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Posts from November 2010

Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Where does FAU upset of MSU rank in program history?

The feeling in the FAU locker room Tuesday night in Starkville, Miss. must have have been in stark contrast to the mood after the last three games against American, Florida and George Mason.

The Owls lost those three, but facing an undefeated Mississippi State team, didn’t blink and defeated an SEC team for the first time in school history - and it only took nine tries.
Where does the 61-59 upset over the Bulldogs, who entered the game at 4-0, rank in terms of big victories since FAU’s program began in 1988?
It’s near the top, but for perspective, just look at what is unquestionably the Owls biggest victory – a  83-81 victory over No. 11 Oklahoma State team on Dec. 1, 1998. It was the first time the Cowboys lost a non-conference home game in 80 tries. It was big and the talk of the town for the next several days.
Earlier in the year FAU had announced it was starting football and hired Howard Schnellenberger officially on May 1 that year. And then a monumental basketball victory gave the athletic program some real momentum
However, the Owls went 0-12 on the road the rest of the season and after a 6-20 season, coach Kevin Billerman was fired at the end of that season.
I don’t see the same thing happening this time around thanks to the character of the collection of players that coach Mike Jarvis has assembled.
One can almost sense that this program has arrived under Jarvis who notched his signature victory vs. the Bulldogs.
This time, the Owls might be around to stay.
Here’s my Top 5 list of other top FAU basketball victories  
  • Dec. 1, 1998: FAU 83, No. 11 Oklahoma State 81…Owls snap OSU 80-game home non-conference winning streak.
  • Feb. 28, 1994: FAU 75, North Carolina St. 71…Only victory vs. ACC comes early in program’s move to Division I.
  • Dec. 3, 2002: FAU 74, Miami 73…Owls were 0-15 vs. Hurricanes until big home win.
  • March 2, 2002: FAU 76, Georgia State 75…Owls win A-Sun title and advance to NCAA Tournament.
  • Feb. 14, 2007: FAU 78, Western Kentucky 73…Owls knock off Sub Belt power on WKU’s home court during their first year in the conference.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
Before the hoops hysteria, we had this week’s edition of The Howard Schnellenberger Show available to our members and at practice on Tuesday talked to redshirt freshman cornerback Treon Howard, who will likely be making his first start Saturday vs. Troy.
Of course, we were also monitoring the events in Starkville, where the hoops team pulled off the big upset.
And FAUOwlAccess.com readers found out about the game vs. Georgia in 2012 in the early afternoon shortly after the news broke in Georgia.
Other linkage…

Miss. State-FAU game coverage: Jackson Clarion Ledger

FAU headed Between the Hedges in 2012

Florida Atlantic is headed between Between the Hedges if reports out of Georgia are accurate.

Atlanta broadcast outlets reported Tuesday the Owls will play at Georgia in 2012 and Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity confirmed the news to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Athens Banner-Herald.
FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos told FAUOwlAccess.com that he has talked to Georgia but no contract is signed, but the AJC reported that FAU and Georgia have a signed "memorandum of understanding."
The  game could re-unite Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger and Mark Richt, who played for him at Miami.
Richt is also a graduate of Boca Raton High School.
The game is set for Sept. 15, 2012 at Sanford Stadium, in Athens, Ga. and FAU will reportedly receive $1 million for the game. It is the most money FAU has received  for a game.
Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: Sun Belt coaches under more pressure to win

Suddenly in the Sun Belt Conference it’s an avalanche of axes.

There will be three new coaches (at least) in the conference next season as the pressure to win is reaching a fever pitch even at schools who have never been consistent winners at the Division I-A level.
That follows the weekend firing of ULL coach Rickey Bustle and the mid-season firing of North Texas coach Todd Dodge.
Since Dodge’s replacement as the interim coach, Mike Canales, won’t get the job, we’ll count him as another casualty.
North Texas is going with Florida assistant and former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney.
Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State are in the early stages of their searches.
For years, the Sun Belt was the rock of stability when it came to retaining coaches. But there appears to be a push by some conference schools to do take their programs to another level.
We’ll be able to judge by the coaches who are hired and the salaries that are paid, but when a salary around $500,000 is thrown around for the North Texas job it appears the Sun Belt is heading into a new era – for better or worse.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
Another busy Monday for FAUOwlAccess.com as were busy with our 1st and 10 look at Troy, our grades and game balls following the loss to MTSU and a preview of the basketball game at Mississippi State.
We’ll be down at football practice today and will also be following the basketball game in Starkville, Miss.
Other linkage…
Monday’s Daily Briefing: Rusty Smith makes FAU history by starting for Titans

Don’t read too much into former FAU quarterback Rusty Smith’s starting debut Sunday.

Smith became the first former Owl to start an NFL game when he started for the Titans against the Texans on Sunday.
The rookie nerves were on display as Smith was 17-of-31 for 138 yards and threw three interceptions as Tennessee lost to Houston 20-0.
But flash back to 2006 when Smith made his collegiate debut in one of the toughest environments to play. Smith started his first game in college as a redshirt freshman at Death Valley in Clemson.
I looked up his stats for that day: 9-of-21 for 104 yards. Of course, by the next season Smith had found his groove and his breakout season.
I am not saying Smith will do the same at the NFL level. I’m just saying don’t count him out just yet after one game.
Here’s what Smith had to say after the game:
“I can’t give you a grade right now. I can give you a better answer after I get back and watch some film. Honestly, I wish I could have some of those throws back, but you can’t get them back. I thought I made some good decisions, some good throws, some bad decisions and some bad throws.”
“There is a lot to have been learned. We would be up here all day saying all of them. Just that I’m not as good as I thought I was (joking). Not really. This league is a great league with great players and great teams. The Texans did a great job of scheming us and taking away some things that we thought were going to be there.”
 “I wouldn’t say it was harder. I was expecting it to be faster, which it was. I was expecting them to make plays and they did. So I wouldn’t necessarily say it was harder. I expected it to be exactly like it was. But you can’t create that in practice. Getting the experience is gold.”
And here’s what Titans coach Jeff Fisher had to say about Smith’s performance:
““Anytime you start a rookie, in his first start, first game, you talk all week about the importance of everyone picking their game up. We have to get the little things right. We have to help him. We have to get the little catches and those kinds of things. We had our hands on some balls early but we couldn’t keep the drive alive. Then, we hurt ourselves with penalties. Some penalties and false start penalties are related to a first start quarterback. He’s trying to check on players and get in and out of things. He made some good throws.”
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com made the trip to the Oxley Center for Sunday’s practice. Unfortunately (for us) there was no practice, but we did talk to FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger on his weekly teleconference with reporters. Here’s our report.
Check back later today for our 1st and 10 look at Troy, our grades and gameballs and a preview of Tuesday’s basketball game at Mississippi State.
Other linkage…

 

Sunday's Daily Briefing: FAU defense slips vs. Blue Raiders

A banged-up football team limped home last night after a lopsided loss when Florida Atlantic just didn’t match-up with its opponent in any phase of the game.

