CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The burning issues this week in Conference USA:
Let's put it this way: The Panthers were dunked a week ago, yielding 311 rushing yards in a 34-13 setback. They fell behind 14-7 at the half and then were manhandled after the intermission.
To add insult, Jake Medlock ended a drive by throwing an interception at the 8-yard line and watched it get returned 92 yards for a touchdown. That made it 34-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Who was FIU struggling against: Florida State? No.
Crosstown foe Miami? No.
Central or South Florida? No.
It was the FCS school located in Daytona Beach. It was Bethune-Cookman.
Surely, you jest, right?
Nope. The Wildcats are favored to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, but that league doesn't exactly scare the bejeebers out of major-college foes. B-C won its first such game and probably doesn't care how many dozens it will lose by today at Florida State.
As for FIU, its rocks have just about hit bottom. Georgia State is nowhere to be found on its schedule - it's No. 7 Louisville today, then an off week, then its first tour of Conference USA.
It's the worst-case scenario for coach Ron Turner, who took over after the roundly panned firing of Mario Cristobal, the coach who had raised the Panthers out of an 0-12 morass in 2006 to bowl appearances in 2010 and 2011.
This brutal start, with includes a 43-10 beatdown at Maryland (40-10 at halftime) and a 38-0 skunking against UCF, comes amid a radical youth movement.