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2002 Independents Preview
Southern College Sports

TEAM SCHEDULES
CONNECTICUT
NAVY
NOTRE DAME
August 31
at BC
September 7
GA Tech
September 14
at Buffalo
September 21
Ohio
September 28
Ball St
October 5
at Miami
October 19
Temple
October 26
at Vandy
November 2
Fla Atl
November 9
Kent St
November 16
at Navy
November 23
at Iowa St
August 31
at SMU
September 7
NC St
September 21
NW’trn
September 28
Duke
October 5
at AF
October 12
Rice
October 19
at BC
October 26
at Tulane
November 9
ND (*)
November 16
UConn
November 23
at WF
December 7
Army (%)
August 31
MD (%)
September 7
Purdue
September 14
Michigan
September 21
at Mich St
October 5
Stanford
October 12
Pitt
October 19
at AF
October 26
at Fla St
November 2
BC
November 9
at Navy (*)
November 23
Rutgers
November 30
at Sou Cal
















SOUTH FLORIDA
TROY STATE
UTAH STATE
August 29
Fla Atla
September 7
N Ill
September 14
at Ark (#)
September 28
at Okla
October 5
at N Texas
October 12
Sou Miss
October 19
at EC
November 2
Char Sou
November 9
Memphis
November 16
BGreen
November 23
at Houston
August 31
at Neb
September 7
at UAB
September 14
S Utah
September 21
at Iowa St
September 28
at Missouri
October 12
at Miss St
October 19
at Marshall
October 26
Fla Atl
November 2
at Ark
November 9
FlA&M(^)
November 16
Utah St
August 31
Utah
September 7
at Neb
September 14
Idaho St
September 21
at Iowa
September 28
at Boise St
October 4
BYU
October 19
NM
October 26
at LA-Mon
November 9
NM State
November 23
at Troy St
November 30
at Mid TN















(*) Baltimore....(%) East Rutherford....(^) Mobile....(#) Little Rock


Independents Must-See Games
August 31
Notre Dame vs Maryland
August 31
Utah at Utah State
September 7
Troy State at UAB
September 14
Michigan at Notre Dame
October 5
South Florida at North Texas
October 26
Notre Dame at Florida State
November 30
Notre Dame at Southern Cal
December 7
Army vs Navy


Rating the Independents’ Schedules
Notre Dame
Troy State
Connecticut
Navy
South Florida
Utah State


Independent Coaching Changes
TeamOutIn
Navy
Charlie Weatherbie
Paul Johnson
Notre Dame
Bob Davie/George O’Leary
Tryone Willingham


Projected Independent Standings
TeamOverall
Notre Dame
7-5
South Florida
5-6
Troy State
5-6
Utah State
3-8
Connecticut
3-9
Navy
2-10


Individual Team Coverage
CONNECTICUT
Probable Wins
Florida Atlantic
Probable Losses
Boston College, GA Tech, Miami, Vanderbilt, Iowa St
Toss-Ups
Buffalo, Ohio, Ball St, Temple, Kent St, Navy
Returning Starters
Offense: 8…..Defense: 10
Projected Record
3-9
Official Site
UConnHuskies.com

The Huskies, one of the newest teams to Division I in college football, struggled through another season in 2001, going 2-9. This year the Huskies have a couple of winnable games on the schedule but have basically no chance of a .500 record. Uconn plays Boston College, Georgia Tech, Miami, Vanderbilt, and Iowa State, all from major conferences, this season and will likely lose all of those games. Eight offensive and ten defensive starters return from last year’s team and will provide experience to the 2002 Connecticut Huskies.


NAVY
Probable Wins
(none)
Probable Losses
SMU, NC State, Northwestern, Air Force, Boston College, Tulane, Notre Dame, Wake Forest
Toss-Ups
Duke, Rice, Connecticut, Army
Returning Starters
Offense: 5…..Defense: 4
Projected Record
2-10
Official Site
NavySports.com

Navy struggled through a depressing 0-10 season in 2001, and the future doesn’t look much brighter. Only nine total starters return to provide the team with experience, five on offense and four on defense. There don’t appear to be any sure-wins on the schedule this season, but they do have winnable games against Duke, Rice, Connecticut, and Army. Games against NC State, Boston College, and Notre Dame will be virtually impossible to win for Navy and new coach Paul Johnson, who takes over for Charlie Weatherbie. If Navy wins every game it has a chance to, the Midshipmen could go .500, but I expect a season with only a two or three wins in 2002.


