Brad’s 2022 College Football Preview- FBS Independent Analysis and Predictions

Every summer since 2007 I have created an intricate set of college football predictions for each upcoming season.  This year is no exception, as I will be using my blog over the next few hours to publish my 16th annual college football preview guide which will contain 18 entries in all. The records below reflect each team’s predicted regular season overall record followed by their conference record.  These records include conference title games for the two division champions but exclude bowl games which will be previewed later on in a separate column on this blog.  The teams marked in bold font are the ones predicted to gain bowl eligibility.  Without further ado, here are my predictions for the seven independent teams in FBS for 2022.

Army (9-3)

Positional Strength: Running Back

Positional Weakness: Wide Receiver

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: at Coastal Carolina (September 3)/vs. Navy (December 10)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: vs. Air Force (November 5)

Bottom Line: The Knights bring one of their most experienced teams in recent memory to face one of their easiest schedules in recent memory. As a result, this team could get double digit wins and even flirt with an undefeated season.

Notre Dame (7-5)

Positional Strength: Offensive Line

Positional Weakness: Quarterback

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. BYU (October 8)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Syracuse (October 29)

Bottom Line: The Irish will take a sizable step back in year 1 under Marcus Freeman due to a brutal schedule and inexperience at the skill positions. The fact that this team is ranked in the top 5 of both major preseason polls is a complete and total joke.

Brigham Young (7-5)

Positional Strength: Offensive Line

Positional Weakness: Running Back

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Baylor (September 10)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Stanford (November 26)

Bottom Line: The Cougars are talented and experienced as expectations are extremely high for this squad coming off a 10 win season in 2021. However, the schedule is tougher in 2022, as BYU plays two teams in last year’s New Years Six (Notre Dame, Baylor), another team that played in a Power 5 conference title game (Oregon), and an SEC team that can match the Cougars physicality (Arkansas). As a result, I think the Cougars will take a step back this season.

Liberty (7-5)

Positional Strength: Defensive Backs

Positional Weakness: Linebacker

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: at Southern Miss (September 3)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: vs. UAB (September 10)

Bottom Line: Charlie Brewer should thrive as Willis’ replacement at QB, as long as Freeze can design an offense that fits his skill set. The Flames have a very strange schedule in which they will likely be double digit favorite in 6 games while also being a double digit underdog in 5 others. In fact, their opener against Southern Miss is really one of the few games that I envision being close during their entire season. Liberty will bowl once again this season, and they shouldn’t have too much difficulty doing it given the number of cupcakes on their schedule.

UMass (3-9)

Positional Strength: Running Back

Positional Weakness: Quarterback

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. New Mexico State (October 29)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Arkansas State (November 12)

Bottom Line: Hopefully Don Brown can do better than this New England counterpart Randy Edsall at reviving his downtrodden former program. It will take a while for this team to get good or even decent, but I think the schedule has enough winnable games on it for the Minutemen to achieve their first multi win season since 2018.

New Mexico State (2-10)

Positional Strength: Wide Receiver

Positional Weakness: Offensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. New Mexico (October 15)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at UMass (October 29)

Bottom Line: I find it interesting that all three FBS doormat independents (New Mexico State, UConn, and UMass) all brought in older, big named coaches to try to resurrect their programs. No one is going through a more dramatic scheme change as New Mexico State’s offense who basically ran an unsuccessful air raid attack under former coach Doug Martin and will now transition into a run-based multi-formation offense. Obviously that transition will take time, and it certainly doesn’t help that the Aggies have to break in 9 new offensive starters while under going this regime change.

UConn (1-11)

Positional Strength: Wide Receiver

Positional Weakness: Quarterback

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: Central Connecticut State (September 3)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: vs. UMass (November 5)

Bottom Line: The Huskies may not be the worst team in FBS, but I think they will have the worst season in 2022 due to the fact that they have to break-in a new QB and head coach while also facing a schedule that features 8 games against teams that went bowling last year. Their only real hope for FBS wins come on October 8th at FIU and November 5th against UMass.

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