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Independent Fearless Predictions, Week 6

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 4, 2006


Preview and predictions for the week six Independent games


Independents
Army | Navy | Notre Dame | Temple
- Past Independent Predictions
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
Week 5


 How'd we do so far? SU 13-3   ATS 10-4-1
 
Independent Game of the Week

Navy (4-1) at Air Force (2-1)  2 PM EST CSTV Saturday October 7th
Why to Watch: This isn't just a battle between two quirky service academy offenses; these two are really good. It appears now that Air Force's 31-30 loss at Tennessee wasn't a fluke and that the team might be good enough to be considered in the mix for the Mountain West title. The defense is playing better than it has in years while Shaun Carney has the offense humming as well as ever. Navy has been terrific with its only loss coming in overtime on a blocked extra point against Tulsa. While it's D hasn't been playing as well as Air Force's, the running attack, ranking first in the country averaging 357 yards per game, is a well-oiled machine. The Air Force ground game ranks third in the nation (West Virginia is number two), so if you're looking for an air show, try to find the Nevada - Hawaii game later.
Why Navy Might Win: Air Force has the one team that should know how to handle the Navy offense, but the Midshipmen have won the last three games in the series. Tennessee was on a bit of a letdown after the win over Cal and tried bombing away, and Wyoming and New Mexico don't really run. Air Force might run the option, but Navy does it better. The Midshipmen should be able to pound it a little bit with Adam Ballard and grind out yards up the middle.
Why Air Force Might Win: The Falcons can't stop anyone from passing having problems against deep passes, short passes, and everything in between. That's not a problem against Navy and its non-existent air attack that connected on one big pass this year. Air Force has the defensive line to hold up against the quick Navy front five, while the offensive line is one of the team's strengths and should be able to take control early.
Who to Watch: It'll come down to the quarterbacks. Air Force's Shaun Carney has been nearly flawless so far directing the option attack. He's playing like a veteran who doesn't panic when things aren't going as well as expected. New Mexico was able to keep the Falcons from coming up with any big plays, so Carney just took what the defense gave him and made all the right decisions to get the ground game moving. On the other side, Navy's Brian Hampton is doing more of the running than Carney has to do, and that's been a positive. The senior rumbled for 182 yards and three touchdowns against UConn and tore off 118 yards and a score against Tulsa to get up to eight rushing touchdowns for the season. 
What Will Happen: The two teams will combine for over 600 yards on the ground, but Air Force will get more out of its defense and will mix things up a big more than Navy in the running game.
CFN Prediction
: Air Force 27 ... Navy 23 ... Line: Air Force -3
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Rachael Ray) ... 4
 

Kent State (3-2) at Temple (0-5)  1 PM EST Saturday October 7th
Why to Watch: Is Kent State the best team in the MAC? Coming from out of nowhere, the Golden Flashes have gone 3-0 in conference play picking off the three teams (Miami, Bowling Green, and Akron) considered to be the favorites in the division and have as easy a road as possible ahead. But first, there's the technicality of Temple to go through. The Owls scored more points against Vanderbilt last week than it had in the first four games combined, but still lost 43-14 showing just how far the program has to go. Things only get worse with road games against Clemson and Northern Illinois ahead, so Al Golden's club has to take full advantage of its second home game of the year.
Why Kent State Might Win: Vanderbilt averaged 12 points per games in its first three outings against D-I teams, and hung 43 on Temple. The Owls are getting pounded on, thrown on, and scored on at will. Kent State's offense is exploding getting stronger and more balanced by the week, and it should be able to do whatever it wants to. If Temple finds a way to slow down the KSU passing game, the Golden Flashes will run. and vice versa.
Why Temple Might Win: Kent State can be run on. The defense has been stout over the last four weeks, and Akron's ground game didn't do anything, but the KSU front isn't so strong that it can't be pounded on for at least 150 yards. Temple is coming off its best offensive showing of the season, mainly due to a 78-yard scoring run from Tim Brown, but at least there was a sign of life.
Who to Watch: NIU RB Garrett Wolfe will be the  hands down MAC Player of the Year, but KSU sophomore QB Julian Edelman could finish second. The JUCO transfer keeps getting better week after week with a brilliant 17-of-21, 305-yard, two touchdown, 69-rushing yard, one score day in the win over Akron. Of course, no one noticed this because Wolfe tore off 353 yards against Ball State, but it still made a statement in the MAC race. If he can use this game to keep pushing the ball deep and become a stronger passer, look out MAC. 10-2 will be very possible.
What Will Happen: At some point, everyone will start to giving Kent State credit for being 2006's top turnaround team. It'll have few problems at Temple, but it'll take about a half to pull away.
CFN Prediction
: Kent State 38 ... Temple 10... Line: Kent State -24.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Rachael Ray) ... 1.5
 

