College FIU Panthers Top News

FIU Receives Invite To Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

Tying the program record for wins in a season (8) for the second-straight year has its perks.

Not only will FIU be making its fourth-ever appearance in a bowl game, but the Golden Panthers will also need to dust off their passports since they’ve been invited to play in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl on December 21 at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

FIU (8-4) will take on Mid-American Conference member Toledo in a game that will be televised by ESPN and is set to kickoff at 12:30 p.m. ET. The game will also be broadcast on the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl Radio Network.

The early invitation allows both FIU and Toledo additional time to prepare to play in an international destination, including obtaining passports for those who still need them to travel to the Bahamas as well as giving extra time for fans to make their travel plans to Nassau for bowl week.

The 2018 Bahamas Bowl will be the fourth all-time meeting between FIU and Toledo. The Golden Panthers lead the series 2-1 since they won the last meeting between the two – a 34-32 victory over the Rockets in the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl series between Conference USA and the MAC is tied 2-2.

Naturally, earning an invitation to a bowl game with more resonance is the ultimate goal for every team. However, getting a trip to one of the premier vacation destinations in the world after an arduous season is its own reward for the Golden Panther players and coaches.

“We are excited to accept a bid to the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl,” Executive Director of Sports Entertainment Pete Garcia said. “We are looking forward to our team participating in this prestigious bowl. The bowl game allows us to recognize our football team for their hard work and successful season. We look forward to seeing Panther Nation in Nassau, Bahamas.”

Going to the Bahamas will be nice, but FIU had its eyes set on possibly playing in its first Conference USA title game when it hosted conference foe Marshall this past Saturday (Nov. 24). The Golden Panthers were in control of their own destiny when the day began, needing a victory over Marshall to clinch a spot in the C-USA championship. Unfortunately, the Golden Panthers dug themselves into an early hole and couldn’t rally all the way back despite a feverish fourth-quarter push and fell 28-25 to the Thundering Herd.

FIU’s hopes were completely dashed when Middle Tennessee defeated UAB later Saturday – since a Blazers win would’ve put the Golden Panthers in the conference title game – instead Middle Tennessee and UAB will play again next week for the Conference USA championship.

Florida International’s Bahamas Bowl invite is its fourth in school history. The first two came in 2010 and 2011 under Mario Cristobal and the most recent two including last year’s Gasparilla Bowl and this year’s Bahamas Bowl invitation under head coach Butch Davis.

“We’re thrilled for our team to play in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl – which is our second-consecutive bowl game – and get a chance to enjoy the Bahamian culture,” Davis said. “The Atlantis resort is one of the best facilities in the world and we’re excited to enjoy their hospitality. Toledo is a very good football program and our kids are excited for the challenge. Hopefully, this provides our team with an opportunity to cap the season on a high note.”

Tickets to the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl can be purchased through the FIU ticket office or online at FIUSports.com. A reminder that all U.S. citizens who wish to attend the game must have a valid U.S. Passport to enter the Bahamas.

J.T. Wilcox
J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" blog and "The Baldcast" podcast.

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