The Panthers went 8-5 in Davis’ debut last year but fell 28-3 to Temple in the Gasparilla Bowl. FIU followed up that strong 2017 campaign with another eight-win regular season, including a victory over C-USA East Division champ MTSU (24-21). When the Panthers knock Toledo on Dec. 21, the program could exceed eight victories for the first time in school history. And with the job Davis is doing on the recruitment path, FIU is poised to become an yearly factor in C-USA’s East Division. Toledo and FIU have three preceding meetings. The Panthers hold a 2-1 series advantage in these games. These two programs met from the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, with FIU winning a 34-32 thriller. Jason Candle continued to cement his place as a rising star in the coaching ranks by guiding Toledo into a 7-5 finish in the regular season.
The Rockets won the MAC title last fall but opened the year with different employees voids to deal with, such as at Orientation with the departure of Logan Woodside. Candle’s team started 3-4, but the four defeats came at the hands of Miami, Fresno State, Buffalo and Eastern Michigan — all bowl groups. Toledo closed by winning four out of its last five matchups, with its only loss coming to Northern Illinois (38-15) on Nov. 7. Despite dropping Woodside, the Rockets have maintained a high-powered attack.
Candle’s offense averaged 41.1 points a game and 6.2 yards a snap at the regular season. The only Real Bowl game played out of the United States takes place on Friday, as Toledo and FIU meet in Nassau for the Bahamas Bowl. The pairing between the Panthers and Rockets is your fifth matchup inside this bowl’s history, but this game has offered some memorable and intriguing games since its inception in 2014. Additionally, some convention bragging rights will also be online. Over this bowl initial four matchups, Conference USA and the MAC have split the games at two victories apiece.
Kickoff: Friday, Dec. 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Toledo -6