FBS Independents Week 5 Thoughts

Another week down, another week the Irish were the only Independent team to come out victorious. The Megaphone is back in South Bend for a while, as they took down Michigan State with ease. BYU enjoyed their bye week, as they try to climb out of the hole their season is currently in. UMass and Army both lost by 4, to Tennessee and Tulane respectively.  Entering Week 5, these are my thoughts.

FRIDAY 

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BYU (1-3) v. Utah State (2-2)

Through four games, BYU is averaging 9.8 points per game. Let me repeat myself… THROUGH FOUR GAMES, BYU IS AVERAGING 9.8 POINTS PER GAME. Now, to be fair, they’ve played against two top-25 defenses. However, as good as the units of both LSU and Wisconsin are, BYU just can’t get anything going. Hopefully the bye gave them time to refocus and to play Utah State, who is definitely a few tiers below those powerhouse programs.

But I’ve lost my confidence in this Cougars team. Utah State can score points (and at least put double digits in their own loss to Wisconsin this season). BYU needs to take advantage of Aggies senior quarterback Kent Myers, who has thrown 6 picks this season. I’m not sure they can pull it out, though.

You can watch this game tonight on CBS Sports Network at 8 pm. Utah State smells blood. Aggies by a touchdown.

SATURDAY 

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Ohio (3-1) v. UMass (0-5)

If moral victories actually counted in the standings, UMass would’ve won like 3 national championships in the past few years. Some would argue that if starting quarterback Andrew Ford and starting tailback Marquis Young don’t go down last week, UMass pulls off the upset. I’m not one of those people. The offensive line looked as bad as it has all season against that SEC front, and while they only ended up allowing 17 points, I think it would’ve been too difficult to keep the Vols subdued for that long.

So, here we sit. The Minutemen return to McGuirk against a Bobcats team that has done well to begin the year. Ford and Adam Breneman are expected back in the lineup, but to me, the biggest injury question is regarding cornerback Lee Moses. Moses has been a steady presence in their secondary, as he’s started all 5 games despite being banged up. If they’re going to have a chance, they need to do something about this Ohio squad that scores nearly 40 points per game.

You can try to stream this game through some dark website or something tomorrow at 3:30, as no national network will pick it up. I think it’ll be a shootout, but I’m going with Ohio by 2.

UTEP (0-4) v. Army (2-2)

The Black Knights are on a bit of a losing streak, but this is just what the doctor ordered. They’re returning home against a UTEP team that absolutely sucks. UTEP averages 12 points per game, with their highest in-game total score being 16. They give up close to 47 per game, and the lowest score their D has held their opponents to is 31. They got throttled by Army in last year’s meeting. I’m not even going to delve into the stats. This one is over.

You can watch this game tomorrow at 3:30 on CBS Sports Network. I’m taking the Black Knights by 33.

Miami OH (2-2) v. #22 Notre Dame (3-1)

This ND team has some heart, let me tell you. Last week was a complete team win over Michigan State, which is important since that will be the last matchup between those two rivals for the foreseeable future. Earlier this week, I talked about how the Irish defense has grown in so many areas in just one offseason – in their pass rush, their coverage, and their depth overall.

Now, Miami has a pretty solid offense, and they only give up around 19 points per game. That being said, they have not faced an offense quite like ND’s yet. And ND has played against some far better offenses than the Redhawks so far this season. Gus Ragland‘s numbers look good on the surface, but he’s only completed a hair over 50% of his passes. Good luck to the Redhawks trying to stop this attack.

You can watch this game on NBC Sports Network tomorrow at 5. Look for your boy in the stands. I’m going with the Irish by 14.

 

Cover photo from Indy Star.

Other photos from AP Football, University of Tennessee Athletics.

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