BOCA RATON ·
After receiving his waiver from the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility, Thomas
Parker is the lone Florida Atlantic player to have been on the team since its
first game in 2001.
And Parker sees some similarities between this season and FAU's
That was when Parker, a wide
receiver, was a redshirt freshman, one of 62
freshmen on the team. This year FAU has 50 freshmen going into Saturday's
opener at Kansas.
"I can take a leadership role. I can tell them what to expect. Playing Kansas is a big step
up," Parker said Tuesday before practice. "That Slippery Rock game
seems like a long time ago."
FAU lost to Slippery Rock 40-7 in its inaugural game.
But Parker sees more similarities to 2002, when FAU, then a
I-AA team, played many of that division's top teams and two I-A teams,
including the opener at South Florida, which
the Bulls won 51-10.
FAU went on to a 2-9 record but the next year finished 11-3, making it to the
With its move up to Division I-A, FAU can be ranked in the national
polls. And the Owls made their debut -- as No. 3 on ESPN.com's
FAU was lumped in with Florida International, behind No. 1 Central Florida,
which has lost 15 straight games, and No. 2 Buffalo.