2012 Independent Schedule Breakdown
BYU QB Riley Nelson
BYU QB Riley Nelson
Posted Mar 25, 2012

Breakdowns and analysis of each Independent team's schedule.

2012 Ind. Schedule

- Army | BYU | Navy | Notre Dame 

- 2012 Independent Composite Schedule & Week Rankings 

Toughest Schedules
Based on home games as well as who the teams play. when.

1. Notre Dame
2. BYU
3. Navy
4. Army

Realistic Best Case Record: 7-5
Worst Case Record: 2-10
Likely Finish: 4-8

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Stony Brook, Kent State, at Eastern Michigan, Ball State
Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at San Diego State, Northern Illinois, at Wake Forest, Boston College, Air Force, at Rutgers, Temple, Navy

Summary: It'll be really, really difficult to get to six wins and a bowl game without enough layups to count on. It's not like there's a killer on the schedule – going to Rutgers might qualify as Army's toughest matchup – but there's a slew of games that could go either way. The Knights could certainly lose to Ball State, at Eastern Michigan, and/or to Temple, Northern Illinois, or Kent State at home. On the plus side, the team doesn't have to leave the greater New York area from November 20th until the finale against Navy in Temple, and there are only four true road games – sort of counting the date with Rutgers – to deal with. The slate gets harder over the final act, so if there's any hope of getting to six wins, almost all of them will have to come early on.

Sept. 8 at San Diego State
Sept. 15 Northern Illinois
Sept. 22 at Wake Forest
Sept. 29 Stony Brook
Oct. 6 Boston College
Oct. 13 Kent State
Oct. 20 at Eastern Michigan
Oct. 27 Ball State
Nov. 3 Air Force
Nov. 10 at Rutgers
Nov. 17 Temple
Dec. 8 Navy (in Phil.)


Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 8-4

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Washington State, Weber State, Hawaii, Utah State, Oregon State, Idaho, at San Jose State, at New Mexico State
Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at Utah, at Boise State, at Notre Dame, at Georgia Tech

Summary: As long as the Cougars don't gag away the games they're supposed to win, it'll come down to a four game season. Starting off against Washington State as Mike Leach kicks off his era should be fun, and a shootout against Norm Chow and Hawaii will create several interesting storylines, but those two home games are wrapped around road dates at Utah and Boise State. If BYU wins those two and starts out 5-0, it'll be Game On for the BCS discussions. Utah State is going to be a battle, and Oregon State should be better, but both of those dates are in Lavell Edward Stadium before the second key back-to-back road battles. Can the Cougars go into Notre Dame and make a statement, and then be ready for the Georgia Tech offense a week later? There's only one home game from mid-October to the end of the season – a layup against Idaho – but the final two road games are at San Jose State and New Mexico State. If BYU doesn't get to the BCS, it's obligated to play in the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Sept. 1 Washington State
Sept. 8 Weber State
Sept. 15 at Utah
Sept. 22 at Boise State
Sept. 29 Hawaii
Oct. 5 Utah State
Oct. 13 Oregon State
Oct. 20 at Notre Dame
Oct. 27 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 10 Idaho
Nov. 17 at San Jose State
Nov. 24 at New Mexico State


Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 9-3

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: VMI, San Jose State, at Central Michigan, Indiana, at East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, at Troy, Texas State, Army
Pre-Spring Projected Losses: Notre Dame, at Penn State, at Air Force

Summary: There's no excuse to not go back to a bowl with a turnaround season. Navy managed to lose a few games last year it shouldn't have against Ball State and San Jose State, so it's not a lock that games against Central Michigan on the road and Troy in Alabama are locks, but the team should be far better, far tighter in close games, and ready to win the games it's supposed to win. Starting out Ireland against Notre Dame will be fun, but unlike the Irish, the Midshipmen get a week off to follow. Can they pull off the upset over Penn State in Happy Valley? It could be a must to avoid a rocky start, but things ease up in a hurry with several winnable games against teams from non-BCS conferences including layups against Florida Atlantic and Texas State before getting three weeks to prepare for Army.

Sept. 1 Notre Dame (in Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 15 at Penn State
Sept. 22 VMI
Sept. 29 San Jose State
Oct. 6 at Air Force
Oct. 13 at Central Michigan
Oct. 20 Indiana
Oct. 27 at East Carolina
Nov. 3 Florida Atlantic
Nov. 10 at Troy
Nov. 17 Texas State
Dec. 8 Army (in Phil.)

Notre Dame

Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 5-7
Likely Finish: 8-4

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Navy, Purdue, Miami, Stanford, BYU, Pitt, at Boston College, Wake Forest
Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at Michigan State, Michigan, at Oklahoma, at USC

Summary: What kind of sick and twisted sadistic joke is this? It's as if Notre Dame decided the schedule wasn't quite difficult enough, so it kept on finding new and creative ways to make it even harder. It's by far the nastiest schedule in America that doesn't include a team from the SEC.

Even the supposedly easy games have issues with Boston College on the road and Wake Forest coming a week before USC. The opener against Navy is in Ireland, and then the Irish have to come back, get over the jetlag, and deal with Purdue at home before gearing it up for a road trip to Michigan State and a showdown against Michigan. The week off before going up the road to Chicago to play Miami will be desperately needed.

BYU should be even better than the 10-3 version of last season, making the first half of the season a bear, and then comes the real fun with a brutal trip to Oklahoma to follow. If all of that wasn't enough, there's still the road game at USC lurking as the final act. In all, it's not a stretch to project that the Irish will end up playing at least ten bowl bound teams, two of the preseason top five teams in America in OU and USC, and four conference champions in OU, Michigan or Michigan State, Pitt, and USC.

Sept. 1 Navy (in Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 8 Purdue
Sept. 15 at Michigan State
Sept. 22 Michigan
Sept. 29 OPEN DATE
Oct. 6 Miami (in Chicago)
Oct. 13 Stanford
Oct. 20 BYU
Oct. 27 at Oklahoma
Nov. 3 Pitt
Nov. 10 at Boston College
Nov. 17 Wake Forest
Nov. 24 at USC 

- 2012 Independent Composite Schedule & Week Rankings