- Our Season Preview of Independents

August 31, 2022 by Staff

The Irish begin their season, and the head coaching career of Marcus Freeman, at Ohio State. Get past that game, and Notre Dame could find its way to an 11-game winning streak to end the season and a chance to land a spot in the Final Four.

Obviously, it's difficult to predict how a team is going to do under a new head coach, and it doesn't help that WR Avery Davis is out for the season with a torn ACL. We also just don't know how good USC will be with its new head coach, Lincoln Riley, and a ton of transfers. Right now, that game is projected to be a win in Los Angeles. Notre Dame also has to play BYU in Las Vegas, and Clemson at home. Let's face it - four losses are entirely possible as that No. 39 schedule could wind up becoming a schedule that ranks among the toughest.

As for BYU, head coach Kilani Sitake is 21-4 in his last two seasons at BYU and 2022 doesn't figure to be much different. The computer has the Cougars going 9-3 with key games on September 10 at home vs. Baylor, followed by a trip to Oregon on the next week. The Cougars get rival Utah State at home on September 29, Notre Dame in Vegas on October 8, play Arkansas for Homecoming on October 15, and visit Liberty on October 22. They also go to Boise State on November 5 and visit Stanford on November 26. The only wins we're 'giving' them are the opener at USF, and home dates with Wyoming, East Carolina and FCS member Utah Tech (formerly Dixie State)

Jeff Monken has had tremendous success at Army and the Black Knights are picked to tie BYU with a 9-3 mark. Although the schedule is much lighter schedule than the Cougars or Irish, it's a fairly tough slate by Army standards. One of the two FCS teams on the schedule is no slouch with Villanova visiting West Point for game 3. Before that, the Black Knights open at Coastal Carolina and host a UTSA team that went 12-2 a year ago. Georgia State, a Sun Belt title favorite for 2022, comes calling after a bye week, and then it's off to Wake Forest which may have Sam Hartman back under center by then. After reprieves with Colgate and ULM at home, Army goes to Arlington, Texas for the "Commander's Classic" where it will face an Air Force squadron that is predicted to go undefeated. As always the season wraps up with the Army-Navy game which will take place in Philadelphia this year.

New Mexico State opened the season with a loss at home to Nevada in game that it was projected to win. The Aggies are in their first year of the Jerry Kill tenure.

UMass and UConn are still stuck at the bottom, but are expected to be much-improved. Both have a new head coach with Don Brown replacing Walt Bell in Amherst and Jim L. Mora taking the reigns in Storrs.

1 11 Notre Dame Ind. 87.59 80.29 11 1     39
2 23 BYU Ind. 84.57 63.43 9 3     52
3 41 Army Ind. 69.55 52.16 9 3     97
4 76 Liberty Ind. 62.25 31.13 6 6     83
5 96 New Mexico State Ind. 46.87 19.53 5 7     127
6 102 Massachusetts Ind. 48.66 16.22 4 8     122
7 109 Connecticut Ind. 48.83 12.21 3 9     72