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Ind. Predictions - Week 9 (ND vs. Navy)
Posted Oct 26, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week nine Independent games

 How'd we do so far? SU 22-4   ATS 15-8-1
Independent Game of the Week

Notre Dame (6-1) vs. Navy (5-2), 12:00 EST, CBS Saturday, October 28
Why to watch: What's a few years, anyway? Navy has lost 42 straight to Notre Dame and appeared to have its best shot yet until losing starting QB Brian Hampton for the season with a knee injury. The first game without the top quarterback was a disaster losing 34-0 to Rutgers, but that's looking less and less like anything to be ashamed of. With two weeks off to prepare, Navy, with the nation's number two rushing offense and a decent enough defense to have some hope of making this a game, has to do everything possible to keep the Irish off the field. Notre Dame came up with one of the greatest comebacks in its epic history going 80 yards in :35 to beat UCLA 20-17 to keep national title dreams alive. Winners of four straight, this weeks begins a run of the service academies playing all three, with a date against North Carolina thrown in, before the showdown against USC. As exciting as things have been, the Irish could use an impressive start-to-finish performance against a bowl bound team, which it hasn't had since beating Penn State in early September.
Why Notre Dame might win: Notre Dame's secondary might not be able to cover you and your dog on deep routes, but other than some missed tackles against the Bruins, they can hit, and they can move. The safeties, Tom Zbikowski and Chide Ndukwe, are strong enough in run support to sniff out what the Midshipmen will try to do with the option. Over the last three weeks, the Irish have failed to allow more than 92 yards rushing after giving up 100 ore more in the first four games.
Why Navy might win: Even though the stats don't necessarily show it, this is one of the best secondaries Navy has been able to throw at the Irish in years. Yeah, the ND run D has gotten a whole bunch tighter, but it also helps when you face a Purdue team that chucked it from the word go, Stanford, and a UCLA offense that tried to win through the air. The one time the Irish faced a running game with a little bit of outside speed, it got it doors blown off for three quarter by a Michigan State running game that ripped off 248 yards. Navy will get its rushing yards, so if it can catch the corners napping a few times and connect on a deep ball or two, it'll have a shot. However ...
Who to watch: ... that's asking one of the Navy quarterbacks to figure out how to complete a forward pass.
Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada  and Jarod Bryant combined to complete four of 16 passes for 48 yards against Rutgers. Kaheaku-Enhada will start, but Bryant is almost certain to see time unless the running game gets off early. Fullback Adam Ballard is the key to the game. If he's not pounding away on the inside and forcing the Irish linebackers to honor the first option, there won't be anything open on the outside. The quarterbacks much use all their rushing weapons for the offense to be effective.
What will happen: The same formula that worked for the last 42 games will work again. Notre Dame will beat on the undersized Midshipen and wear them down in the fourth quarter after hitting a few big haymakers early on.
CFN Prediction: Notre Dame 31 ... Navy 13 ... Line: Notre Dame -14
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ...

Bowling Green (4-4) at Temple (0-8), 1:00 EST, Saturday, October 28
Why to watch: There are lopsided series, and then there's Bowling Green vs. Temple. The Falcons are just 6-1 all-time against the Owls, but have won the last three times by a combined score 183 to 46 while hanging 70 on the board in each of the last two seasons. Temple is on a 20-game losing streak with no real hope in sight of pulling up with MAC contender Central Michigan, Penn State, and Navy coming up, so it might be this week of 24 straight defeats going into 2007. Despite the problems, there have been some improvements with more offensive production, but there hasn't been even a sniff of success since the 9-3 overtime loss to Buffalo in the season-opener. Bowling Green is two wins away from bowl eligibility and needs this game as a tune up for what has to be a big finishing kick to get a 13th game.
Why Bowling Green might win: The Falcons should be able to run all day long. Temple did a phenomenal job of bottling up NIU star Garrett Wolfe last week, but have been hammered and run over, around and though by anyone else. To be fair, NIU threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns and didn't spend so much time with the ground game. The Owls have faced a few mobile quarterbacks, but no one who can tear off yards in chunks like Anthony Turner. RB Chris Bullock should be able to pound the ball.
Why Temple might win: Bowling Green isn't very good. Its defense is active, but it doesn't stop anyone cold and can get hit for big plays. Even though Temple's offense is hardly consistent or productive, it has been able to hit a few home runs. This isn't the Falcon offense of the past few years; it's not going to bomb away for 70 points.
Who to watch: Temple's big issue has been the offensive line that's going through growing pains. Senior tackle Elliot Seifert is the only upper-classmen, and outside of center Alex Derenthal, no one else has produced. The foundation is there in the backfield with young quarterbacks Vaughn Charlton and Adam DiMichele each showing a little bit of promise, and senior RB Tim Brown proving to be good enough to crank out 100 yards when he gets a little bit of room, so if the line plays well, Temple might have a shot to make this interesting.
What will happen: Don't be shocked if Temple makes this a game. The Owl offense will crank out a few yards, but the run defense won't be able to hold down the Falcon running game.
CFN Prediction: Bowling Green 30 ... Temple 17 ... Line: Bowling Green -20
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ...

Army (3-5) at Tulane (2-5), 2:00 EST, Saturday, October 28
Why to watch: Army has been stuck on three wins the last two weeks as it clings to the hope it can rally for six wins and a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl.  With a loss this week, the Cadets will once again end a season with the annual Army-Navy game.  Freshman Carson Williams replaced the ineffective David Pevoto at quarterback in last week’s loss to TCU, signaling a changing of the guard at West Point.  After following the script by losing at UTEP and Auburn, Tulane has an opportunity to secure some much-needed momentum with upcoming games against Army and Marshall.  The Green Wave doesn’t play much defense, but with future pro Lester Ricard airing it out, Tulane is capable of scoring points in a hurry.
Why Army might win: Williams’ first career start couldn’t come against a better opponent.  The freshman, who provided a little spark in the second half last week, will face a Tulane defense that’s 112th nationally against the pass, having allowed 15 touchdown passes to just four picks.  The Green Wave will struggle to beat anyone this year if they continue residing near the I-A basement in turnover margin.
Why Tulane might win: The Green Wave has begun to click, getting at least 100 yards on the ground and 200 yards through the air in each of the last three games, including last week at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  The Ricard to Preston Brown connection, which has hooked up 20 times over the last two games, will have another big game against an average Army defense, particularly if top pass-rusher Cameron Craig misses a another week with a sprained ankle.
Who to watch: Matt Forte has given the Tulane offense balance in October, running for more than 100 yards in each of the last three games.  He’ll crack the century mark for a fourth straight week against an Army unit that’s 105th nationally against the run.
What will happen: It’ll be asking too much for the freshman Williams to keep Army stride-for-stride with a versatile and improving Tulane offense that’ll amass more than 400 yards and four touchdowns in the Superdome.
CFN Prediction: Tulane 33 … Army 23 ... Line: Tulsa -5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ...