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Conference Preview: Independents

crystalballIn an effort to address all the teams and conferences that make the fall so exciting, OTP’s All-Star Editorial staff is putting on their prognosticatin’ hats and taking a stab at each of the conferences and all of the teams in FBS. Alan and Edge are giving you the conference’s order of finish, the records, the superlatives for offense and defense, and the biggest surprise for each conference. At the conclusion of our series, we’ll have the Bowl Projections for all 34 Bowl Games.

OTP Conference Preview: Independents

independents
It’s sort of ironic that we lump all the teams who want no part of a conference in with each other as if they were one. Clearly, they aren’t, and their records and successes don’t hinge on one another, but for simplicity’s sake, we did it this way. I’d hate to have the only 3 teams not covered and prognosticated be one of the most tradition rich programs in history and two service academies.

When it comes to this crew of 3, clearly Notre Dame gets the most attention and publicity, but with that comes an enormous amount of pressure, expectations, and demanded excellence. For Navy, they are looking to take that next step in terms of success and become a team capable of stealing the independent headlines and attention from the Fighting Irish. For the Black Knights of Army, they are looking for improvement as they try to rebuild a historical mystique that they once possessed.

Bowl Tie Ins:
Notre Dame automatically qualifies as an at-large selection in the BCS in years where it finishes in the top 8 of the BCS rankings. Additionally, Notre Dame may be selected by either the Gator Bowl or the Sun Bowl instead of their normal conference tie-ins. Navy will play in the 2009 Texas Bowl and the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl should they be bowl eligible those years. Army will play in the 2009 EagleBank Bowl should they be bowl eligible that year. All three of these teams remain eligible for selection as a replacement team when the conferences do not have enough eligible teams to meet their obligations.

Alan’s Independent Predictions
Order of Finish:
Notre Dame: 11-1
Navy: 9-4
Army: 5-7

League MVP: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Offensive MVP: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Defensive MVP: Joshua McNary, DL, Army

Biggest Surprise This Season: The Fighting Irish end up in the final 8 of the BCS, earning themselves a BCS berth.

Edge’s Independent Predictions
Order of Finish:
Notre Dame: 9-3
Navy: 7-6
Army: 4-8

League MVP: Golden Tate, Notre Dame
Offensive MVP: Alex Teich, Navy
Defensive MVP: Kyle McCarthy, Notre Dame

Biggest Surprise This Season: Notre Dame thumps DickRod in Ann Arbor but fails to impress against Nevada and Michigan State. Weis keeps his job, and his FUPA is guaranteed to be fed for another season. Flame on, RV.

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