We’ve seen it before in games vs. Texas, Nebraska, South Carolina and Florida.
Bu this was Middle Tennessee – and a struggling Blue Raiders squad at that - that ran roughshod over FAU on Saturday in Murfreesboro, Tenn. to the tune of 38-14.
Believe me, the score could have been much worse.
And I was going over bowl possibilities this week?
This team obviously isn’t ready for that just yet as the Blue Raiders proved.
That FAU’s offense struggled isn’t surprising. The Owls haven’t been consistent all year.
But more confusing was how FAU’s defense, which stood toe-to-toe against Texas and had been making steady improvement all seasoon was pushed around by the Blue Raiders.
Thanks to a busy day for the trainers, there were plenty of young players in on defense, but that’s no excuse.
No matter, after Saturday’s game vs. Troy FAU will have many months to figure it out as it will be looking forward to spring practice instead of a bowl game. They may need the practice more anyway.

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

FAUOwlAccess.com was in Murfreesboro, Tenn. for the FAU-Middle Tennessee game and brings you complete coverage including our recap, video highlights, analysis and much more. Check it out here.

We also were monitoring the basketball team's game at George Mason.

More game coverage:  Sun-Sentinel / Murfreesboro Daily News-Journal

Saturday’s Daily Briefing: FAU will be signing blues after today’s game vs. Blue Raiders

FAU returns to the site of one of its biggest triumphs and one of its most bitter defeats when it enters Floyd Stadium for today’s game vs. Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Will the feeling the Owls have when they get on the bus to come home be that of jubilation like in 2003 when then-QB Jared Allen connected with WR Roosevelt Bynes for a 62-yard touchdown pass as time expired for FAU’s victory over MTSU?
Or will it be a near-silent procession to the bus like the one after the 32-yard pass to Malcom Beyah on a Hail Mary pass that gave the Blue Raiders the 14-13 victory over FAU in a nationally-televised game in 2008.
Today’s game could very well come down to the last play of the game as well, but the prediction isn’t one FAU fans will like.
The Owls are going against a team that features a running quarterback in Dwight Dasher and so far this season when quarterbacks like to take off, it’s been big trouble for FAU’s defense.
And then there’s the matter of the emphasis MTSU places on the kicking game. The Owls squeeze time in on special teams when they can. Again, this could be big trouble for FAU.
The Owls are playing for a bowl berth, but so are the Blue Raiders.
I see it as Middle Tennessee 28, FAU 20.
If you disagree, post your prediction and you might win two tickets to the FAU-Troy season-finale next week.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com took to the air on Friday to the mid-state region of Tennessee, including The District, which is directly across the river from LP Field, the home field of the Titans.
As usual we had our preview, a video look at the game and our keys to the game. Check it all out here.
We also posted out basketball preview for today’s game at George Mason.
Other linkage…
Friday’s Daily Briefing: FAU's bowl picture will clear up after this weekend

While there are many projections and predictions out there on where FAU could wind up in a bowl game, most at the Oxley Center don’t want to talk about it.

Why be distracted? The coaches and players know what they have to do and it’s simple – win two games and then worry about where the Owls may or may not be for the holidays.
I like that approach by the team.
But for those who don’t have to play Middle Tennessee on Saturday, it’s just too tempting to speculate.
For FAU it’s simple, lose at Middle Tennessee or vs. Troy and the Owls are not bowl eligible. We are also going to assume Troy can handle Western Kentucky on Saturday.
We’ll know a lot more after Saturday, with most teams wrapping up their regular seasons, but here’s a few scenarios that could play out.
 
  • If FIU wins one of its next two, the Golden Panthers are Sun Belt champions, but if ULM loses to ULL, FAU would finish second in the Sun Belt if it beats MTSU and Troy. However, I would bet my DVD collection of The Howard Schnellenberger Shows that the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala. would select Troy. How would that sit with Owl Nation that the team it beat head-to-head would go to the No. 2 bowl? Strangely enough, some I talked to at FAU would rather go to Detroit than Mobile, Ala. But what if Detroit isn’t available? It could happen…
  • Watch this weekend’s Big 10 teams closely. It will have eight bowl-eligible teams, but if two Big 10 teams are picked for BCS bowls a spot will be open in the Little Ceasar’s Bowl in Detroit for a third Sun Belt team. I’d say it’s a pretty good chance that Ohio State and Wisconsin or even Michigan State make it to BCS bowls, but if the Buckeyes would lose to Michigan or Michigan State would slip up vs. Penn State, the Big 10 could fill its slot for the Little Caesar’s Bowl, leaving FAU out in the cold.
  • The scenario everyone seems to be forgetting is that if FIU loses vs. Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee, and ULL upsets ULM in a rivalry game, the Owls are the Sun Belt champion and would be headed for the New Orleans Bowl. Owl fans say Geaux Cajuns! Owl fans also always root against FIU.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
While most were stuffing their face with turkey or watching inflatable balloons on TV, the FAU football team was practicing at the Oxley Practice Field. Don’t even ask if we were there or not! Here’s our report, with a little tidbit that may be interesting as a key starter may not be able to play vs. the Blue Raiders.
Today we’re heading to Nashville, Tenn. with the team to get ready for Saturday’s game vs. Middle Tennessee and will have our story, video preview and keys to the game to get your ready.
We’ll also take a look at Saturday’s basketball game at George Mason.
Other linkage...
Daily Briefing for Thanksgiving Day: FAU football family grows by one

It’s a beautiful Thanksgiving Day in South Florida. Perfect day for a football practice for one of the five teams in the Sun Belt Conference battling for a bowl spot.

But let’s take a moment and step away from bowl projections, football injuries and coachspeak and think about our families on this day.
I’m sure receivers coach Jared Allen, who played at FAU, is thankful for his today. After all it grew by one this week.
Allen and his wife Brynn, welcomed their second second son, Pierson Lee Allen, into the world when he was born at 1:19 a.m. on Sunday.
Allen, at far left in this photo, was flying home on the team charter flight at that time and would have made it back to South Florida in time if it hadn’t been for mechanical trouble delaying the flight leaving Austin, Texas.
Still when the flight landed, Allen took off on a full sprint across the tarmac, showing speed he rarely displayed even as a player.
It’s too bad he couldn’t make it back for that special moment, but I’m sure everyone who knows Jared is thankful today that his family is doing fine. I know I am.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was at Wednesday’s practice and had this story on some memorable Hail, Mary passes completed against FAU.
We’ll be at today’s practice and will have a full report later.
Other linkage…

 

Wednesday's Daily Briefing: FAU closes deal on stadium funding agreement

The I’s are dotted, the T’s are crossed and the ink may not even be dry on the contracts, but FAU and officials from Regions Bank have finalized the loan for the $44 million loan for construction of the on-campus football stadium.

