Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Shula Bowl II

It’s not Miami vs. Florida State, but in football, FAU vs. FIU is being touted as the game of the year for both teams.

The annual matchup between two teams separated by two counties is back this weekend for the second go-round and FAU is looking to keep the trophy for another year.

Actually, keeping the trophy should not be that hard, as FAU is 7-2 on the season and ranked 15th in the nation, while FIU is 2-8 with only this game to look forward to.

FAU currently has bragging rights in the series, winning last year 31-21. FIU leads in games between the universities this year thus far with a 1-0-1 record. FIU’s volleyball team beat FAU and the men’s soccer teams tied.

The neat thing about this rivalry is that it’s self-made. Before the teams even met on the gridiron, officials from both schools were promoting this as the game of the year.

Last year FAU had pep rallies, and did everything they could to promote the game as the year’s biggest. That’s not hard to understand, because last year FAU was the team with the bad record of 1-9.

This year will be different.

Yes, the game will mean a lot for both sides, because bragging rights will be on the line. More important, with a win, FAU will all but guarantee itself a spot in the field of sixteen for the Division I-AA playoffs.

It will be interesting if FIU can muster up enough emotion to want to be the team that makes FAU miss the playoffs.

Every year Miami plays FSU and FSU plays Florida. In those games records do not matter because both teams want to win so bad. To be the team that ruins the other’s season is more important to these schools than anything else in the season.

Miami prides itself on the fact that no other state school has won a National Championship after losing to the Hurricanes.

This could be the motivation that FIU carries into this game. If only for one day, the Golden Panthers could make everything work exactly the way they planned, and the season will end positively. Conversely for FAU, this is the only game for which losing cannot be an option.

For FIU, to stop the wonderful things FAU has done all season will be bigger than FAU going 9-3 in their third year.

Before the season started, the Owls were not expected to make the playoffs. If they come this close and let the Panthers knock them out of the race, all the improvement that has been made during the season won’t matter.

Expect that Coach Schnellenberger will have his boys ready for a street fight. Also expect Coach Strock to do the same. Both of these coaches know each other well from their days with the Miami Dolphins, so neither should be surprised by the other.

So it doesn’t matter, 8-1 or 2-9, FAU versus FIU will be one for the ages. The Panthers hopefully will fill the FIU stadium with dreams of ruining the Owls season.

The question is – where will you be?

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