Florida International University's Golden Panthers may just be one of the best 0-3 teams in the nation. The Sun Belt dwellers have faced a swath of teams from the automatic qualifying conferences in their opening run, and in all three at one point held the lead. Now they face the University of Pittsburgh Panthers who looked damn near pathetic in their loss to that certain other Division 1-A college football team from Miami. Can FIU be the second South Florida team in as many weeks to put Pitt in the pit?
We, for better or worse, don't pay much attention to the Panthers 'round these parts. Maybe, just maybe, you're the same. So let's catch up together!
In their first game against the Big East's Rutgers they held a one point lead in the 3rd quarter before Rutgers ended up sealing the deal 19-14 in the 4th.&
Week 2 saw them take on the Big Twelve's currently undefeated Texas A&M. FIU tied the Aggies in the 2nd, and took a commanding two touchdown lead in the 3rd, only to see A&M go on a three TD unanswered scoring rampage in the 4th to end the game 27-20.
Last week, they took on the Hurricane's ACC colleagues Maryland. FIU again took the early lead in the first quarter, and despite being able to score seven points in each quarter took their biggest loss of the season to the Terps in a 42-28 game.
At the very least FIU can compete with these AQ conference teams, but are they due for a win? Before heading off into Sun Belt play, their game this weekend at Pitt will be their last chance to score a win over one of the big six conference teams. Frankly, there are few teams in those conferences that are looking as sad as those not-so-Golden Panthers right now.
Pitt barely held it together in their 31-3 loss to the Hurricanes last Thursday, and hosting FIU at least gives them a chance to score a win over a team from Miami at home and rebuild their confidence.
In the panther-on-panther brawl, the Goldens enter, of course, as underdogs.
ESPN blogger Andrea Adelson gives FIU a 10 percent chance of winning, but says it'll be a close game.
Capper's Pick gives the game to Pitt, but still says FIU will cover the 20 point spread.
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Besides that we can't find many other predictions on the game considering it's not exactly a marquee match up.
FIU coming out on top here would still be surprising, but it's perhaps their best chance ever to beat an AQ conference team. Something they've never done before.
Of course, as Hurricanes diehards we're not sure we'd be celebrating if FIU comes along and dismantles Pitt too, considering that's our biggest win this season (and those BCS computers wouldn't look to fondly on it). Then again, UM has another big cat to worry about Saturday and by that time the Pitt game will be a distant memory.
Kickoff is at 3:30 on Saturday. The game won't be on TV, but you can catch it online on ESPN3.