Virginia Military (1-4) at Army (2-3)  1 PM EST ESPN Classic Saturday October 7th
Why to Watch: Army was humming along with a bowl bid in sight after beating Baylor and pushing Texas A&M to the wall, and then came the stunning 48-14 thud against Rice. Now the Black Knights get a chance to get their mojo back against a bad VMI team that lost its last four games and has only scored 20 points in its last three games. Army has to sharpen up after a bad performance last week with tough games against Connecticut and TCU ahead.
Why VMI Might Win: The only change VMI has is if Army's defense missed plays and turns the ball over like it did last week. The Keydets don't turn the ball over and can run well, so if they can somehow go on a few long drives and capitalize on every opportunity, they might stay in this game for at least a half.
Why Army Might Win: VMI's defense is awful. It's bad against the pass and worse against the run. Army should be able to test out some new things and work on several plays it'd like to see work down the line. This isn't the type of dangerous D-IAA game that an average team like Army has to take seriously in any way; VMI isn't playing nearly well enough to have an honest shot unless Army doesn't mentally show up.
Who to Watch: The concern at the beginning of the season for Army was about the running game; where was it going to come from? Sophomore Wesley McMahand has been a surprising force and durable considering he's only 5-5 and about 170 pounds. He hasn't been a touchdown maker and he hasn't been involved in the passing game, but he 's good for 90 yards per game and is becoming moere and more the focus of the attack.
What Will Happen: Army will get the Rice game out of its system in a big hurry.
CFN Prediction
: Army 45 ... Virginia Military 13 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Rachael Ray) ... 1
   

Stanford (0-5) at Notre Dame (4-1)  2:30 PM EST NBC Saturday October 7th
Why to watch: After getting spanked by Michigan and needing a fourth-quarter miracle to beat Michigan State, Notre Dame enjoyed a 35-21 win against Purdue despite getting bombed on by the Boilermaker passing attack.  Despite a rocky month, the Irish exited September No. 12 in both polls with QB Brady Quinn still in the Heisman mix.  With the toughest stretch of the 2006 schedule already in the rear view mirror, conventional wisdom has Notre Dame cruising through the next six games, setting up a showdown with USC that’ll have major BCS implications.  Stanford is on a collision course with one of the worst seasons in school history and is a Duke upset from being the most abysmal program from a BCS conference.  Very little is going right these days for the Cardinal, who has been besieged by injuries and has scored just two touchdowns over the last 14 quarters.
Why Stanford might win: If the Cardinal offense is going to awake from its slumber, a trip to South Bend is a good place to start.  Stanford’s Trent Edwards has an NFL-caliber arm, which he’ll cock in the direction of a Notre Dame secondary that’s allowed eight touchdown passes over the last three weeks and is 91st nationally in pass defense.  The Irish have given up at least three touchdown passes in each of the last three games.  
Notre Dame might win
: The high-powered Irish offense figures to get little or resistance from a Stanford defense that’s getting roughed up to the tune of 458 yards and 37 points a game.  The Cardinal is also a disaster on special teams, which is a recipe for Tom Zbikowski to blow open the game with a punt return for six.  With problems with the receiving corps from injures to ineffectiveness, Stanford doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Irish.
Who to watch: For the first time in 2006, Irish RB Darius Walker had a big day, burying Purdue with 146 yards and a score on 31 carries.  As Notre Dame gradually seeks offensive balance, expect more of the same this Saturday against a Cardinal D that’s dead last in the country against the run.
What will happen
: The Irish will get scores its offense, defense and special teams in a game that’ll stop being competitive midway through the second quarter.

CFN Prediction
: Notre Dame 44 ... Stanford 10 ... Line: Notre Dame -32.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Rachael Ray) ...
2