Shula Bowl is only bowl for FAU, FIU
BOCA RATON – In recent years, the Florida Atlantic-Florida International game has often been an important one in the Sun Belt Conference race or determining bowl eligibility for at least one of the teams.
Not this year.
The final Shula Bowl will feature two teams trying to stay out of the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference standings.
FAU, in a rebuilding season under first-year coach Carl Pelini, is in eighth place with a 2-4 conference record which is ahead of the 9th place prediction in the preseason poll.
FIU has a 1-5 league record and is in ninth place, after being selected as a pre-season favorite to win the conference.
However, FIU has been involved in some close games this season, including a 28-21 loss to Louisville earlier this season. The Panthers' last three losses have been by a combined 13 points.
“This is one of those years where almost every single one of their conference games came down to the last play,” Pelini said. “Some years you get those plays and some years you don't. You aren't looking at a team that is losing by a considerable amount.”
A year after making an appearance in the Beef O' Brady's Bowl, the Panthers are 2-8 overall with victories over Akron and South Alabama.
“They've got to be the best team in the nation with that record,” Pelini said. “They've just got to be.”