A game-by-game breakdown (with predictions) of the FIU Panthers’ 2014 football schedule:
Aug. 30: vs. Bethune-Cookman, 7 p.m.
The Wildcats return four offensive linemen, the running back and quarterback after trampling FIU for 311 rushing yards last year. FIU is new down the defensive middle. Bethune 34, FIU 31.
Sept. 6: vs. Wagner, 6 p.m.
Half of Hart to Hart went 3-7 vs. FCS teams in 2013. That’s why FIU is paying Wagner $265,000 to be a spanking sub. FIU 42, Wagner 14.
Sept. 13: v . Pitt, n oon, FS1
If FIU can shut down super sophomore wide receiver Tyler Boyd and pound on the ground. …we’re saying there’s a chance. Pitt 38, FIU 21.
Sept. 20: vs. Louisville, TBD, FS1 or FSN
Teddy Bridgewater has left, but Bobby Petrino has reassumed the head-coaching position. Petrino’s teams score. A lot. Louisville 45, FIU 24.
Sept. 27: @ Alabama-Birmingham, 3:30 p.m.
From this chair, UAB is undergoing the state’s biggest reconstruction since the 1870s. FIU 34, UAB 17.
Oct. 2: vs. FAU, 7 p.m., FSN
Both teams swear it’s a legitimate rivalry and they usually play like it. Even with the more recent coaching change, FAU’s farther along. FAU 27, FIU 20.
Oct. 11: @ Texas-San Antonio, 7 p.m.
From creation to C-USA contender in four years under Larry Coker. Too much experience to take FIU lightly. UTSA 31, FIU 10.
Oct. 18: vs. Marshall, 6 p.m., TBA
Last game in Miami for Rakeem Cato and Tommy Shuler. FIU will do well to keep The Herd under the speed limit. For the turnpike. Marshall 51, FIU 21.
Nov. 1: vs. Rice, n oon
FIU’s strengths match up well with the defending C-USA champs, which isn’t the team it was in 2013. Here’s that horse named “Upset.” FIU 24, Rice 21.
Nov. 8: @ Old Dominion, 3:30 p.m.
Don’t be fooled by this being ODU’s first full FBS season. The Monarchs spread ’em-and-score. Not sure FIU can keep up. ODU 42, FIU 34.
Nov. 15: vs. Middle Tennessee State, 3:30 p.m.
Old fashioned run-and-defense kind of team without Logan Kilgore, although they always seem to find big play guys. MTSU 23, FIU 17.
Nov. 22: @ North Texas, 3:30 p.m.
No certainty about The Mean Green’s skill positions or defensive front seven. Or, FIU’s. North Texas 17, FIU 16.