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The Hot Seat: It’s Southern Miss’s chance for a win

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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If Ron Turner's FIU can't beat Southern Miss, who can it beat? (USA Today Sports Images)

Welcome to The Hot Seat, where each week we will preview a game that could make a coach's season or maybe end his tenure. This week, it's the matchup that everyone is talking about: Florida International at Southern Mississippi.

Larry Fedora left Southern Miss after the 2011 season. The Golden Eagles have won zero games since then.

That's a 16 game losing streak, the longest in FBS. Yet the Eagles are 17 point favorites against Florida International. We repeat, 17 point favorites. That's one more point than consecutive losses.

Without a doubt, this is the Golden Eagles' best chance to end the losing streak this season. Why are they favored by so much? Well, Florida International is the team that agreed to a running clock at the end of its game against Louisville, and has been outscored 187-23. It's the most futile matchup in recent college football memory. The loser of this game will likely go winless.

It gets even more futile. 0-4 FIU's closest loss so far is 21 points. To Bethune-Cookman, an FCS school in Daytona Beach.

After last year's 0-12 disaster, Southern Miss coach Ellis Johnson was fired and Todd Monken, the former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, was hired. Monken may have a longer leash than Johnson did -- three of Southern Miss's first four games were against Nebraska, Arkansas and Boise State -- a loss to a 17 point underdog to send the losing streak to 17 could be crippling.

For Ron Turner and Florida International a loss would be a continuation of the wretchedness of the season. The Panthers are last in points for and against. The former Illinois coach replaced the fired Mario Cristobal and may be looking at a Johnson-type tenure at FIU if the offense keeps generating 150 yards a game.

If you're wondering, Cristobal was fired after FIU went 8-14 in his last 22 games and athletic director Pete Garcia said he felt the team went backwards. That's been hyperspeed in 2013. If FIU can't keep it close on Saturday, who can they keep it close against?

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