Thursday, at Central Florida, 6 p.m.
The Knights weren’t very good last season (6-7), but they had enough to rout FIU 53-14. UCF should be better this year, returning its quarterback, its leading rusher and eight of its top nine receivers. Prediction: UCF 41, FIU 20.
Saturday, Sept. 9: vs. Alcorn State, TBA.
Alcorn State (5-6) has played in the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game for three years in a row, but this should be coach Butch Davis’ first win with the Panthers. Prediction: FIU 35, Alcorn State 7.
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Saturday, Sept. 16: at Indiana,
The Hoosiers won 34-13 at FIU last year en route to a 6-7 record. This year, the Hoosiers’ passing game will pose problems for FIU, including senior quarterback Richard Lagow and All-Big Ten receiver Simmie Cobbs, a 6-4, 220-pounder. Prediction: Indiana 45, FIU 17.
Saturday, Sept. 23: at Rice, 7:30 p.m.
The Owls, just 3-9 last year, enter the fall with an unsettled situation at quarterback and will likely rely on a strong offensive line and running game. This is FIU’s Conference USA opener. Prediction: FIU 28, Rice 24.
Saturday, Sept. 30: vs. Charlotte,
League play continues. The 49ers lost 27-26 at FIU last year en route to a 4-8 record. The 49ers are in just their fifth year as a program and third at the FBS level. They are building with junior dual-threat quarterback Hasaan Klugh. Prediction: FIU 24, Charlotte 23.
Saturday, Oct. 7: at Middle Tennessee, 3 p.m.
The Blue Raiders are a league favorite after finishing 8-5 last season and qualifying for a bowl. Junior QB Brent Stockstill — the coach’s son — is one of C-USA’s top two passers. Prediction: Middle Tennessee 38, FIU 10.
Saturday, Oct. 14: vs. Tulane, 7 p.m.
The Green Wave, 4-8 last year, will rely on quarterback Jonathan Banks, a junior college transfer who played well in the spring, showing passing accuracy and running ability. Prediction: FIU 24, Tulane 21.
Saturday, Oct. 28: at Marshall, 2:30 p.m.
Back to league play. The Thundering Herd, 3-9 last season, including a loss to FIU, returns standout junior quarterback Chase Litton. Former Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Tyre Brady might be his top target. Prediction: Marshall 31, FIU 30.
Saturday, Nov. 4: vs. Texas San Antonio, 7 p.m.
The Roadrunners (6-6) are a mid-pack team in C-USA. Their key player is senior quarterback Dalton Sturm, a third-year starter. Prediction: FIU 30, UTSA 24.
Saturday, Nov. 11: vs. Old Dominion, 7 p.m.
The Monarchs, 10-3 last year including a bowl win, might have the best pass rush in the league. The Monarchs beat FIU 42-28 last year and return star running back Ray Lawry. Prediction: Old Dominion 20, FIU 17.
Saturday, Nov. 18: at Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m.
The Owls, FIU’s biggest overall and league rival, finished 3-9 last year. New coach Lane Kiffin will try to fix what was the worst defense in the league last season. Prediction: FIU 34, FAU 31.
Saturday, Nov. 24: vs. Western Kentucky, 7 p.m.
Former Broward County prep star Mike White is considered the top quarterback in the league. The Hilltoppers, 11-3 last year, including a bowl win, are the reigning C-USA champs. Prediction: Western Kentucky 35, FIU 10.