After analyzing FIU's offense and defense, it is more than obvious who is the better team between us and them. We outclass them at every position, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and are more experienced. This will be the first game of the season; the first chance for our Jayhawks to prove that last season was, in fact, not a fluke. It will be at home, a place where we have always played well under Mark Mangino, and where the closest game last season was a 45-17 Senior Day beatdown of the overmatched Iowa State Cyclones. So, no, I don't think that the game will be particularly close.
I do, however, think that the Florida International Golden Panthers will be a much better team than they were last season. Much. Better. Maybe I am getting too excited over a team that went 1-11 last season, but I think that it is certainly possible for them to creep towards six wins. They have little-to-no chance in their first two games here in Lawrence and up in Iowa City, but they should at least be in the game for their last 10 games.
In summation, I expect the game to start out fairly close. We will be breaking in two new offensive tackles, so we will probably struggle in the first quarter to mesh as a unit. The two new offensive tackles are reasons #1 and #2 why we weren't willing to move the South Florida game up to the first week of the year, and we will use the first two games to break in both Jeff Spikes and whoever ends up starting on the right side, likely Ian Wolfe or Matt Darton. However, I expect our D to completely dominate the FIU offense, and force a mistake or two, especially if it is turnover-prone Wayne Younger lining up behind center. Eventually, the large talent gap will shine through, and we should be able to pull away throughout the second half, finally closing with a substantial opening-week victory. I'll go 56-14 as the final score.
So, this isn't much of a wrap-up post. The game is not going to be close, and everyone knew that coming in, so this little FIU Week didn't solve a whole lot of stuff. Plus, FIU Week was a shortened unit because of my mid-week absence, other 'Weeks' will be much more insighftul, informative, etc.
Hopefully, I can finish QB Week tomorrow before moving on to the RBs...