September 5, 2007

Who gives a hoot?

What's the biggest difference between Oklahoma State and Florida Atlantic so far in 2007?

The Owls already have a win under their belts.

Granted, FAU's win came at the expense of Middle Tennessee State, but a win's a win. This is the first season-opening win since the Owls defeated Hawaii to start off the 2004 season, when they defeated the Warriors 35-28 in overtime in Honolulu. FAU went 9-3 that season, their final year in Division I-AA. After a 2-9 finish in 2005, the Owls went 5-7 last season, including a 48-8 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

The Owls make a return trip to Stillwater this weekend, as Howard Schnellenberger comes back to the state of Oklahoma for the second time since his infamous year with the Oklahoma Sooners in 1995. Now overseeing the building of an entire program (which he started from scratch in 1998), the Colonel believes his program is at a point where it can compete for the Sun Belt Conference championship and go to the New Orleans Bowl, the only bowl tie-in for that conference. This program has had success before, going 11-3 and making the Div. I-AA Semifinals in 2003. He said he hopes that playing BCS-level competition like OSU will help the FAU program grow competitively. And while it's a longshot, finding a way to win at Boone Pickens Stadium would help achieve that goal.

Boca Raton, Fla., about 50 miles north of downtown Miami.
2006 record: 5-7 overall, 4-3 Sun Belt Conference
Record so far this season: 1-0 (1-0)
Last game: Win, 27-14 over Middle Tennessee State last weekend.
Top returning player: The answer would have likely been Frantz Simeon, but he was suspended for the entire season due to academic issues. The wide receiver racked up 35 receptions for 590 yards and one touchdown last season. Rusty Smith will have to do, as the quarterback threw for 1,285 yards and six touchdowns in 2006. Against the Blue Raiders, he went 12-of-26 for 195 yards and two scores.

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