The deal was signed, sealed and delivered on Tuesday afternoon.
Construction has already been started and ground was broken last month on the 30,000-seat stadium, expected to be completed by October 2011 and the closing was merely a formality – albeit a necessary one. You don’t do deals as big and as complicated as this one on a handshake.
When you buy a house, you may have an offer accepted, but you don’t breathe easy until the closing.
Well, breathe easy FAU fans. The deal is done and FAU football will soon have a home.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we talked to Owls recruiting coordinator Kurt Van Valkenburgh about the impact Rusty Smith being named the starting quarterback for the Titans could have on recruiting quarterbacks.
We also were monitoring the basketball action in Gainesville as the Owls lost to the No. 16 Gators 79-66.
Other linkage…

 

Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: North Texas spurns WAC to stay in Sun Belt Conference

Score one for the Sun Belt Conference.

I’m not sure it’s the smartest move in the world by the folks in Denton, but it does show they have some loyalty.
This story began and ended quickly.
On Monday, WAC commissioner Karl Benson held a conference call to discuss the future of his league – think about how the captain of the Titanic would have sounded as the band was playing “God Save The Queen.”
Anyway, captain Benson mentioned on the call he had called the Sun Belt Conference to inform the administration there he wanted to talk to North Texas about joining the WAC. He may or may not have began the call by screaming into the telephone “WHERE’S WRIGHT WATERS?”
But the courtship was a short one with UNT brass telling the WAC they weren’t interested.
Good for them, and good for the rest of the teams in the Sun Belt.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
A Manic Monday at FAUOwlAccess.com began with our 1st and 10 look at Middle Tennessee and continued with our grades and gameballs following the Owls’ loss at Texas.
Then we headed over to the hardwood for a preview of today’s game basketball game at Florida and also were at FAU Arena for the women’s basketball victory vs. Eastern Kentucky.
All in all not a bad day’s work at FAUOwlAccess.com and it doesn’t stop today.
We’ll have the latest edition of The Howard Schnellenberger Show, cover the Tuesday football practice and follow the basketball game vs. the Gators.
Nothing like staying busy!
Other linkage…

 

Monday's Daily Briefing: Texas players fired up by FAU trash talk?

Is there some bad blood between Texas and Florida Atlantic?

 After the Longhorns' 51-17 victory, Texas linebacker Emmanuel Acho was asked about the trash talking going between the two teams before the game.

“We did feel a little disrespected going into this game,” Acho said. “And it was our job to get our respect back."

Other players chimed in as well. 

"I can't repeat what they were saying," said Texas senior receiver John Chiles. "They did a lot of disrespectful stuff … they were doing stuff that was crossing the line."

There apparantly was a stare-down as an FAU player stood on the Longhorns logo at midfield and there was a minor altercation between the Owls and Longhorns just before the game as UT players rushed across the field to the end zone where the Owls were getting ready to run out on the field.

On Sunday FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger was still puzzled about Texas players running over to the Owls’ tunnel before the game to salute the fans right as FAU was coming out.

There was some pushing and shoving between the two teams and some words exchanged, but no punches appeared to have been thrown and no penalties were assessed.

“I don’t know what the deal is with them running all the way up to where we have to cross the field,” Schnellenberger said. “I don’t understand what that is all about. I don’t know if they have ever had any problems there before. We were trying to get to our bench area.”

> Owl Links: Articles of interest of FAU fans

We had our Sunday report after the weekly teleconference with Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger.

Check back later today for our 1st and 10 look at Middle Tennesee, our grades after the Texas game and a preview of the basketball team's game Tuesday at Florida.

Other linkage...

The Sun-Sentinel looks ahead and looks back

The Tennessean has coverage on former FAU QB Rusty Smith becoming the new starter for the Tennessee Titans

 

Sunday's Daily Briefing: FAU has progressed since last meeting vs. Texas but not enough to beat Longhorns

AUSTIN, Texas - The scores of the two times FAU has played Texas are similar.

The two games themselves had very little in common.
In 2008, the Owls were defeated by the Longhorns in blow-out fashion 52-10.
On Saturday, FAU fell to Texas 51-17, but were more competitive, trailing 27-17 until late in the third quarter.
To put it bluntly, two years ago Texas beat FAU, but on Saturday the Owls beat themselves.
Mistakes killed the Owls vs. the Longhorns and I think that if FAU converts any of the drives where it made it into the red zone before going backwards, the Owls possibly could have won the game.
It’s a positive that the Owls competed with the Longhorns. But it makes even more frustrating for Owl fans that the result might have been different had FAU not made some costly miscues.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
 
FAUOwlAccess.com had team coverage from Austin of the 51-17 loss to the Longhorns including a recap, our analysis, video highlights photos and audio of Howard Schnellenberger's press conference. Get it all by clicking here.
Before the football game, the basketball team almost rallied back from a 22-point deficit to beat American before falling 82-72.
Saturday's Daily Briefing: FAU will keep it close vs. Texas

AUSTIN, Texas - In 2008, Florida Atlantic headed into Texas full of bravado and optimism.

The fans followed, too. By my estimate, there were more Owl fans in Austin, Texas than at any other regular-season game outside the state of Florida.
Perhaps whipped into a frenzy by Howard Schnellenberger’ “Texas isn’t tough” comments they were there to see FAU compete – and possibly win the game
We all know what happened as the Owls fumble away a possible scoring chance on their first drive and UT coasted to a 52-10 victory.
I remember like it was yesterday – the game, not the night before on famed Sixth Street,
Today, will be different however.
FAU is starting to click, Texas is almost ready to throw in the towel on its worst season in years.
I’m not going to go overboard, but I think the Owls make it closer tnhan the three touchdonwns the oddsmakers think.
The prediction here is Texas 35, FAU 24 as Longhorn fans have to sweat it out.
Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we had our preview and video breakdown of today’s game at Texas.
We also have a preview of today;s basketball game vs. American.
Smitty welcomes Owls to Austin

So we roll up to our hotel in Austin, wander through the automatic glass doors and who is waiting for us? Smitty, of course.

He made the trip from San Antonio for the weekend. Smitty (photo, left, with his roommate) was already setting up for an FAU alumni happy hour. Here's a shot from the party.

