The FBS Independents went 2-2 last week. On the winning side was Notre Dame, who absolutely killed Miami by a score of 52-17, and Army, who beat UTEP by two touchdowns (35-21). At this point, these are the only two respectable teams in this ‘conference’, and the only two with a shot at a bowl game.
On the flip side, UMass continued to prove that their season is interesting for sure; they were ranked as the worst team college football had to offer in the preseason, and they’ve slid to 0-6. That being said, they still lost by under 10 points, in a shootout against Ohio, 58-50. And BYU’s lost season continued, as they went down to Utah State, 40-24.
This week, UMass is on their bye week, so there’s only three teams from the conference playing. Let’s dive into them.
Boise State (2-2) v. BYU (1-4)
Last week, BYU scored double their points per game average, as they put up 24 against Utah State… you do the math, that’s not good. The Broncos, as of 10:00 am this morning, were 8.5 point favorites on the road. While Boise State hasn’t done a fantastic job at stopping other teams from scoring, they’ve put 28 points per game up themselves. They’re not too great at running the ball, but I’m not that confident in BYU’s ability to stop Cedrick Wilson, who is by far the Bronco’s best receiver and is coming off a 200 receiving yard week against Virginia.
You can watch this game tonight at 10:15 on ESPN. I’m going with Boise State by 10.
#21 Notre Dame (4-1) v. North Carolina (1-4)
The Irish are coming off of a win where they were able to get a lot of players in-game action. I wrote yesterday about the possibility of Ian Book starting tomorrow, and all reports are saying that Brandon Wimbush is going to be a game-time decision. Regardless of who takes the first snap, I see Book getting time in this game, because the Tar Heels are bad. It’s crazy, because I don’t find their offense to be that bad; freshman quarterback Chazz Surratt has done well at replacing Mitchell Trubisky, by throwing for a hair under 1,000 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 picks. He took the job of flameout transfer Brandon Harris, who can’t do anything right no matter where he plays.
UNC has two bigger problems. A- they can’t run the ball very well. Their leading rusher has yet to eclipse the 300 yard mark yet. Defensively, they’re giving up over 30 a game as well, and with Josh Adams healthy against the 121st-ranked run D in the land, I’m pretty confident.
You can watch this game tomorrow at 3:30 on ABC. I like the Irish by 17 in this one.
Army (3-2) v. Rice (1-4)
Army was able to take care of business against one Texas school last week. Now, they’re on the road against another one. Rice is a classic case of a 1-4 team that can’t score (11ish points per game) and can’t stop other teams from scoring (33ish points per game). The Owls may be a cool bird, but they’re not a good team. Though Army has been through an up-and-down start to their year, their world-class triple option is going against the 88th best run defense. I’ll bet they’ll get plenty of opportunity, as Rice QB Jackson Tyner can’t stay out of his own way, completing less than 50 percent of his passes and throwing for 4 interceptions.
You’re going to have to find somewhere on the dark web to watch this one, as ESPN doesn’t list any network covering the game. It’s on at 6:30 pm tomorrow. I’m going with Army by 20.
Cover photo from Army Times.
Other photo from Keeping It Heel, The Daily Universe.