From the Other Sideline (Summer Ed.) – Florida Atlantic

t_The_Joey_Brander_Show-1367767779You may remember from my ESPYs trip a few years back, that I was posted on the red carpet next to Joey Brander, a 15 year old sports broadcaster/journalist that runs www.gbsnsports.com. The following Fall, I had him on the Other Sideline for the Florida Atlantic game because he said he was a fan of the Owls and had covered them for years.

Well now Joey is all grown up, and at 17 is an award-winning sports broadcaster/journalist. In September 2012, he became the youngest ESPN Radio host in the country, hosting his own show (The Joey Brander Show) on ESPN Radio in South Florida. He has previously worked for CBS and Radio Disney. Follow him on Twitter: @JoeyBrander.

1. I don’t think FAU fans think of Auburn all that often, but if they did, what would be their first thoughts on Auburn football right now?

Owl fans certainly respect Auburn’s past successes, especially their recent national championship. However, most view Auburn as a program rebuilding after Cam Newton. With that said, Auburn is in the SEC, which speaks for itself. The conference garners respect from any team’s fan base.

2. How has the offseason been? Any crazy arrests or autograph signing scandals?

Well no offense to our FAU Owls, but with the way the team has played in recent years I don’t think many people would want their autographs for free let alone paying them for it, so luckily they’re safe there. That doesn’t mean they have been spot-free of off the field issues, though. Former FAU quarterback and current Graduate Assistant Graham Wilbert was arrested for driving under the influence at the end of July.

3. I’ll be honest. I ain’t gotta clue what FAU has coming in to this year. Help?

Last season, FAU scored on just over 70% of their red zone trips. That was good for 114th in the nation. What I’m trying to say is their offense needed some major help. They come back this season having graduated their quarterback and three offensive line starters. The fate of the Owls largely falls on the shoulders of new quarterback Melvin German III (yes, I am calling him MG3), who has struggled with academic issues throughout his tenure at FAU. He has been named the starter, and brings big time dual-threat ability to the quarterback position for the Owls. If he can get the ball in the endzone, they can be competitive. If not…..well it will be another typical FAU football season of recent years.

4. Name two former Tigers and two current Tigers that scare you and why.

For past Tigers, the dominance of Cam Newton and Nick Fairley certainly can’t be ignored. On the current roster, Tre Mason and his sights on a 1500 yard season has my mind worried with visions of him running all over the FAU defense. With the PGA championship starting this week I have to give some love to Tiger Woods too. Ok, I know it doesn’t count, but still.

5. Do you see any advantages FAU may have over the Tigers coming in to this season?

FAU had a staunch pass defense last season, which may be able to exploit inconsistency at quarterback for Auburn.

6. It occurred to me a few years back that Florida Atlantic must really hate Auburn by the initials they use to abbreviate their name What’s up with that?

Although Auburn is technically AU, I don’t think FAU fans really associate the initials with Auburn. No harm meant there.

7. Still haven’t changed that fight song, huh? I thought we talked about this last time.

As much as I would like to be an FAU apologist, there’s no explaining that. I’m still working on getting Palm Beach County resident Vanilla Ice to work on a new one.

8. What’s your early score prediction for this year’s game?

As I said earlier, it depends greatly on the play of Melvin German III. If he shows signs of living up to his potential, the game could be much closer than people expect. Although I think Auburn will win, I’ll be optimistic and say the game will be within a touchdown.

9. Where will Auburn and FAU end up this season?

This will be FAU’s first season competing in Conference USA, a step up from the Sun Belt. It is also the second year under coach Carl Pelini. FAU exceeded expectations last season winning three games, and think they will do so again this year. While I don’t think a bowl game is in the horizons like Owl fans are hoping for, winning five games isn’t out of the question.

Auburn’s 2012 campaign was something to forget, but I think they will be much improved this season. With a relatively easy out of conference schedule, I think the Tigers will get back to a winning season.

10. Before retiring, did Schnellenberger give any hints to the whereabouts of the 1983 national championship trophy? Auburn is looking for it what is rightfully theirs.

Thankfully we’ll have a playoff in college football soon and we won’t have to have a debate like this again!