Afterward, most people are going to find their way to 6th St. The current debate is whether we should eat BBQ or Mexican. I suspect we'll find a way to have a little of both.

For those of you in Boca, Saturday should be entertaining. Take in the basketball game against American  at 1 p.m., then find a place with Fox SportsNet Florida to watch the game. For those who can't watch the game, or if you simply want to relive it, you know we'll have complete gameday coverage on FAUOwlAccess.com.

Now, back to hang with Smitty.

Friday’s Daily Briefing: Old college roomates FAU DB coach Hopkins, Texas coach Brown meet again Saturday

Florida Atlantic defensive back coach Dick Hopkins is looking forward to seeing a familiar face across the sidelines when the Owls face Texas on Saturday.

Hopkins will be going against his old college roommate, Texas coach Mack Brown. Hopkins and Brown were teammates at Florida State in the early 1970s.
“I was his guide when he came down for his visit and we just hit it off ...we became great friends and eventually roommates,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins is quite close to the Brown family, having also coached with Brown’s brother, Watson Brown at Cincinnati, Rice and Vanderbilt.
Hopkins could tell early on that Mack Brown would make a good coach.
“One thing about Mack is that he can sell ice to eskimos,” Hopkins said. “He’s a great CEO. …He’s always had a great passion for coaching.”
Hopkins’ assessment was spot on.
Brown is 132-33 in seasons 13 seasons at Texas.
“It’s going to be great to talk to him before the game,” Hopkins said.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com, we posted the latest edition of Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz and were at Thursday’s practice and provided this look at the FAU secondary.
Check back later today for our preview and video breakdown of the football game at Texas and the basketball game vs. American.

Other linkage...

The Owls' offensive line is improving its focus, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Austin American-Statesman says that FAU tickets can be had for as little as 15 bucks.

Thursday's Daily Briefing: 2010 signee Lozandier likely to enroll in January

Sure it's late in the season, but FAU's 2010 recruiting class sounds like it's about to get one back that nearly got away.

That signing class included safety David Lozandier, but the North Miami graduate ran into some academic issues and couldn't enroll in the fall.

The effervescent Lozandier was smiling even more than usual when I talked to him on Saturday during the Louisiana-Lafayette game. He'd re-taken the ACT last month and said his score is now high enough for admission.

Lozandier's sister Willyne gave him the news – and she had a little fun with it.

“My sister at first was playing around. She was like, 'Oh you got a 16.' I said, 'Please, don't tell me this.' And then she said, 'I'm playing around. Look at it,'” Lozandier said. “I was like, yes! Finally!”

Lozandier said he's told FAU coaches about the improved test score. He said they told him to prepare to enroll at FAU in January.

As a senior in high school, Lozandier recorded 91 tackles, including five sacks, playing mostly linebacker. His speed, which is in the 4.4 range, will allow FAU to move him back to safety.

Lozandier spent much of his time off in the weight room, adding about 15 pounds of muscle to his 185-pound frame, improving his bench to 325 pounds and  squat to 575.

He's also been to two of the Owls' three home games, missing the North Texas contest, and has watched other games on television.

“I see Randell (Johnson) and Nexon (Dorvilus) and I'm like, that could have been me,” Lozandier said, referring to his two former North Miami teammates.

If Lozandier plays at anywhere near the level as his two former high school teammates, the Owls won't have to wait much longer to get him on the field.

> Owl Links: Articles on interst to FAU fans

At FAUOwlAccess.com we were at Wednesday's football practice and had this story on the Owls looking at the Michigan State game as a way  to gain confidence for Saturday's game vs. the Longhorns.

We also had coverage of the basketball victory vs. Warner.

Other linkage...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday's Daily Briefing: Vaulting into Housler's homecoming

Spent a little time earlier this week talking to FAU tight end Rob Housler when the conversation turned to pole vaulting.

“I see the track team going out there doing it and every now and then I kind of want to join them. But it's been a while. I don't know how safe that would be,” Housler deadpanned.

As impressive as Housler's 16.6 yards-per-catch was during his senior year at Converse (Tex.) Judson High School, his 15'8 mark in the pole vault is even more attention grabbing.

Of course, Housler's recent track thoughts were fleeting. This week, his mind is on the Texas Longhorns, which is why we profiled him on Tuesday's episode of the The Howard Schnellenberger Show. The above video is a clip from the show.

If you believe Mapquest – and why wouldn't you – Converse is about an hour's drive from Austin. Housler's family and friends have already made that trip once. They saw him catch two passes including the Owls lone touchdown in a 52-10 loss to the Longhorns.

“It's up there as far as memories go,” Housler said. “To be right there at home and seeing family and friends, it was fun.”

I don't want to give away everything that's in the video, but suffice it to say, Housler is scrambling to get a hold of extra tickets for this week's game.

“It's really exciting to go back home. I'm really pumped for the game,” Housler said. “Now, it may not be as exciting because you kind of know what to expect, but it will still be exciting.”

What would it mean to steal a victory in the Lone Star State?

“Leaving Austin with a win would be monumental for us,” Housler said. “It's going to be hard. It's probably our toughest game. It would probably be the best win in FAU history.”

> Owl links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
With two sports overlapping, there was plenty for FAU fans to read and watch on Tuesday. At FAUOwlAccess.com, we started with this week's episode of The Howard Schnellenberger Show, which featured Housler, a breakdown of the Owls victory over ULL and an examination of what it will take to beat Texas this weekend.

Then it was on to basketball for this preview of FAU's home-opener against Warner – an NAIA team that took the Owls to triple-overtime last year.

We capped our FAU coverage with Tuesday's practice report. Marcus Nelson talked exclusively with linebacker Yourhighness Morgan, who will likely start the remainder of the season after Randell Johnson broke three bones in his back on Saturday.

Other linkage:
Sun-Sentinel: Owls consider Texas a 'must-win'
Austin American Statesman: FAU will be laughing Saturday - all the way to the bank

USA Today – We linked to this story on our message boards on Tuesday but in case you missed it, USA Today featured FAU signee Brett Comer as a major part of its high school basketball story. I talked with several FAU hoops coaches at practice and they were thrilled with the high profile article.
 

Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Stepping out of conference won't hurt FAU

Florida Atlantic is fighting to keep its bowl chances alive and now has to step out of conference to face Texas on Saturday.

It may seem odd, but it’s sort of the norm these days.
FAU isn’t the only Sun Belt school to step out of conference play this weekend. Troy is at South Carolina and Arkansas State is at Navy as well, as many larger schools are looking for tune-ups for its final games of the season.
But Owl fans shouldn’t be concerned about playing the Longhorns this weekend while FAU is still fighting for a Sun Belt title. A loss won't keep the Owls from going bowling (although a loss by Texas will keep the Longhorns at home for the holidays. Go figure.)
In 2007, the Owls played a November game against Florida at The Swamp. This may be difficult to fathom based on their current form, but back then the Gators were a program that many wanted to emulate. It sounds far-fetched, but you can look it up.
Anyway, the Owls were hammered 59-20 by UF, but went on to win their next two games to make it to the New Orleans Bowl.
FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger says his team gets better by playing traditional powers and in 2007, that appeared to be the case.
We may get to if that happens this season as well.
> Owl Links:  Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com got the week started with our first look at Texas and the 10 things you need to know about the Longhorns with our cleverly named 1st and 10.
We also gave our members a look at our grades and gameballs following the Owls’ 24-23 victory vs. ULL.
Other linkage…
More money games in FAU's future, according to the Sun-Sentinel
Monday's Daily Briefing: A look at FAU's path to Sun Belt title

After a couple of unlikely outcomes over the weekend – namely FIU defeating Troy and Western Kentucky upsetting Arkansas State in overtime, the Sun Belt Conference bowl picture is even more confusing than I would have thought at this juncture.

However after looking at the standings and the remaining games, it looks like FAU has a legitimate shot at making it to a bowl and possibly even winning the Sun Belt  title.
Here’s the easiest and most likely path for FAU to not only become bowl eligible, but win a share of the Sun Belt.
  • FAU must beat MTSU and Troy to finish 5-3 in the Sun Belt.
  • FIU must lose two of its remaining three games. Assuming the Golden Panthers can handle ULL, the two most likely losses would be ASU and MTSU to finish at 5-3 in the SBC, but would have seven losses.
  • Arkansas State needs to lose to Navy, giving them seven losses overall.
  • ULM needs to lose to either UNT or ULL to finish at 4-4 in the conference.
If ASU and FIU aren't bowl eligible, FAU and Troy would be the Sun Belt's bowl eligible teams meaing FAU would at least go to Mobile, Ala.or New Orleans.
There could be another way for FAU to win the title and make it to a bowl, but to me, this appears to be a realistic way with the toughest part of the equation is for the Owls to win their next two SBC games.
At any rate, it’s interesting and fun to go over what could happen with the Owls still alive.
Owl Links: Articles of interest to Owl fans
Another busy day at FAUOwlAccess.com as we were the only ones covering Sunday’s practice and Toilet Bowl. Here’s our report.
We also had coverage of the women’s basketball team’s loss to Kennesaw State and a recap of the basketball team’s loss at Portland.
Other linkage...
 
Sunday's Daily Briefing: FAU defense comes up big on second chance

It looked like FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger was making a strange decision by going conservative in the closing minutes of Saturday’s game vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.

Schnellenberger appeared to want his defense, not his offense, to decide the game when he ran low-risk running plays deep in Owls territory before punting to ULL with 2:58 remaining.
However, the Owls’ defense, the backbone of this team the last few weeks, blinked and allowed the Ragin’ Cajuns to score on a long touchdown to pull within 24-23.
Schnellenberger’s decision to be willing to give up the ball looked even more curious at that moment, but in a matter of seconds, that strategy was upstaged by an even odder choice when Ragin’ Cajuns coach Rickey Bustle chose to go for two to win instead of kicking the easy PAT and possibly sending the game to overtime.
FAU’s defense may have failed once with the game on the line, but it wasn’t about to do it again.
The Owls defense stayed calm, flushed QB Blaine Gautier out of the pocket and forced him to throw the ball through the end zone to give FAU the victory.
After that play, perhaps Schnellenberger was right to have put the game in the hands of his defense, which grew up in a big way in the span of just two plays.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com was at Lockhart Stadium early and left late to bring you team coverage of FAU’s 24-23 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. That means a recap, informed analysis, photos and, of course, complete video highlights of the victory. Check it out here.
On the other coast, the men’s basketball team defeated UW-Milwaukee 85-76 and we are proud that ESPN760.com’s Ken LaVicka provided the recap and analysis from Portland, Ore.
We’ll be down at FAU for today’s football practice and will also have coverage of the basketball team’s third game in the Athletes in Action Classic against Portland at 8:30 p.m.
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Saturday’s Daily Briefing: Look for FAU to do some Cajun cooking today

After a nice victory for the FAU basketball team on Friday night, I’m going to quickly turn my attention back to football where the Owls have a chance to win their third consecutive game today against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are struggling, down to their third quarterback and the heat is being turned up on their head coach.

Sound familiar?

As CanadianOwl pointed out this week, North Texas came in with a solid gameplan and motivated in September when the Mean Green played the Owls and wound up leaving Lockhart Stadium with a 21-17 upset victory that threw sawdust into the FAU machine.

FAU went on to lose it's next three game - five consecutive games, total - but the Owls have recovered and the defense has led the way to a two-game winning streak.

Today points will be at a premium, but FAU comes out on top.

Marcus Nelson’s official prediction: FAU 27, ULL 13

Agree or Disagree? Enter our Facebook contest and if you have the closest margin of victory you will win two tickets to FAU’s next home game vs. Troy.

Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

FAUOwlAccess.com got the day started off with what else, the women’s basketball season opener. That launched a big day for Owl freshman as Kimberly Smith scored 23 points in her debut.

We also have full coverage previewing FAU’s game vs. ULL. That means a preview, analysis and, of course our video breaking down the matchup.

And we finished the day by following the Owls’ big 70-63 victory over UC-Davis in Portland where freshman Dennis Mavin went off for 19 points after Greg Gantt was ejected.

Stick with us today and you’ll get the most complete coverage of the football game vs. the Ragin’ Cajuns and a recap of the basketball team taking on Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Other linkage…

Game previews: Sun-Sentinel / Lafayette Daily-Advertiser
 

Friday’s Daily Briefing: Status quo is just fine with Sun Belt

Thursday’s official announcement that Denver is leaving the Sun Belt Conference to join the WAC wasn’t a huge surprise.


A move by Denver had been rumored for months, and it’s a move that benefits both parties.

Denver was too far from Sun Belt schools east of the Mississippi River and as a result it was a tough road trip that was far too expensive.

You would be hard pressed to find any coach at Florida Atlantic – or probably any school in the Sun Belt – sad that Denver is leaving.
 

Perhaps of more interest were statements by Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters in the official release announcing Denver’s departure.

Waters addressed any possible expansion or changes in the Sun Belt by saying the conference wasn’t taking any action.
 
