the comment by saying it was respect for Florida’s alligator farmers. She handed out T-shirts printed with her now infamous phrase.
She better not wear that shirt on the sidelines at The Swap, but who knows? Maybe she will, as Saunders has shown she is not your typical university president.
After seeing her choice in T-Shirts, if there was any doubt of her support for her Owls, check out this two-part Q&A we posted earlier this week.
In it she mentions she wants to see more fans wearing FAU T-Shirts around town and apparently it’s not just lip service. She showed up at Thursday’s FAU SportsPage Radio show at Duffy’s with plenty of shirts in tow.
Like Saunders, I also think it would be great if more FAU T-Shirts were seen around town. From what I have seen the demand far exceeds the supply. Let’s hope more T-Shirts with some clever slogans will be coming soon. I know of at least one FAU fan/President who isn’t afraid to show her support.
Owl Access
Just a typical day before the season-opener, we had our preview (including a video) and the final installment of Former Owl Friday. Oh, and depending on where you get your FAU news, you may or may not have heard that FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger was hospitalized on Friday due to complications with his hip surgery. We not only broke the story, but followed up until we had confirmation that Schnellenberger re-joined the team and everything was back to normal.
Other linkage
Here is the game-day coverage from the papers...
Schnellenberger doing fine after hip problems on way to Gainesville

UPDATED: 7:54 p.m.

Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger has re-joined the football team at the team hotel in Ocala after being hospitalized briefly on Friday, FAU Sports Information Director Katrina McCormack said.

A few hours into the bus ride from Boca Raton to Gainesville, one of four buses carrying FAU coaches, players and staff had mechanical problems.

While the bus was being repaired, Schnellenberger, who had hip replacement surgery on Aug. 12,  began having spasms in his hip.

One of FAU’s team doctors on the trip preformed the hip replacement,  and recommended Schnellenberger have X-Rays immediately. Schnellenberger was taken by ambulance to a hospital near Port St. Lucie.

After a brief stay, Schnellenberger got into a car driven by his wife, Beverlee, who was following the buses in her own car. 

Schnellenberger re-joined the team in tme for Friday's team meal.

BREAKING NEWS: Schnellenberger off team bus to have tests on hip

UPDATED 4:27 p.m.

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger left one of the team buses transporting the football team to Gainesville on Friday and was to be taken to a hospital for X-Rays related to his recent hip replacement, Athletic Director Craig Angelos said.

Schnellenberger is expected to be with the team in Gainesville and coach in Saturday’s game at Florida.
Schnellenberger, who had a hip replacement procedure on Aug. 12, had severe discomfort from sitting on the bus with the limited legroom less than two hours into the trip, Angelos said.
Friday's Daily Briefing: FAU's ride in 2011 won't be as bumpy as some think
The Florida Atlantic football team has already started on the long road of the 2011 football season.
The team buses pulled away from the Oxley Center with fans giving them a fine send-off (photo) around 10:30 this morning headed for Gainesville and a walk-through at The Swamp as the Owls get ready for Saturday’s season-opener at No. 22 Florida.
The ride up Florida’s Turnpike and throughout the season will have some bumps along the way, but just how rough will the ride be?
Well, after spending most every day this August at the Oxley Practice Fields, here’s my updated predictions at how the Owls will fare this season.
  • Sept. 3 at Florida…QB Graham Wilbert’s first career start might be one he wants to forget as he goes against UF defense…Florida 44, FAU 10
  • Sept. 10 at Michigan State…The Owls haven’t been blown out by the Spartans in two previous meetings. That trend continues. MSU 27, FAU 14
  • Sept. 24 at Auburn…The defending national champs are rebuilding, but still too much for the young Owls. Auburn 35, FAU 17
  • Oct. 1 at Louisiana-Lafayette…After three games vs. ranked opponents, the playing field is leveled and the Owls pull off their first victory of the season. FAU 21, ULL 17
  •  Oct. 8 at North Texas…After watching UNT lose to FIU 41-16 in the opener, there is no doubt the Owls will roll…FAU 38, UNT 14
  • Oct. 15 vs. WKU…Watched the Hilltoppers a bit last night as well. Unimpressed. Owls open new house in style…FAU 17, WKU 10
  • Oct. 22 vs. Middle Tennessee…Should be an electric atmosphere for a night game at Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium. Might be just enough for Owls to keep the momentum going. …FAU 24, MTSU 23
  • Nov. 5 vs. Arkansas State…I think the Red Wolves will sneak up on some folks this season – including the Owls. ASU 22, FAU 14
  • Nov. 12 at FIU…Have the advantage now of having seen FIU play. Reversing my  pre-season pick and I now see the Shula Trophy heading to Little Havana. FIU 31, FAU 21
  • Nov. 19 at Troy…Facing the Trojans a week after the Golden Panthers a tough task...Troy 38, FAU 17
  • Nov. 26 UAB…An interesting game between two teams battling for bowl eligibility. The Owls will be maturing at this point and may have enough to get past the Blazers…FAU 24, UAB 23
  • Dec. 3 vs. ULM…Another elimination game for bowl eligibility in what could be FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger’s last game. Ooops, make that last regular-season game as Owls win another close one and are bowl eligible…FAU 22, ULM 21
That’s right, I predict not only will the Owls be bowl eligible, but they will leap over one or maybe two other bowl eligible teams in the Sun Belt who won’t play in the postseason as some bowl exec out there wants to have Schnellenberger’s last game.
You can say I’m dreaming, but I think FAU will be in most every Sun Belt game – there is not that much different in talent between Sun Belt teams, with a few obvious exceptions.
But I admit, this is a best-case scenario where the Owls get just about every bounce, avoid injuries and win the close games. Will it happen? I probably wouldn’t bet my mortgage on it, but I suppose that’s why they play the game. But I will guarantee this – FAU won’t finish last in the Sun Belt this season, as some have said.
Owl Links
Owl Access
Our Owl Access pass holders can check out Thursday’s story on the freshman who are expected to play Saturday, plus news on a player on the two-deep who we hear won’t be in action on Saturday. …We also had the latest edition of Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz, our weekly podcast.
Other linkage
The Sun-Sentinel says FAU coaches will study Charlie Weis's past for clues. …Quinn outlines expectations for his defense, the Gainesville Sun says.
Thursday’s Daily Briefing: 10 years ago today, FAU played its first game


Do you remember where you were, what you were doing and who you were with exactly 10 years ago today?
On September 1, 2001 I’ll bet many of you were at Pro Player Stadium to witness history - the first football game in the history of Florida Atlantic University.
It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the Owls took on Slippery Rock that hot afternoon, and in some respects it seems like just yesterday.
The Owls lost the game 40-7, but the university was also a big winner that day after fielding a team for the first time.
If you need a refresher, above is a video we did on that first game for The Howard Schnellenberger Show back in 2009. That in itself seems like a long time ago when Jared Allen is featured first as a quarterback, but was a graduate assistant two years ago when we interviewed him. Of course, now Allen has risen to be the FAU quarterbacks coach.
But to really put how far FAU has come since that day into perspective, one has to again look at the big picture.
Ten years ago a bunch of 18 and 19 year old kids ran out on to the field as the first players to wear FAU  uniforms . However, in the last few years, many supporters of he program have publicly vented about the direction of a program that isn't even a teenager.
I'm sure those who have been overly critical of the program the last few years will make for fine parents who send their children to juvenile hall after a few bad report cards.
Sometimes, spoiled by the success of FAU’s 2007 team, we forget that this program is just a decade old. And FAU fans need to remember that Saturday when the Owls face Florida,  which played its first game 105 years ago.
But today, it’s all about remembering that first game and wishing a happy birthday to FAU football as it begins its second decade.
Owl Links
We had the second installment of our Q&A with FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. …FAU players are chomping at the bit to get the season started. …Also check out this blog with photos of baseball players shaving their heads to support a teammates’ brother.
Other linkage
FAU is guessing at what to expect from Florida's defense, the Sun-Sentinel says. ...FAU has plenty of motivation this season, the Miami Herald writes. ......USA Today columnist Christine Brennan looks at Schnellenberger's career. ......There will be a shiny, new present under tree for UF fans on Saturday according to The Gainesville Sun's Pat Dooley.


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Go watch college football in Boca. It's that simple. Support your local team and go have a good time!

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