The biggest difference between the 2016 FIU football schedule, released Thursday afternoon, and the 2015 schedule will be most appreciated inside R. Kirk Landon Fieldhouse rather than the stands at FIU Stadium.
There’s a bye week.
Otherwise, there’s only one change in opponent: FCS schedule-filling victim North Carolina Central gone and the Big Ten’s Maryland back on after two years off, as the schools complete their two-game agreement. The remaining 11 games feature the same teams in different places, geographically and chronologically.
FIU opens with four non-conference games, three at FIU Stadium: at home against Indiana, a game moved to Sept. 1 from Sept. 3, thus getting it away from the Hurricanes season opener at home against Florida A&M; Maryland, Sept. 10; goes to UMass again, Sept. 17; and hosts Central Florida Sept. 24.
The Panthers face the same eight Conference USA opponents with the home/road teams flip-flopped. Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech (Oct. 22), Middle Tennessee State (Oct. 29) and Marshall (Nov. 19) come to FIU Stadium. The conference season starts Oct. 1 with the Shula Bowl against FAU.
The Panthers go to UTEP (Oct. 8), Charlotte (Oct. 15), Western Kentucky (Nov. 5) and end the regular season Nov. 26 at Old Dominion.
Two weeks before that, FIU gets the bye week it didn’t have during an injury-heavy 2015. Technically, last year’s schedule did contain an open week. In practice, it didn’t — the open week was the last week of the Conference USA regular season. The only other school to play 12 consecutive games, North Texas, began with an open week, then lost its first seven games on the way to 1-11.
2016 FIU FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 1: INDIANA
Sept. 10: MARYLAND
Sept. 17: @UMass
Sept. 24: CENTRAL FLORIDA
Oct. 1: FLORIDA ATLANTIC
Oct. 8: @Texas-El Paso
Oct. 15: @ Charlotte
Oct. 22: LOUISIANA TECH
Oct. 29: MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
Nov. 5: @Western Kentucky
Nov. 19: MARSHALL
Nov. 26: @Old Dominion
Home games in CAPS