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Independent Fearless Predictions - Nov. 4
Posted Nov 2, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week Ten Independent games

Army | Navy | Notre Dame | Temple
- Past Independent Predictions
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 |
Week 8 | Week 9

 How'd we do so far? SU 24-5   ATS 18-8-1
Independent Game of the Week

Air Force (3-4) at Army (3-6) 8 PM EST Friday November 3rd
Why to Watch: Air Force saw its eight-game winning streak against Army get snapped last year in a 27-24 loss, and now it needs to snap an ugly two-game losing streak to get back in the mix for a bowl game. Needing to win three more games to be eligible, and with Notre Dame, Utah and TCU still to deal with, the Falcons can't afford a second-straight slip to the Black Knights. Army was flirting with bowl hopes a month ago before going on a three-game losing streak getting whacked around by Connecticut, TCU and Tulane, and it gets to deal with Notre Dame in two weeks.
Why Air Force Might Win: Army can't stop the run. Thank you very much, goodnight, tip your waitress. Even though Air Force might not have the juggernaut rushing attack of the past few years, it's still third in the country averaging 267 yards per outing. The Army defense might be active and aggressive, but it gives up yards in chunks and hasn't shown any ability to handle anyone who wants to pound the ball a little bit. The Air Force offensive line should be able to control the game from the start.
Why Army Might Win: If Army was ever going to start throwing the ball, this would be the perfect game to do it. Even though new starting quarterback Carson Williams threw three interceptions in the loss to Tulane, he was an efficient 16 of 24. Air Force's defense has struggled since starting out the year hot and isn't generating any pressure. If Williams has time, he should be able to pick apart the Falcons with a short passing game.
Who to Watch: Army lost its best player to combat the option, safety Caleb Campbell, to a knee injury in the loss to Tulane while top lineman Cameron Craig is likely out with a sprained ankle. That means this needs to be the game Air Force QB Shaun Carney gets back on track. He had, arguably, the best game of his career last season in the loss to Army throwing for 194 yards and a score while running for 104 with two touchdowns. With the passing game going into the tank over the last two weeks, look for him to take over running the ball against the depleted Army defense.
What Will Happen: Army will turn it over at least three times while the Air Force offense will get back on track after a few weeks off.
CFN Prediction
: Air Force 24 ... Army 10 .. Line: Air Force -8
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors) ... 2

Central Michigan (5-3) at Temple (1-8) 1 PM EST Saturday November 4th
Why to Watch: That's right Temple, puff that chest out. Keep your head up high. You deserve it after years of pain and misery. One win over Bowling Green isn't going to change the college football world, but for a young team desperate for anything positive, getting by the Falcons 28-14 means everything. Reality might set back in this week against a Central Michigan team that's the class of the MAC at 5-0 and with a showdown next week against Western Michigan for, most likely, the MAC West title. The Chippewas have won three straight and should be rested after beating Bowling Green 31-14 two weeks ago.
Why Central Michigan Might Win: How did Temple beat Bowling Green? It got a few big plays, didn't screw up, and played lights out on defense for the first time all season long. Central Michigan is like the souped up version of the Falcons with more talent and mobility at quarterback, a more effective running game, and a far more efficient passing attack. The Chippewas have more offensive options and should move the chains far better than BGSU did. As long as CMU avoids giving up the home run on a punt return or a big run from Tim Brown, it should be able to go through the motions and come up with the win.
Why Temple Might Win: Talk about looking ahead, with everything on the line against Western Michigan next week, Central Michigan will hardly be focused in a relatively meaningless non-conference game. While the stats might not show it, the team really is starting to play a bit better with more production from the offense and aggressiveness making up for youth and inexperience on D. CMU might be good, but it's not so good that it can win in a blowout if it turns the ball over in critical situations and isn't sharp. Now we get to see what a confident Owl team can do.
Who to Watch: Temple sophomore quarterback Adam DiMichele is starting to come into his own. He's still throwing too many interceptions, with three in the last two games, but he's being ultra-efficient with his short passes completing 30 of 42 throws against Northern Illinois and Bowling Green with five touchdown passes after throwing for just two scores over his previous six outings. It's all about the future for Temple, so the more DiMichele can progress over the final four games, the more the offense will be able to rely on him going into next year.
What Will Happen: Central Michigan will be too effective at generating pressure against the patchwork Temple offensive line, while the offense will come up with a balanced performance with some big drives early to set the tone.
CFN Prediction
: Central Michigan 38 ... Temple 14 .. Line: Central Michigan -20
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors) ... 1.5

