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2014 Independents
College Football
Season Preview


Please note: Our conference reports analyze what the Congrove Computer Rankings preseason forecast predicts. Team power ratings change weekly during the season to reflect the actual results of the games. For projecting results, 3 points are added to the home team.

During the 2013 season, from beginning to end, including bowl games:
Overall, 4 teams gained 10 or more "power points". Florida State led the gainers at 18.24, followed by Auburn at 16.02. (The previous season, Auburn fell the second-most at 14.14 points.)
Among current independent teams, Navy gained the most at 4.93.
Overall, 14 teams gained 5.00 - 9.99 points.
Overall, 40 teams gained less than 5 points.
Overall, 42 teams fell less than 5 points.
Overall, 16 teams fell 5.00-9.99 points.
Overall, 9 teams fell 10 power points or more. Tulsa fell the most at 15.67, followed by Purdue at 14.64.
Among current independent teams, Notre Dame fell the most at 7.43.
Overall, the average change of teams in 2013 was a loss of 0.52 points.
Among current independent teams, the average change in 2013 was a loss of 1.55 points.

2014 Conference Preview
2014 PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH
Independents
  Team Over-All
W-L
Nat'l
Rank
Power
Rating
Sched.
Rank
1. Notre Dame 10-2 16 82.52 1
2. Navy 10-2 25 75.79 91
3. BYU 10-2 26 75.40 83
4. Army 4-8 85 59.66 105
Tie-breaker: No official tie-breaker exists so determined here by ranking

Preview

Idaho and New Mexico State are off to the Sun Belt after spending just one season as a major independent. The Vandals and Aggies were refugees from the WAC which dropped football after the 2012 season due to realignment attrition. Their departure reduces the number of independent programs back to four.

Notre Dame joins the ACC in all sports except football, but the school did agree to play five football games each season against ACC teams. However, due to previous scheduling commitments, that number was reduced to 4 games this season, followed by 6 games in 2015 and then 5 each year beginning with 2016. On The Irish' slate for 2014 are visits to Syracuse (Sept. 27) and Florida State (Oct. 18), and home games vs. North Carolina (Oct. 11) and Louisville (Nov. 22).

The computer says Notre Dame will finish 10-2, but will have to navigate the toughest schedule of all 128 FBS teams. The forecast is highlighted by home wins over Michigan and Stanford, with the only blemishes coming in road trips to Florida State and USC.

BYU and Navy are also picked to go 10-2, but with much easier schedules. The Cougars' slate ranks 83rd while the Midshipmen schedule ranks 91st.

Army replaces head coach Rich Ellerson with with Jeff Monken. Monken was plucked from Georgia Southern where he was 38-16 in 4 seasons at the FCS level. Georgia Southern moves to the FBS this season as a member of the Sun Belt.

Ironically, Jeff was a Navy assistant from 1997-2005 where he coached running backs and special teams from 1997-2005. His cousin, Todd Monken, is the head coach at Southern Miss.

The Black Knights fired Ellerson on December 15 after posting a 20-41 record in 5 seasons, including an 0-5 mark versus Navy. Only 16 of the wins came against FBS schools and one of the losses came against FCS member Stony Brook (2012). The Black Knights have only posted one winning season since 1996 and that was a 7-6 mark in 2010 in Ellerson's second season. That campaign ended with a 16-14 win over SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl which stands as the United States Military Academy's only bowl victory since 1985.

Army will bring up the rear of the independent ranks, but will be competitive. The 4-8 projection includes expected losses by a touchdown or less to Wake Forest, Rice and Kent State.



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