Independent Fearless Predictions - Week 6
Posted Oct 11, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week seven Independent games

Army | Navy | Notre Dame | Temple
- Past Independent Predictions
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
Week 5 | Week 6

 How'd we do so far? SU 16-4   ATS 10-7-1
Independent Game of the Week

Rutgers (5-0) at Navy (5-1), 1:30 EST, CSTV, Saturday, October 14
Why to watch: The next stop on Rutgers’ Search for National Respect Tour is Annapolis, where the Knights and the Middies will hook up in what figures to be the best game of 2006 involving Eastern programs.  Rutgers returns to action following a 15-day layoff, looking to maintain its Top 25 ranking while becoming bowl eligible for the second consecutive year.  Fans of high-octane, vertical offenses may want to cover their eyes since both programs are ranked in the bottom ten nationally in passing.  Navy’s authored two straight impressive road wins over Connecticut and Air Force since losing a one-point heartbreaker to Tulsa in overtime.  Like the Scarlet Knights, the Midshipmen can punch their ticket to the postseason with a win on Saturday.
Why Rutgers might win
: Both schools can run the ball, but the Scarlet Knights can also stop the run.  Rutgers is No. 10 in the country in run defense, holding its last four opponents to an average of 50 yards a game, while Navy’s last three opponents have each run for more than 150 yards.  The Middies will get their yards, but not with the same ease that makes them so difficult to defense.  The Knights, on the other hand, will play keep away with FB Brian Leonard and the nation’s No. 2 rusher Ray Rice.
Why Navy might win: The Middies recent roll has paralleled QB Brian Hampton’s comfort running the triple-option.  Hampton struggled in his first few games, but has gone over 100 yards rushing in each of the last three games, even making the occasional play through the air.  One of these weeks, unproven Rutgers QB Mike Teel is going to have to make a play to extend a drive or win a game.  If this is that week, the Knights could be in trouble.
Who to watch
: Rutgers DT Ramel Meekins began the season with all the D-line accolades, but after five games, it looks like linemate Eric Foster will end the year with the individual honors.  Foster, who missed all but two games in 2005, leads the Knights with 6½ tackles for loss and will get plenty of chances Saturday to get penetration and pad those numbers.
What will happen: In a back-and-forth game that’ll come down to the final few series, Rutgers will go ahead for good in the fourth on a perfectly executed screen pass from Teel to Leonard.
CFN Prediction: Rutgers 28 ... Navy 24 ... Line: Navy -1
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Class) ... 3

Temple (0-6) at Clemson (5-1) 7:30 PM EST ESPNU Thursday October 12
Why to Watch:  Pity Al Golden.  The man takes over the Temple head job as a first year head coach, loses six straight to start his career and then must deal with Clemson on national television.  Ouch.  On the other sideline, though, it’s all smiles as the Tigers have won four in a row, including last week’s comeback win over Wake Forest 24-17.  In facing Temple, the Tigers have a glorified scrimmage before their titanic ACC battles against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech over the next few weeks.
Why Temple Might Win: The offense has shown some signs of life scoring 17 against Kent State and 14 against Vandy. The Owls might be able to put up a few points if the Tigers let down and don't have any focus late. Coming off of an indescribable 24 point comeback win over Wake Forest, and with Georgia Tech looming large in nine days, Clemson isn't going to be paying full attention to Temple.  No matter whether the Tigers are looking forward or looking back, they’re probably not looking straight ahead.  As a sandwich game, the Owls are due to be overlooked, but…
Why Clemson Might Win:  ... it doesn’t really matter.  The Tiger offense will have the opportunity to spread out carries amongst its three running backs, as they did against Louisiana Tech when James Davis, CJ Spiller and Demerick Chancellor all rushed for over 100 yards against a run D that's giving up 233 yards per outing.  QB Will Proctor threw three picks at Wake Forest, but he should be able to get back on track quickly against a shaky Owl secondary..
Who to Watch:  Clemson LB Nick Watkins leads the team in tackles and has become the leader of a defense that lost Tremaine Billie and Anthony Waters early on.  He was all over the place against Wake Forest, finishing with eight tackles and distributing a few headaches along the way, and he should be able to put up big numbers stuffing Tim Brown and the Temple running game.
What Will Happen:  Clemson will run and run and run some more on the way to well over 300 yards, while Temple will be lucky to gain 100 yards total.  This one is a rout from the opening kickoff.
CFN Prediction: Clemson 54 … Temple 3 ... Line: Clemson -46
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Class) ... 1

Army (3-3) at Connecticut (2-3), 12:00 EST, Saturday, October 14
Why to watch: If the postseason is going to feature multiple military academies, this is a game Army has to have.  The Cadets rebounded from a horrible loss to Rice two weeks ago by disposing of I-AA VMI 62-7.  Having already beaten Baylor out of the Big 12, and pushing Texas A&M to the final play, a win over a Big East team would be another indicator of how far along the program has come under Bobby Ross.  The wheels are beginning to come off at Connecticut, where nothing seems to be clicking after a positive start.  The Huskies have been gouged by Navy and South Florida the last two weeks by a combined score of 79-33, stamping this week’s Army visit an obvious must-win for any bowl hopes.  With a brutal second-half of the schedule still to come, this could be their last chance to win a game in 2006.
Army might win: Connecticut’s 110th-ranked run defense has been steamrolled over for 669 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground the last two weeks, which plays right into Army’s offensive strength. The Cadets have been at their best this season when they haven’t had to rely on error-prone QB David Pevoto, while Wesley McMahand has been a good workhorse for the offense.  The Husky offense has failed to score more than 17 in its last four games, so a few early scores might be enough.
Why Connecticut might win: The Huskies can’t stop the run, but then again, neither can the Cadets, which are ranked 102nd in the country.  The only thing Connecticut has had some success with in 2006 is running the ball with Terry Caulley and Lou Allen, and they should have a field day against the struggling Army defensive front. Army has problems holding on to the ball, so expect UConn to get a few big breaks to capitalize on.
Who to watch: As horrible as Connecticut’s quarterbacks have been this fall, Caulley needs to assert himself, while carrying the Husky offense.  After getting bottled up by South Florida a week ago, he’ll find significantly more running room this week against a sub par and plodding Army defense.
What will happen: Connecticut is a bad football team, however, it’s also home and desperate, which will help get it a win versus an Army team that’s followed a win with a loss all season.
CFN Prediction: Connecticut 27 ... Army 17... Line: Connecticut -5.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Class) ...