College Football Previews
|College Football Preview Podcast||Independents|
|Big 12||PAC 12|
|Big Ten||Sun Belt|
I must admit I hate the fact these teams are independent. Notre Dame should be in the ACC or Big 10. BYU should be in the Big 12, Mountain West or even the PAC 12. Army and UMASS should be in the American, MAC or Conference USA but instead we are stuck with this. Notre Dame & BYU schedule good enough to crash the college football playoffs but I still don’t think it will happen.
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
The seat can’t be any hotter than it is for head coach Brian Kelly who can’t afford another losing season in South Bend. I think the fighting Irish should make a bowl game this year but the ultimate question remains is whether or not that will be enough to salvage his job? The new QB under center is Brandon Wimbush who should pick up where DeShone Kizer left off. The schedule is always challenging with home games vs Temple, Georgia, Miami (OH), USC, Wake Forest & Navy.
Every single one of those teams went bowling last year but still you would think ND should be heavy favorites vs Temple, Miami (OH), Wake & Navy. I’m going to say 5-1 or 4-2 at home but Navy always seems to give the Irish a good run. On the road the Irish get games at Boston College, Michigan State, North Carolina, Miami (FL) & Stanford. ND should be favored in the BC and MSU game but MSU always plays up for Notre Dame it seems. The UNC game is a toss up, in fact I think I would favor the Irish at the moment but the others should be losses. I see a 7-5 or 8-4 season coming there way and maybe if the chips fall just right a 9-3 season. The question will be, is that enough to keep Kelly at head coach?
Kalani Sitake had a pretty damn good first season as head coach of the Cougars. When you actually break down their schedule from last season all of the Cougars losses were by less than 3 and the schedule was brutal.That is the reason why I’m so high on BYU this year. Normally a team learns from all those close losses and capitalizes on them. Quarterback Tanner Mangum is back under center and when healthy Mangum is a big factor. The schedule is almost as crazy as last years schedule.
The home games are vs Portland State, Utah, Wisconsin, Boise State, San Jose State & Umass. I’m thinking 5-1 here but I wouldn’t be shocked if BYU upset Wisconsin at all. The Cougars have a neutral site game in week 1 vs LSU in Houston. Yet another game I wouldn’t be surprised if they won but wouldn’t favor them. So lets say 5-2 there. Then comes the road games at Utah State, Mississippi State, East Carolina, Fresno State, UNLV, & Hawaii. They should be favored in all of them except maybe the Miss State game. I got them going undefeated on the road if they get past Miss State. So lets say 10-3 or 11-2 for the Cougars this season. Somebody tell LSU to watch out.
ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS
Head coach Jeff Monken finally broke through with a fantastic 8-5 season last year. The first time I can ever remember all three service academies in bowl games. They did it with a lethal option attack and solid defense. Army very well should be bowling again since they return senior QB playmaker Ahmad Bradshaw.
The home games are vs Fordham, Buffalo, UTEP, Eastern Michigan, Temple & Duke. Now I’m not saying they win all of those but those are all winnable games for the Black Knights. I’m going to say they go 3-3 or 4-2 in those. On the road they have matchups at Ohio State, Tulane, Rice, Air Force & North Texas before the neutral site game vs Navy. I’m thinking 6-6 for the Black Knights and another bowl game.
Look, I know UMASS went 2-10 last year but if you followed them you saw some real things to get excited about despite the outcome. The Minutemen were in the Florida game up until the 4th quarter. Then they played Mississippi State and South Carolina tough only to lose those as well. This year they return 15 of their 22 starters from last season and former Virginia Tech transfer QB Andrew Ford has some talent.
Now can they put it all together and perhaps make a bowl game? The home games are against Hawaii, Old Dominion, Ohio, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, & Maine. I could see the Minutemen going 3-3 here but Georgia Southern & Hawaii are decent teams they need not overlook. On the road they get matchups at Coastal Carolina, Temple, Tennessee, South Florida, Mississippi State & BYU. I’m thinking they go 1-5 in those but maybe they can upset Temple. It’s not a bowl season but I think they should be happy with a 4-8 or 5-7 campaign.