#23-nc-state-logo#23 NC State
#14-north-carolina-logo#14 North Carolina
12:00 pm, October 24
#5-ohio-state-logo#5 Ohio State
nebraska-logoNebraska
12:00 pm, October 24
#8-penn-state-logo#8 Penn State
indiana-logoIndiana
3:30 pm, October 24
#3-notre-dame-logo#3 Notre Dame
pittsburgh-logoPittsburgh
3:30 pm, October 24
#2-alabama-logo#2 Alabama
tennessee-logoTennessee
3:30 pm, October 24
#17-iowa-state-logo#17 Iowa State
#6-oklahoma-state-logo#6 Oklahoma State
3:30 pm, October 24
south-carolina-logoSouth Carolina
lsu-logoLSU
7:00 pm, October 24
#18-michigan-logo#18 Michigan
#21-minnesota-logo#21 Minnesota
7:30 pm, October 24
#9-cincinnati-logo#9 Cincinnati
#16-smu-logo#16 SMU
9:00 pm, October 24

2020 Independents Football Preview

Check out the CSD preview for the three independents in this loaded preview, featuring in-depth coverage of everything you need to know about each team including projected records based on thousands of computer simulations and more!

Three independents will play as independents this year: Army, BYU, and Liberty. Notre Dame has announced it will join the ACC for this season, and three teams: UMass, UConn, and New Mexico State will not play.

1. BYU

Head Coach: Kalani Sitake
2019 Record: 7-6
Average Projected 2020 Record: 6.6 wins, 1.4 losses

Schedule

Sept. 7 at Navy
Sept. 12 OPEN DATE
Sept. 19 at Army
Sept. 26 Troy
Oct. 3 OPEN DATE
Oct. 10 UTSA
Oct. 16 Houston
Oct. 24 Texas State
Oct. 31 WKU
Nov. 7 OPEN DATE
Nov. 14 OPEN DATE
Nov. 21 North Alabama
Nov. 28 OPEN DATE

There’s a lot to like about this BYU team, QB Zach Wilson (2,382 yards, 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions, three rushing touchdowns in nine games) is an inconsistent passer, but a great leader who can also make plays with his feet. Wilson returns after a 2019 season where he missed four games due to injuries. The receiving corps is decimated, with the top three wideouts gone along with TE Matt Bushman (injury). Gunner Romney and Dax Milne combined for more than 50 catches last year, but finding a #3 will be key to avoiding a dropout in the passing game. On the line, all five starters are back, with plenty of depth.

The Cougars also boast what could be a top-five offensive line in the country. On defense, almost everyone is back; 13 of the top 15 tacklers return, and they also return a few guys that faced injuries last year, highlighted by 2018 starter LB Zayne Anderson. The pass rush is suspect, as is the lack of a true #1 running back, but this should be a really good team and one that will be favored in every game this year if preseason projections hold, mostly thanks to an easy schedule. An undefeated season isn’t out of the question.

2. Army

Head Coach: Jeff Monken
2019 Record: 5-8
Average Projected 2020 Record: 5.8 wins, 5.2 losses

Schedule

Sept. 5 Middle Tennessee
Sept. 12 ULM
Sept. 19 BYU
Sept. 26 at Cincinnati
Oct. 3 Abilene Christian
Oct. 10 The Citadel
Oct. 17 at UTSA
Oct. 24 Mercer
Oct. 31 OPEN DATE
Nov. 7 OPEN DATE (maybe Air Force)
Nov. 14 at Tulane
Nov. 21 Georgia Southern
Nov. 28 OPEN DATE
Dec. 5 OPEN DATE
Dec. 12 Navy (in Philadelphia)

Last year, Army rushed for 3,863 yards and 45 touchdowns. They went 5-8. For a team like Army that almost never throws the ball, anything under 4,000 yards (an unheard of number for most teams) is disappointing. Star QB Kelvin Hopkins is gone, although junior Jabari Laws (484 yards, four touchdowns) feels like as good of a replacement as you could find. Leading tailback Artice Hobbs returns, and while the line sees a lot of turnover, that’s fairly normal for Army. The Black Knights have proven that they are one of the most consistently solid teams in the nation on the offensive line over the past few years, so I’m not worried there. On defense, I’m much less confident, as three of the top four tacklers are gone from a group which wasn’t that good to begin with. This will likely be a rebuilding year for Jeff Monken, although the fact that they play three FCS opponents will likely lead them to finish with a winning record nonetheless.

3. Liberty

Head Coach: Hugh Freeze
2019 Record: 8-5
Average Projected 2020 Record: 3.8 wins, 6.2 losses

Schedule

Sept. 5 OPEN DATE

Sept. 12 OPEN DATE
Sept. 19 at WKU
Sept. 26 FIU

Oct. 3 North Alabama
Oct. 10 ULM

Oct. 17 at Syracuse
Oct. 24 Southern Miss

Oct. 31 OPEN DATE
Nov. 7 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 14 Western Carolina

Nov. 21 at NC State

Nov. 28 OPEN DATE

Dec. 5 at Coastal Carolina

In year one, shady football coach Hugh Freeze shined at an even more shady school, Liberty University. The Flames went 8-5 in year one under Freeze, but the passing game duo of QB Stephen Calvert and WR Antonio Gandy-Golden is gone, as is RB Frankie Hickson. The Flames add in an Auburn transfer at QB in Malik Willis and an interesting threat in the passing game in freshman wideout CJ Yarbrough, which could be the new Calvert-Gandy-Golden duo for 2020.

A trio of seniors: RB Joshua Mack, WR DJ Stubbs, and WR Kevin Shaa add in a few more experienced weapons for Willis to turn to. Mack especially was awesome in his limited snaps last year. On defense, the pass rush, led by Jayod Sanders, looks great, although the secondary is suspect, with four key guys leaving along with the top three tacklers from the defense as a whole. A few transfers will plugin at some of the holes, but the defense will probably struggle. There is talent on this team, but facing a relatively tough schedule and losing some of your best players will normally lead to significant regression.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *