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Independents Preview by TJ Chapman

Independents Preview

Team (wins in 2021)

  1. Notre Dame (11)

  2. BYU (10)

  3. Army (9)

  4. Liberty (8)

  5. New Mexico State (2)

  6. UMASS (1)

  7. UCONN (1)

Notre Dame loses head coach Brian Kelly but hired from within as former Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman takes over. The Irish return a lot from a team that won 11 games last season, but will have to replace their starting quarterback. Sophomore Tyler Buchner is the next man up and he is more than capable. Buchner is good as a passer, but his strength is his ability to run. He was 2nd on the team with 336 rushing yards in 2021. Junior tight end Michael Mayer is back and will give Buchner a dangerous weapon in the passing game. The defense was good last season and with Freeman being promoted to head coach the Irish defenders won’t have to learn a new style or terminology. While Notre Dame lost star safety Kyle Hamilton to the NFL the secondary will be a strength in 2022. I’m predicting 10 wins for Notre Dame this season.

BYU lost star running back Tyler Algier to the NFL, but the Cougars return one of the best offensive lines in the country. They also return junior quarterback Jaren Hall who finished 2021 with 2,583 yards, 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, while adding 307 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. The Cougar defense struggled in 2021 and are looking to be better in 2022. The schedule is tough for BYU so I’m predicting 8 wins for the Cougars.

Army is returning a lot from a team that won 9 games last season. The schedule isn’t ridiculous so I’m predicting another 9 wins for the Black Knights. GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY!

Liberty lost star quarterback Malik Willis to the NFL, but head coach Hugh Freeze hit the Transfer Portal and got former Baylor and Utah quarterback Charlie Brewer to compete with young quarterback Kaiden Salter. Freeze is good at getting the most out of his players, but the schedule is tough. I’m predicting 8 wins in 2022.

New Mexico State brings in new head coach Jerry Kill after winning only 2 games last season. While the Aggies run game should improve under Kill, I’m thinking they’re in for 2 wins again in 2022.

UMASS brings back former head coach Don Brown after winning only 1 game in 2021. The team isn’t very good at any phase, but the Minutemen get UCONN on the schedule, so I’m predicting 2 wins this season.

UCONN is just plain AWFUL! They won 1 game last season, so in comes new head coach Jim Mora, Jr. The Huskies will be lucky to win 1 game in Mora’s first season in charge. I can almost hear his dad, Jim Mora, Sr.’s response when Jim Jr. took this job, in the same tone as his 2001 “playoffs” comment…UCONN? UCONN? Are you kidding me, UCONN?

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