After last season’s successful year that ended in a bowl win over Memphis, FAU and its crotchety head coach, Howard Schnellenberger, appeared to be heading for a breakout season in 2008.
No such luck.
The Owls are now 1-4 with their next game against Troy, who always puts out a quality team.
For FAU, it’s not really so much that their record is bad (even though it is)—it’s the way they’ve lost their games.
Last year, FAU supporters were quick to predict either close games or upsets to the BCS schools on this year’s schedule.
So far, FAU has been rolled. Texas beat them up 52-10. Michigan State blanked them 17-0. Minnesota clobbered them 37-3. The Owls’ sole win is over lowly UAB.
FAU’s most recent loss, however, has to hurt the most.
Playing at Middle Tennessee (on yet another “Blackout” night), FAU dominated the Blue Raiders for 50 minutes. Eventually, though, FAU’s four turnovers hurt them, and Middle Tennessee rallied for a come-from-behind victory, complete with a Hail Mary to the house with no time remaining.
Now a 1-5 start is a real possibility, especially considering that Troy took care of business in their game against Middle Tennessee, going up 24-3 to start the fourth quarter before winning 31-17.
Of course, using the transitive property never works in college football, but clearly Troy is a very good team, as they regularly give scares to BCS conference teams. It will be no easy task for an unsure FAU team to beat the Trojans, although getting them at home should help.
If FAU should lose to Troy, that would drop them to 0-2 in the conference—square in the cellar of the Sun Belt, for all you alliteration fans out there.
Meanwhile, it does not appear that the rest of the Sun Belt teams have any plans of slowing down.
Middle Tennessee sprang an upset on Maryland. Arkansas State upset Texas A&M and nearly pulled off an upset of Southern Miss (they were knotted up at 17 at the beginning of the fourth quarter).
Florida International played USF closely and then pasted Toledo. Louisiana-Monroe was a few seconds from beating Arkansas, and Troy played with Ohio State, going down 28-10.
Coach Schnellenberger had some big words about his team after last season, but if he doesn’t get things turned around next Tuesday against Troy, a bowl game would be out of the question.
More importantly, the rest of the Sun Belt might leave FAU behind.