North Carolina (1-7) at Notre Dame (7-1) 2:30 PM EST NBC Saturday November 4
Why to Watch:  Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis may have been befuddled about his team dropping in last week’s BCS ranking, but perhaps more befuddling is a 1-7 North Carolina team that hasn’t beaten a D-I team this season.  The Tar Heels have played down to expectations throughout the year but could save a disaster of a season, in some respect, by ending any national championship game hopes for the Irish.  After head coach John Bunting was fired last week, the Heels played one of their most inspired games of the season and came within seven yards of taking ACC Atlantic co-leader Wake Forest to overtime.  But the bad news for UNC is that Weis’s squad might be finding their inner-New England Patriot after a decisive 38-14 victory over Navy.  The Heels don’t have much to play for the rest of the season, so all the pressure is on Notre Dame to dominate North Carolina in every way shape and form on Saturday to remain alive in the BCS race.  Will North Carolina have a memory of a lifetime after this one’s over?  The answer won’t befuddle most.
Why North Carolina Might Win: Last week, UNC RB Ronnie McGill pounded on Wake Forest for 117 yards on 29 carries, while quarterback Joe Dailey completed 13 of 19 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.  The balance provided by McGill’s running, behind a solid offensive line, and Dailey’s effectiveness throwing should give Notre Dame’s 61st ranked defense some problems.  The Heels won the time of possession battle against Wake Forest and must do so to keep Notre Dame’s potent offense off the field. The UNC run defense has been awful, but the secondary hasn’t been all that bad and could keep the Irish passing game from going ballistic.
Why Notre Dame Might Win
:  Carolina has one win against a D-IAA team.  Enough said, right? Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn has thrown one interception since the three he threw against Michigan in the Irish’s only loss on the season.  Over that same time period, he has thrown for 15 touchdowns and has a 21-to-four TD to interception ratio while throwing for 2,233 yards.  Taking into account the bowl game at the end of the year, he’s on track for nearly 3,800 yards and 36 touchdowns.  Not bad for a Heisman Trophy afterthought, huh?
Who to Watch:  Notre Dame defensive tackle Derek Landri isn’t going to earn too many All-America honors and is often overshadowed by Quinn and the offense, but he’s the key against McGill and the Heels running game.  Last week, he had 11 tackles against Navy and was clutch down the stretch against UCLA assisting on a few key tackles for a loss in the fourth quarter.  Landri must attract double team attention throughout the game to put his linebackers in position to make plays to stop the powerful running McGill.
What Will Happen:  The Irish won’t let Carolina stick around at all.  Quinn will attack Carolina’s secondary immediately deep downfield, loosening up the middle for running back Darius Walker, who had 103 yards rushing against Navy last weekend.  This one won’t be close.
CFN Prediction
: Notre Dame 45 ... North Carolina 13 .. Line: Notre Dame -28
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors) ... 2

Navy (5-3) at Duke (0-8) 1 PM EST  Saturday November 4
Why to Watch: Can Navy finally get its sixth with and punch its ticket to Charlotte for the Meinke Car Care Bowl, and after getting popped by Rutgers and Notre Dame over the last two weeks, it should be able to go on a run against Duke, Eastern Michigan, Temple and Army with a chance at a ten-win season. While the Midshipmen are trying to get ready to go on a run, Duke is looking to do anything to pull up out of the nation's longest losing streak with a 16-game slide. With the two best ACC teams this year, Boston College and Georgia Tech, up next before finishing up with North Carolina, the long season could get downright unbearable for the young team if it can't get by the Midshipmen.
Why Navy Might Win: Navy has the biggest problem with good passing teams wearing down as the games go on, but the run defense has been consistently decent. It's not a rock by any means, but it does enough, for the most part, to keep opposing teams from controlling games. The Duke passing game is way too erratic to bomb away with Thaddeus Lewis regressing over the last five weeks throwing 11 interceptions with only three touchdown passes. He's not good enough yet to outgun the Midshipmen attack if it's humming.
Why Duke Might Win
: Navy is one of the few teams Duke matches up well against. The Blue Devil front line is the team's strength with the run defense strong enough, normally, to hold up against just about anyone. It had its worst game of the year last week allowing 235 yards and four scores to Vanderbilt, but for the most part, this is a solid group that isn't likely to get pounded on. If Navy is going to run the ball, it'll likely have to do it on the outside.
Who to Watch: So how did sophomore
Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada hold up in his first start as the Navy quarterback? Not bad. Even though he didn't do anything through the air against Notre Dame, and got shut down in the second half, he ran the ground game well for a while. While he won't have to become an All-America bomber for Navy to win, he will have to be more effective through the air after struggling to read his receivers on the last three of his five passes. Don't expect him to get pulled for Jarod Bryant unless things go completely in the tank.
What Will Happen: Duke will be able to run the ball a bit, but it won't be able to keep up the pace. While the Blue Devil defensive line will keep this from getting out of hand, the offense won't do enough to overcome an early deficit.
CFN Prediction
: Navy 31 ..  Duke 17 ... Line: Navy -9
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors) ... 2