It’s been 44 days since FAU has won a football game. I did not expect FAU to be into such a state three years into the Charlie Partridge era, yet here we are.
The Owls have lost 6 in a row, their longest losing streak since losing 8 in a row last season (five games to close the 2014-2015 season and the first three games of last year).
No one expected FAU would go this long without a win this season and Owl fans will have to wait at least one more week to see if Partridge and the FAU Owls will find a way to win another with the team on a bye week.
At 1-6 with five games left in the season the fan base is demoralized. Talks of a bowl game have been hushed since the home loss to Ball State. Dreams of bragging rights over FIU were dashed in Miami. Signs of a turnaround were dispelled when FAU needed a Hail Marry to beat Charlotte (one they got, but I digress).
For the third straight year the FAU football program has failed to meet expectations. So where do we go from here? What can we find as a glimmer of hope?
FAU has five game left in the season. Let’s look at each game and try to determine what would result in a “successful” finish to the season for the Owls.
Oct. 29 vs Western Kentucky
What should we expect: The Hilltoppers will enter this game after playing a pivotal conference game against Old Dominion with an inside track for the C-USA East division on the line. With one of the most dynamic offenses in the country and the brightest minds in college football as the head coach in Jeff Brohm, an upset seems unlikely.
The Tops are averaging 37.6 points per game and feature a balanced attack as WKU is capable of beating FAU on the ground or through the air. WKU’s defense is nothing to brag about so FAU will have opportunities to score but the Owls are going to have to win a shootout.
What is “success”: Not getting blown out at home. WKU has no room for error down the stretch if they are to repeat as C-USA East champs and will enter this game focused on taking care of business. Partridge’s best win came against Brohm’s squad two years ago but that was with an FAU team capable of winning shootouts. Two years later the Tops are still that well-oiled scoring machine but FAU is no longer capable of going point for point with WKU now. In front of what could be a decent crowd, a blowout would be devastating.
Nov. 5 at Rice
What should we expect: Rice is the worst team in C-USA and one of the worst teams in the FBS. The stadium will be empty, a game will be played, and because technology is great we will know who won the game.
FAU is the more talented team, but that didn’t help against Ball State, Charlotte and Southern Illinois. A close game down the stretch is a likely outcome because the Owls have yet to win decisively on the road under Partridge. This is your de-facto loser goes home game as David Bailiff is also on the hot seat.
What is “success”: Charlotte was a bad loss and inexcusable, but this would be the worst loss of the season. I don’t care how much the players like him, anything short of a win here should definitely be curtains for the Partridge era at FAU.
Nov. 12 vs UTEP
What should we expect: A frustrating affair as everyone in the stadium will know Aaron Jones is going to get the ball and FAU won’t be able to stop him. UTEP is an awful team but they have one of the best running back in the country. It’s a home game for FAU and the Owls should come away with a win.
What is “success”: A blowout is on the table and would be a welcome surprise but I’ll take a win by any margin here. UTEP fans are dealing with their own tailspin as they are currently on a 5 game losing streak under Sean Kugler who used to be a favorite among UTEP fans. The Miners are very one-dimensional on offense and are bad on defense. Stop Aaron Jones and FAU will be fine.
Nov. 19 vs Old Dominion
What should we expect: The Monarchs have quietly risen atop C-USA this season and at this point they could be either playing for the division or a bowl game. ODU is a disciplined, run-heavy team. With it being Senior Day, FAU fans should get ready for a close game and their hearts to be ripped out again.
What is “success”: It’s at home so a win to send the seniors out on a good note would be great but ODU is pretty good. I’m not expecting a win and would be just fine with a good showing.
Nov. 26 at Middle Tennessee
What should we expect: The Owls haven’t won a road game against a team who finished with a winning record since 2012 when they defeated WKU. FAU has lost 8 straight to the Blue Raiders.
This is MTSU’s best team since joining C-USA and the Blue Raiders could be playing for a shot to win C-USA East. MTSU’s star receiver and Florida native Richie James burned FAU a few times last year and I expect Brent Stockstill to feed him the ball for a similar performance. Do I expect a win here? Nope.
What is “success”: Similar to WKU, just don’t get embarrassed.
Better win: Rice and UTEP
Could win, but a nice showing would suffice: Old Dominion
Please don’t get embarrassed: WKU and MTSU
You’ve read correctly FAU fans as I’ve determined that “success” for the second-half of the season will result in the Owls finishing 3-9 for the third straight year under Charlie Partridge.
The bar for success at FAU has gone from contend for a bowl bid to just hoping FAU can win three games again. The coaching staff and others will spin a 3-2 finish as positive signs for next year and all I can say to that is find a way to endure Owl fans. Find a way.