"In the coming months we expect to be asked many questions regarding potential new members as well as what future league schedules will look like," said Waters. "At this time I do not anticipate any additions to our league membership other than South Alabama's upcoming transition to football."


Well, that’s encouraging.

Now at least I know where FAU gets its “We are monitoring the situation” playbook when it comes to conference expansion issues.

I’m not going to have a “Where’s Wright Waters?” moment here. Surely the commissioner knows the college athletics landscape better than I do.

But if I were running the league, I wouldn’t wait until the day I lose a member or two to begin trying to bring more teams into the league like what happened when FAU was hastily asked to join in football and FIU moved its timetable up to become a I-A member.

The Sun Belt will be at nine members until South Alabama joins in 2012 when it will have 10 members. That’s fine for most conferences, but what makes the Sun Belt different is that many of its members would bolt for another league at the drop of a hat.

There are plenty of programs out there who would be attractive candidates. Upstarts Charlotte and Georgia State and until Thursday, Larry Coker’s Texas-San Antonio program, could perhaps have been enticed to move their timetables up and join the Sun Belt.

I don’t know how far along UTSA is, but certainly their program passed the smell test by the WAC. And joining a league with North Texas in its own state could have been enticing for Coker and the gang. At the end of the day, UTSA would probably pick the WAC over the Sun Belt, but there didn’t seem to be too much of a push to bring The Fighting Cokers into the Sun Belt.

What the Sun Belt is doing is sending a message loud and clear that “We are just fine the way we are.”

That would be fine and dandy except for the fact that the Sun Belt isn’t just fine right now – and someday sooner or later, it could see one or more of its programs leave for another league and the ones that are left are going to be in serious trouble.
 

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

FAUOwlAccess.com was at Thursday’s rare morning practice and filed this story on Ross Gornall and our practice report.
We also put up the latest edition of Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz, the weekly FAU sports podcast. This week Rowitz has one-on-one interviews with Louisiana-Lafayette coach Rickey Bustle and FAU quarterback Jeff Van Camp in addition to talking to women’s basketball player April Goins and former FAU linebacker Cergile Sincere, who is helping to market this week’s game. Today we’ll look ahead to the FAU women’s basketball season, which begins at noon against Webber International at FAU Arena. We also will have our preview for Saturday’s football game against the Ragin’ Cajuns and be following the basketball opener when the Owls take on UC-Davis at 7 p.m. in Portland.

Does anyone else work this hard to bring you in-depth coverage of FAU sports? Just keep checking out FAUOwlAccess.com and we’ll keep you up to speed.

Other linkage…


 

Thursday's Daily Briefing: Texas makes cheap tickets available for FAU game

Thanks to a disappointing season, fans are really jumping off the bandwagon creating some great bargains for the Texas-FAU game on Nov. 20.

I’m not talking about Owl supporters throwing in the towel, but instead is it the Longhorn faithful who have given up on their team after it has stumbled to a 4-5 record?
How else to explain the bottom dropping out when it comes to Texas football tickets?
It’s gotten so bad that Texas apparently e-mailed some of its fans about an offer to see the Longhorns-Owls play for $25.
Maybe when Howard Schnellenberger said he didn't think Texas was a "tough" team a few years ago, maybe he meant their tickets aren't "tough" to get.
Obviously the Longhorns are using the same ticket strategy FAU rolled out just before the Michigan State – FAU game in Detroit earlier this season.
Owl fans should get in on this deal and head to Austin for the game!
With FAU currently on a two-game winning streak, maybe the Owls can take advantage of the Longhorns’ slump and their current three-game losing streak and take over Sixth Street that night.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
It was a busy day here as FAUOwlAccess.com was covering both basketball and football.
We started the day with our season preview of the 2010-11 hoops season including a breakdown of the key players and games this season.
Then we were the first to report that Winter Park guard Brett Comer officially signed with the Owls as the early signing period began.
We could have called it a day, but instead it was time to head to football practice where we provided a story on the Owls’ running game and our daily practice report.
 We’ll be out at football practice this morning for more of the best coverage you can get on the Owls.
And, of course,  Happy Veterans’ Day to those who have served this country.
Other linkage…
Winter Park's Comer officially signs with FAU

Winter Park guard Brett Comer made it official today by signing his National Letter of Intent to play basketball for FAU.

Comer signed his NLI at a school ceremony held Wednesday afternoon, Winter Park Athletic Director Mike Brown said.

A 6-foot-2 combo guard Comer averaged 12.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a junior while playing alongside Duke-bound Austin Rivers.

“You kind of look at him and you’re not sure what to make of him; then when he gets on the court he plays so hard and intense that he makes everybody better,” Winter Park High School school coach David Bailey told FAUOwlAccess when Comer originally committed.

To see Comer in action, here's a video highlight package we shot when Comer and Winter Park played Pine Crest last season at The Burrow.

Wednesday's Daily Briefing: NFL life hasn't changed Rusty Smith

We couldn't pass up the opportunity to enjoy  a little fun with former FAU quarterback Rusty Smith this weekend. The current Tennessee Titan signal-caller viewed the Owls' game at Western Kentucky from the sideline.

Between plays Smith and wife, Nicole, even decided to make a cameo appearance for The Howard Schnellenberger Show, asking the fan question. Rusty and Schnellenberger has some fun giving each other the business. The video is below.

The Titans travel to Miami this weekend, giving Smith his first trip to South Florida as a professional.

“I am looking forward to that,” Smith said. “I'm really going to try to make it to the [FAU] game on Saturday.”

This is actually the Titans' second trip to Florida this season. A few weeks back they were in Smith's hometown of Jacksonville.

“It was great to be around family,” said Nicole. “We had about 30 people at the game and we absolutely loved it, just being around family again and seeing everybody.”

Rusty and Nicole both said they love living in Nashville and being a part of the Titans.

“I don't have to work four jobs anymore, so that's a nice break,” Nicole said laughing. “I've met some really nice wives and they've been really sweet to me.”

Smith said this season has been a learning experience. He hasn't received many snaps in practice since the regular season started, even though that number did rise when starter Vince Young and backup Kerry Collins were nursing injuries.

A starter since the latter part of his freshman year at FAU, Smith did admit that holding the clipboard and watching other guys play hasn't been easy.

“It is an adjustment, but I knew it was going to happen,” Smith said. “It's not fun, but I was preparing myself for it.”

I'm sure all FAU fans are looking forward to seeing Smith on the sideline again. Those who get to talk with him will find that the NFL hasn't changed Rusty's engaging demeanor one bit.

> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans

Yet another busy Tuesday at FAUOwlAccess.com. We posted the latest episode of The Howard Schnellenberger Show at noon. In the evening, our practice report detailed the improvements on the offensive line.

Other linkage...

