Independent Fearless Predictions - Week 2
Posted Sep 7, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week two Independent games

Army | Navy | Notre Dame | Temple
- Past Independent Predictions
Week One
Independent Game of the Week

Penn State (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-0)  3:30 pm EST NBC Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: The way many preseason prognosticators made it sound, Notre Dame might as well be playing UL Monroe this week instead of Penn State. The jury is still out on just how good this Nittany Lion team is, but it can sure as shoot show that it deserves to be considered a player in the national title race if it can come out of South Bend with a win. Test one was passed last week, although not with flying colors, when new starting quarterback Anthony Morelli threw for 206 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-16 win over Akron that wasn't nearly as close as the final score might indicate. A win this week would get a big buzz going that'll continue through the following week's win-to-be over Youngstown State, and then it's the showdown against Ohio State. Penn State can go from after-thought to top two by the end of the day on September 23rd. Notre Dame survived a slugfest against Georgia Tech gutting out a 14-10 win in a physical, hard-hitting game that proved that this isn't necessarily a finesse team. While many downgraded Charlie's boys after such a close call, it was a better win than it might have appeared considering how good the Tech defense is. Even so, an impressive win over the Nittany Lions would get the bandwagon back rolling. This is part two of a brutal September for the Irish with Michigan coming into town next week. This is the first meeting between these two heavyweights since the 1992 classic won by the Irish 17-16 on the way to a 10-1-1 season.
Why Penn State might win: If you thought Georgia Tech showed a little bit of defense against Brady Quinn and company last week, that's nothing compared to what Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor and the the best linebacking corps in America is going to do on the national stage. Notre Dame's offensive line had mega-issues last week with penalties while nearly getting Brady Quinn killed with inconsistent pass protection. Penn State sacked Akron QB Luke Getsy five times and is more likely to finish off the pass rush better than the Yellow Jackets were able to. 
Why Notre Dame might win: Much was made about the supposedly improved Irish defense, but that was helped made look good by an averaged Georgia Tech offense. Penn State's offense has receiving weapons, but the running game isn't going to be there following an awful performance against Akron netting a mere 76 yards. Basically, it'll be Quinn vs. Morelli. Whichever one plays better will get the win. Who would you take? As easy as the Nittany Lion win was over Akron, the offense only gained 282 yards.
Who to watch: While RB Darius Walker is the unsung cog who makes the attack go, the Irish offense needs to get the deep ball working to be fully effective. In today's day and age of the spread offense, it's refreshing to see Quinn take his shots down the field, and he's not going to be shy about pushing the ball on the young, but talented Penn State secondary. Tony Davis and Justin King will get their biggest test of the year against Rhema McKnight, who came up with an impressive eight catches for 108 yards against Tech in his first game back from a knee injury, and Jeff Samardzija. If Penn State wins this battle, it'll probably win the game.
What will happen: The Penn State defense will keep this close throughout hitting Quinn over and over and over again, but Morelli and the offense simply won't be up-to-snuff in crunch time.
CFN Prediction
: Notre Dame 23 ... Penn State 17
... Line: Notre Dame -9
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 5

Louisville (1-0) at Temple (0-1)  12 pm ET GamePlan Saturday, September 9th    
Why to watch: Louisville’s 59-28 thrashing of Kentucky Sunday night turned bittersweet when Michael Bush broke his right leg early in the third quarter.  No doubt a big back of his caliber will be missed, but it’s a testament to the depth of talent Bobby Petrino has been able to amass that Kolby Smith and George Stripling are waiting in the on-deck circle to combine to be just as productive. How they progress will go a long way in the Big East title chase, and maybe the national title hunt. Both could start just about anywhere, so don’t count on the offensive play calling—or Louisville’s expectations—to change with new personnel.  Somewhat overshadowed by Bush’s departure was the return from knee surgery of QB Brian Brohm, who looked crisp completing 19-of-31 passes for 254 yards and a score.  A 9-3 overtime loss to Buffalo showed just how long a road first-year head coach Al Golden has ahead of him at Temple.  He used 11 true freshman in the opener, which will sting in September, yet pay off by November. 
Why Louisville might win: You’d be hard-pressed to find a wider gap in talent and production among I-A programs than the one that exists between the Cards and the Owls.  Louisville is a scoring machine fueled by a bunch of future NFL players, while Temple is extremely young and managed just 183 yards and three points against bottom-feeding Buffalo. Two early touchdowns will put this out of reach.

Why Temple might win
: For Louisville, the trip to Philadelphia is the proverbial sandwich game squeezed between an emotional win over rival Kentucky and a ballyhooed visit from Miami next Saturday.  If it’s ever going to look past an opponent, this would be the week.  Led by true freshman LB Junior Galette, Temple is a fast group on defense that had ten tackles for loss a week ago. 
Who to watch
: For good reason, all eyes will be on Smith and Stripling as their roles increase dramatically in Bush’s absence.  Smith is a 215-pound slasher with great vision and a resume that includes over 1,400 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns.  Stripling is a home run hitter, who lit up Kentucky Sunday night and sports a career average of more than eight yards a carry.
What will happen: Louisville would have to lose a lot more than one starter for this game to be competitive beyond the first quarter.  A pivotal date with the ‘Canes is on the horizon, so the next generation of Cardinal stars will be on display earlier than usual.
FN Prediction: Louisville 55 ... Temple 10 ... Line: Louisville -39
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 1.5

Kent State
(0-1) at Army (0-1)  1 pm EST ESPN Classic Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: Thanks to Temple and a few scattered Sun Belt programs, this isn't a battle of the two worst teams in the country. After one game, it's not far off. Army was horrendous in a 14-6 loss to Arkansas State showing no offense and no run defense whatsoever. Kent State got steamrolled over by Minnesota in a 44-0 loss and is desperately trying to find some semblance of an offense to break a ten-game losing streak.
Why Kent State might win: Arkansas State isn't exactly Minnesota. Despite the stats and the performance against the Gophers, the Golden Flashes are improved with more weapons to work with on offense and a defense that should be able to hold up against the mediocre teams. Army certainly qualifies. The Black Knights didn't find anything to hang their hats on against the Indians and are far away from being consistent in any phase.
Why Army might win: Fine, so the Golden Flashes have more talent, they still have to show they can score. Over the last six games, all losses, KSU has averaged less than a touchdown per outing. Army was able to come up with three Arkansas State turnovers and was only able to generate six points, but if it can keep forcing mistakes, the offense will start to capitalize. It has to. Kent State's offense isn't nearly sharp enough to get through this without giving it a way a few times.
Who to watch: Kent State was supposed to have a dangerous passing game coming into the year, but starting quarterback Michael Machen has had problems with an injured shoulder. Now the job is Julian Edelman's, and it will be even if Machen is back with his mobility and maturity from the JUCO ranks to come in handy as the season goes on. Now he has to produce.
What will happen: It won't be pretty, but Army will rebound and play far sharper than it did last week. Kent State won't be able to run like Arkansas State did.
CFN Prediction
: Army 23 ... Kent State 17
... Line: Army -4
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 1.5

Massachusetts (1-0) at Navy (1-0)  1:30 pm EST Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: The train keeps rolling. Navy's ground game was as impressive as ever in the opening week 28-23 win over East Carolina rolling up 403 yards. With sneaky-tough games against against Stanford, Tulsa and Connecticut (who leads the nation in rushing after tearing up Rhode Island for 418 yards), the Midshipmen have to get other things going (like the passing game) after throwing for six yards. UMass beat Colgate 28-7 with a strong defensive performance, but this week should be a far different story.
Why Massachusetts might win: The only shot the Minutemen have is if the run defense that held Colgate to 79 yards stands on its head and forces several mistakes. UMass has a running game of its own with senior Steve Baylark, who has a shot at being the third player in D-IAA history to gain at least 1,000 yards in four seasons. He ran for 84 yards last week and needs to have a huge game behind the strong, veteran O line to keep the Navy offense of the field and control the clock.  
Why Navy might win: UMass hasn't beaten a D-I team since 1984. Navy's issues this year will be against precision passing teams or defenses with speed. The Minutemen don't have much of either. There's no way to properly simulate the speed and precision of the Paul Johnson offense, and if the team is taking this game seriously, should hit the 300-yard rushing mark by the third quarter. The Minutemen won't have the firepower to keep up.
Who to watch: All concerns about how Navy would replace QB Lamar Owens were settled after a brilliant performance by Brian Hampton, who ran 34 times for 149 yards and a score. Now he has to show he can throw the ball with a little bit of consistency after completing two of six passes for six yards. This would be a good game to figure out if Navy has another dimension to this year's attack.
What will happen: UMass is one of the nation's best D-IAA teams and won't go away easily, but it won't be able to slow down the Navy machine..
CFN Prediction
: Navy 37 ... Massachusetts 20
 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 1.5