I am going to have to insert my “Owl eyes” for this one. Who saw this one coming?
Florida Atlantic University Owls head coach Lane Kiffin has done a fantastic job at FAU in his first year.
The sky is the limit now.
Kiffin’s first season at FAU delivered a Conference USA title for the first time, as the Owls defeated North Texas 41-17 for the league crown. The Owls have won nine wins in a row, are undefeated in C-USA play after a 1-3 start to the season.
Kiffin has utilized the same players who were under the old coaching staff, placing them in his current offensive system.
Devin Singletary had 26 carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns for the Owls. Jason Driskel completed 15 of 27 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown for FAU, and Kalib Woods had a school-record 208 receiving yards.
“I would love to play Alabama,” Kiffin said during his postgame press conference, “I’d feel sorry for our players, but I’d like it.”
The 10-win season matches Kiffin’s best as a head coach. He went 10-2 at USC in 2011. Moreover, he inherited a program that was coming off three consecutive 3-9 seasons.
Next stop for the Lane train, the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Florida.
Conference USA will be sending a record nine schools to play in bowl games this holiday season. C-USA Champion Florida Atlantic leads the nine teams, joined in the postseason by West Champion North Texas, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, UAB, and WKU.
The Owls will face MAC East Champion Akron Zips in the fourth annual game, which kicks off on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST on ESPN.
It is the third bowl appearance for FAU and the first since the 2008 Motor City Bowl. The Owls are 10-3 on the season, marking a win increase of seven games from last season, the second-largest improvement in the FBS.
Kiffin is a semifinalist for the 2017 George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year, which is presented by the Maxwell Football Club. The coach wearing the visor and his staff have built the number one recruiting class in C-USA.
Akron lost in the MAC championship game to Toledo 45-28 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score may indicate. The home field belongs to the Owls however the time window for preparation will be valuable for the Zips who have a high-powered offense awaiting them.