2019 College Football Previewpalooza: Independents

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Who’s Hot – Army

It’s a damn travesty the Black Knights aren’t ranked in the AP preseason top 25. Then again, preseason polls are meaningless, so yeah, ignore the media allegedly cover every inch of this sport! Watch Army! They’re really good! Jeff Monken’s either going to stay at Army forever and start playing and beating big schools like Oklahoma every week to where they’re a power, or he’s going to bring his deadly-effective, triple-option offense to your rival and beat the hell out of your school for the rest of eternity.

Who’s Not – UMass & New Mexico State

I’m just saying guys, you combined for 7 wins last year. Really, what’s worth FBS status that you can’t get dropping down and possibly becoming an FCS power?

Purgatory – BYU

Remember when the Cougars beat Arizona and Wisconsin on the road in the first 3 weeks of last season? They lost to Cal at home in between those games. That’s pretty much what they are at this point: Good enough to upset somebody that’s not ready for them, bad enough to drop the games where 8-5 and 7-6 seem like the most likely outcome.

Clock’s Ticking – Notre Dame

These are essentially the only facts you need to know about major college football in the new millennium:

  1. Notre Dame doesn’t play any FCS opponents and thus has as strong a schedule as any team in the country.
  2. Not committing full time to playing in a conference means Notre Dame doesn’t recruit and doesn’t challenge themselves enough to compete down-for-down with the best teams in the country.
  3. Notre Dame should absolutely be in the College Football Playoff if they go 12-0, no matter how shaky it might be, unless 4 other teams also go 12-0. They will then get hammered by someone in the playoff semifinal.
  4. This is ok because we get to watch Notre Dame suffer! Who doesn’t like that?!?
  5. Brian Kelly should try to make these rules change ASAP.

Best Future Pro – Julian Okwara, Notre Dame

A dominant pass rusher with a brother already in the NFL, it’s terrifying to think about what happens if the senior end gets even better than 8 sacks from 2018.

Best Offensive Player – Zach Wilson, BYU

The freshman QB stepped in after Tanner Mangum got hurt and was a revelation, including going 18-for-18 for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns to beat Western Michigan in the Potato Bowl.

Best Defensive Player – Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame

The Navy transfer was an instant-impact addition to the secondary and has a knack for big plays on top of being the Irish’s second-leading tackler last year.

Player of the Year – Kelvin Hopkins Jr., Army

This is the main reason you should watch the Black Knights, who are going to be very good. Monken uses the senior quarterback to his fullest potential, particularly, in a Military Bowl SLAUGHTER of a Houston team that has the potential to be quite good this season. If Hopkins Jr. goes for another 1,000 yards and 17 TDS on the ground, Army will again have the nation’s most powerful rushing attack.

Best Team – Notre Dame

And this is no slight on Army, who again you should watch because they’re going to win 10 games and should be considered for an NY6 bid if nobody else makes a stronger push. The Irish will have another great defense with Okwara, Khalid Kareem and Daelin Hayes wrecking havoc up front and Gilman, Jalen Elliott and Troy Pride Jr. making plays in the secondary. There are concerns about adjustments on offense as Jafar Armstrong and Tony Jones Jr. take over full time for Dexter Williams in the backfield, and QB Ian Book needs some explosive playmakers to emerge at receiver. But the defense is legit enough that the Irish will still be able to win 10 games and get to the Orange Bowl if they can’t reach the playoff.

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