Owls' offense not proud of production, the Sun-Sentinel reports

ULL down to 3rd-string QB, according to the Lafayayette Daily Advertiser

 

 

 

Taylor to make hoops trip but suspension yet to be lifted

Suspended guard Ray Taylor will make the trip to Portland for this weekend's season-opening tournament, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will play in Friday's game against UC-Davis or the other two weekend games, FAU coach Mike Jarvis told FAUOwlAccess.com on Tuesday.

Jarvis suspended Taylor (with ball in photo) and forward Darren Stewart indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules, causing both to miss the Owls' two exhibition games.

Freshman Dennis Mavin started in place of Taylor in those games and Jarvis plans to continue to start the newcomer should he not reinstate Taylor.

“If Ray doesn't play, Mavin probably will,” Jarvis said. “I'd rather start (Mavin), see what he does and know what he can do, than bring him off the bench and be guessing.”

A second-team preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selection, Taylor averaged 14.2 ppg and 5.9 apg last season as a freshman.

Both players practiced with the team on Tuesday, as they had been allowed to do throughout the suspension.
 

Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU hoops exhibitions are over, games start Friday

After the FAU basketball team defeated Lynn on Monday, the pre-season is all but over and the games that count start Friday.

So are the Owls ready to make that big leap and compete for the Sun Belt Conference title?
It’s a long season and plenty can happen between now and March, but it appears it’s a distinct possibility.
The Owls looked pretty good in their 81-61 dismantling of Division II Lynn and when you factor in that the most important player on the team – guard Ray Taylor -  is still sitting for disciplinary reasons you realize this could be one of the best teams in school history.
We’ll have more on the basketball team coming soon, but all signs are pointing to an interesting season on tap at The Burrow.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com began the week with a first look at Louisiana-Lafayette and the 10 things you need to know about the Ragin’ Cajuns.
We also gave our Owl Access Pass holders a look at our unit-by-unit grades, the most extensive analysis available on the team.
And of course, we wrapped up the day at FAU Arena for the exhibition game vs. Lynn.
Monday's Daily Briefing: UCF saw that if you build it, success will come

When talking about the potential that FAU's football program has for the future, the parallel often brought up is USF’s success the last few years.

Well, it might be time to start including UCF as well.
The Knights are off to a 7-2 start and on Sunday were ranked for the first time in school history in the AP poll.
UCF came in at No. 25 and in the coach’s poll is ranked No. 23 –ahead of No. 24 Florida. Miami and Florida State aren’t ranked in either poll.
Can you say breakthrough season?
I don’t want to get into the gulf between UCF’s program and FAU’s. The difference is huge.
However, it is interesting that UCF appears to have some serious momentum – and much of that stems from the excitement and boost the Knights received when they opened their on-campus stadium in 2007.
UCF’s success could make it tougher on FAU’s recruiting this winter, but also should give the Owls hope that they could soon be catching up with the Knights if afforded the opportunity to bring recruits to their own stadium.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com had the only reporter at Sunday’s football practice and Toilet Bowl and filed this report.
Check back later today as we have our 1st and 10 look at Louisiana-Lafayette, hand out our gameballs and grades following the 17-16 victory at Western Kentucky and then have a report from the final hoops exhibition of the season when the Owls play host to Division II Lynn.
Other linkage..
Sunday's Daily Briefing: Owls offense must improve quickly

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger may have been pleased with the outcome of Saturday’s 17-16 victory vs. Western Kentucky, but after the game in his post-game press conference he didn’t mince words.

“It’s good to see the defense playing football even when the offense isn’t playing winning football,” Schnellenberger said outside the lockerroom at WKU’s Houchens-Smith Stadium. “I talked with the offense about the fact that in this game they didn’t play winning football. They understand what I am saying. When we win, we all win and when we lose, we all lose, but we have to look at it objectively.”  
It’s not too hard to guess that there will be plenty of emphasis on the offense this week in practice.
Here’s something to shoot for – How about scoring more than 17 points in a game?
FAU has now scored 17 points four times this season – and three of those times (vs. Michigan State, vs. North Texas, vs. ULM) have resulted in loss.
In Schnellenberger’s view, that ain’t going to cut it.
Well at least most of the time it won’t – and there aren’t any more Western Kentuckys on the schedule (although ULL, does come close - the Cajuns lost to the Hilltopppers 54-21 earlier this year.)
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com had our usual team of reporters for the game in Bowling Green, Ky. For the game.
Click here for our report, video and analysis of the game.
Later today we’ll have a follow up story after Schnellenberger’s conference call with reporters and coverage of the Toilet Bowl, the scrimmage between players who didn’t play Saturday.
Other linkage…
FAU deserves credit, even if Western Kentucky is worst team in Sun Belt

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Let me fire off a pre-emptive strike to those who don’t want to give Florida Atlantic the proper credit after the Owls defeated Western Kentucky 17-16 on Saturday.

I know the Owls’ offense struggled and had it not been for some big plays on defense FAU would have likely lost
I know that WKU is the worst team in the Sun Belt – and one of the worst in the FBS.
And I also know that FAU has a long way to go before it can creep back into the bowl picture.
But forget about all that for at least one night and give credit to the Owls for going on the road and beating a team with the best running back in the Sun Belt Conference.
Let the Owls, who improved to 3-5, 2-3 in the Sun Belt, enjoy the victory because the defense showed once again it can come up big with the game on the line and FAU’s offense, while struggling, can at least come up with enough big plays to pull out the win.
A few weeks ago, the Owls probably would have folded in the fourth quarter.
No matter how unimpressive WKU is, it’s impressive that the Owls found a way to win when they didn’t play their best. And that’s a sign that there is hope for the future.
Saturday's Daily Briefing: Rusty Smith makes appearance in Bowling Green

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The NFL schedule was fortuitous to Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Rusty Smith.

The Titans are off this week, so Smith, who finished his FAU career last year, and his wife Nicole made the short drive from Nashville on Friday to take in today's FAU-Western Kentucky game.
Smith showed up at the team hotel and talked to many of his old friends including Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger (pictured).
So how’s life going as a rookie?
“It’s going great,” Smith said, adding that the rookie hazing hasn’t been too bad, save for having to go dress like a prince and go into a restaurant in full costume last week when the Titans went to San Diego.
The Titans played a few weeks ago in Jacksonville and Smith said he was able to connect with some friends and family in his hometown.
“It was a lot of fun and I actually did get to spend some time with my family,” Smith said.
And next week, Smith will back down in South Florida when the Titans play the Dolphins.
“We have meetings and we also have a curfew but if the (FAU) game is at night, I may try to see if I can make it,” Smith said,
 The schedule is working out for Smith, who was mobbed by FAU people when he strolled in the hotel lobby Friday afternoon.
 
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we posted our preview, our keys to the game and of course, and our video breakdown of the game.  See them all by clicking here
We are in Bowling Green, Ky. For the game so check back later today for our updates before during and after the game.
Other linkage...
Friday's Daily Briefing: Newton recruiting story could impact FAU

The biggest story in college sports has an angle that FAU fans may be interested in.

On Thursday night, ESPN.com reported that the recruitment of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is under investigation by the NCAA. Specifically, it’s being reported that someone claiming to represent Newton told a former Mississippi State player that for $180,000 he could deliver Newton to the Bulldogs.
Of course, this is slightly against NCAA rules.
Here’s where the FAU angle comes in.
FAU is scheduled to face Auburn on Sept. 24 next season, but if an NCAA investigation lingers on or finds any wrongdoing on Newton’s part, Newton will almost certainly leave Auburn a year early for the NFL.
With Newton, a Heisman Trophy candidate, at quarterback, the Tigers are undefeated and ascended to the top of the BCS rankings last week.
Without Newton, the Tigers are likely just about where they were when FAU originally scheduled the game – a good, but not great SEC program.
Believe me, FAU would rather face Auburn, which earlier this season embarrassed Louisiana-Monroe to the tune of 52-3 and routed Arkansas State 52-26, without Newton.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
On Thursday’s FAUOwlAccess.com posts its weekly podcast, Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz. This week’s edition featured a one-on-one interview with Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart.
Also on Thursday, we were the only ones at FAU’s last football practice of the week and have this story on the impact the return of center Jimmie Colley on FAU's line over the past week plus our practice report.
And if that wasn’t enough, we covered the men’s basketball exhibition game vs. Northwood and reported on the suspension of point guard Ray Taylor and the loss to the Seahawks.
Check back later today for our preview and video breakdown of the FAU-Western Kentucky game before we board the plane for Bowling Green, Ky. this afternoon so we can bring you in-depth coverage of the game on Saturday.  
 Other linkage…

 

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Could FAU be affected by Big East expansion?

As you may or may not have seen, the winds of change are blowing again among major conferences.

This time it’s the Big East which has made clear its intention to expand.
Now things could get interesting, especially when it comes to FAU.
One possible scenario has Central Florida as one of the possible schools the Big East might be interested in.
While it’s easy to say that if UCF were indeed to leave Conference USA for the Big East, FAU might have a chance to make a case to move up to C-USA as the league would likely still want a presence in Florida.
While that’s a possibility, FAU actually may be more affected by what happens with schools in the Mountain West. For example, if TCU were to leave the Mountain West, some sort of merger between the Mountain West and Conference USA is a possibility, therefore slamming the door shut on FAU’s chances to leave the Sun Belt.
It’s way too early to tell, but it would seem if these changes would be announced tomorrow, it wouldn’t be good for FAU. But the longer it drags out, the better it is for FAU’s prospects of moving up to another league.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to Owl fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com, we wrote about the sudden emergence of junior defensive end Jamere Johnson and had our daily practice report.
Check back later today for the latest edition of Owl Talk with Brian Rowitz. Then we’ll be at FAU football practice with some news and notes for our daily football report before heading to FAU Arena for tonight’s basketball exhibition against Northwood.
Other linkage…
Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Last few days shows anyone can win Sun Belt

After Arkansas State soundly defeat Middle Tennessee on Tuesday a few days after Troy lost to Louisiana-Monroe one can draw their own conclusions.

Optimists will tout the Sun Belt’s “parity” and that on any given Saturday (or Tuesday) any team can beat another. A pessimist might just look at the Sun Belt and say it stinks and doesn’t have any good teams.
It doesn’t matter which one you buy into, the fact is the Sun Belt race is pretty wide open. More importantly, FAU is certainly down (Ok, way down) but isn’t out. Even at 1-3 in the SBC the Owls could be a factor in the championship race because they have yet to play Troy and Middle Tennessee, which still have to be included as the favorites to win the conference. Don’t they?
Oh I know, it would just about take a miracle for FAU to win the rest of its conference games, but after seeing MTSU get throttled, the chances look at least a little better.
And I know I am about to get carried away, but does anyone know how Texas did against Iowa State and Baylor this season?
I’m just sayin’
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to Owl fans
In addition to posting the most recent edition of The Howard Schnellenberger Show, FAUOwlAccess.com looked at the Owls’ three-running back formation that led to a touchdown on Saturday.
Other linkage...
The Sun-Sentinel says Tavious Polo's play is improving
Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Sun Belt makes another spash on TV

The World Series is over and after three consecutive days of World Series games the eyes of sports fans across the nation can turn to, what else? Sun Belt Conference football.

That’s right. When Arkansas State plays host to Middle Tennessee at 7 p.m.tonight on ESPN2, it won’t have very much competition from other nationally televised games regardless of sport.
What a win-win for the Red Wolves, Blue Raiders and Sun Belt – and a great way to spend a Tuesday for FAU fans.
And speaking of Sun Belt games on TV, did I really hear that FAU fans were upset that the Troy-FIU game on Nov. 15 was selected to be televised by the Sun Belt Network instead of the FAU-Louisiana Lafayette game that same day?
Wow.
A quick look at the SBC standings has Troy in first and FIU tied for second. Meanwhile ULL is tied for sixth and FAU is tied for last.
Gee, I wonder which game dserves to be televised?
I knew when the SBC announced its “flex” scheduling for late in the season to provide the best matchup each week that fans wouldn’t understand it and the SBC would be criticized for any decision it made.
Looks like I was right.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com, we had our 1st and 10 look at Western Kentucky, with the 10 things you need to know about the Hilltoppers. We also handed out our grades and gameballs after the 21-9 victory vs. FIU.
Other linkage…
Monday’s Daily Briefing: FAU players earn day off Sunday after winning Shula Bowl

There were plenty of happy faces streaming out of the Oxley Center on Sunday afternoon.

Players appeared to be in a good mood as they headed to their cars or dorm rooms a few hours earlier than usual.
Were they happy because there was no practice scheduled or relieved that FAU had just pulled off a surprising victory over FIU in the Shula Bowl?
Probably a little of both. After the victory Saturday players talked about using the game as a springboard for possible success down the stretch. But, the players also deserved the rare day of rest.
I think it may help this week as FAU will take practice field on Tuesday to prepare for WKU fresh off a victory for the first time since the first week of the season.
> Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
At FAUOwlAccess.com we had our follow-up story to Saturday's Shula Bowl victory after Howard Schnellenberger's weekly Sunday conference call.
Other linkage...
 

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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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