NOTRE DAME
Probable Wins
Pittsburgh, Air Force, Navy, Rutgers
Probable Losses
Florida State
Toss-Ups
Maryland, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan St, Stanford, BC, So Cal
Returning Starters
Offense: 8…..Defense: 7
Projected Record
7-5
Official Site
UND.com

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are by far the best Independent team in 2002. A total of fifteen starters return from the 2001 team that went 5-6 overall. Eight of those players are from the offensive side of the ball while seven are from the defense. The Irish’s schedule is very tough, as always. There are a couple sure-wins mixed in with more than a half-dozen extremely difficult matchups. Games against Maryland, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, Boston College, Southern Cal, Florida State, and Pittsburgh will make the difference between a successful, bowl-bound ND team and a team that has a losing record. With new coach Tyrone Willingham in control, expect the Irish to be improved from last season and finish right at or just above the .500 mark.


SOUTH FLORIDA
Probable Wins
Florida Atlantic, Charleston Southern, Houston
Probable Losses
Arkansas, Oklahoma, Southern Miss, East Carolina
Toss-Ups
N Illinois, North TX, Memphis, Bowling Green
Returning Starters
Offense: 8…..Defense: 8
Projected Record
5-6
Official Site
GoUSFBulls.com

USF was a team that I thought would be successful last season, and they were. Eight starters from each side of the ball return from the Bulls team that went 8-3 overall. South Florida is upgrading its schedule and will play some very tough teams in ’02. There are still, however, some very winnable games, such as Florida Atlantic and Charleston Southern, on the schedule. Houston, Northern Illinois, North Texas, Memphis, and Bowling Green are tough tests for USF, the Bulls could win as many as three or four of these games. Arkansas, Oklahoma, Southern Mississippi, and East Carolina will be tough games for the Bulls to capture wins, but I expect USF to again have a successful season and have a record close to .500.


TROY STATE
Probable Wins
S Utah, Florida Atlantic, Florida A&M, Utah St
Probable Losses
Nebraska, Iowa St, Missouri, Miss State, Marshall, Arkansas
Toss-Ups
UAB
Returning Starters
Offense: 9…..Defense: 8
Projected Record
5-6
Official Site
www.troyst.edu/athletics

In their first season as a D-I team, the Trojans had a winning record at 7-4. Nine offensive and eight defensive starters return which should help TSU to another good season in 2002. Both kickers also return. The schedule is even stronger this year than last, with games against Nebraska, Iowa State, Missouri, Mississippi State (whom TSU upset last season), Marshall, and Arkansas. An in-state matchup with UAB is also on the schedule for 2002. The Trojans should pick up wins against Southern Utah, Florida Atlantic, Florida A&M, and Utah State, giving them a chance for a .500+ record in ’02. I expect TSU to be right around the .500 mark this season, possibly one game worse this year than last.


UTAH STATE
Probable Wins
Idaho State
Probable Losses
Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Troy St, Middle TN
Toss-Ups
Boise St, BYU, NM, LA-Monroe, NM State
Returning Starters
Offense: 4…..Defense: 6
Projected Record
3-8
Official Site
UtahStateAggies.com

The Aggies had a sub-.500 season in ’01, going 4-7 overall. Only ten starters, four from the offense and six from the defense, return from last year’s team. The schedule is not brutal but does provide a challenge. Games against Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, and Middle Tennessee will be very tough to win. Matchups with Idaho State, Boise State, New Mexico, LA-Monroe, and New Mexico State could be won by USU if the team comes together. I expect 2002 to be about the same as the 2001 season. The Aggies won’t be terrible, but I don’t think Utah State is in store for a winning season in 2002.



Independent Projections by Jonathan.
Southern College Sports
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