College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Independents Spring Version 2022

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Independents Spring Version 2022

College Football Features

College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Independents Spring Version 2022

By

Independents college football rankings and predictions with the realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.


The independents are all in interesting situations.

Former Big 12er BYU won’t be on its own for much longer, Liberty will once again be a thorn in the sides of several Power Five teams, Army should rip through its schedule, and New Mexico State, Notre Dame, UConn, and UMass are all starting the 2022 season with new head coaches.

The rankings are based on how good the teams should be and not the final projected records. Keeping in mind that this all could/might/will change when we make the final calls in August …

2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools

1
Notre Dame Fighting Irish

2020: 10-2 2019: 11-2 2018: 12-1

There’s no adjustment period allowed – the Irish are good enough to rock right away under Marcus Freeman. The offensive backfield welcomes in a few new starters, but whether it’s Tyler Buchner or Drew Pyne, the quarterback play will be fine. The offensive line will be terrific, and the defense will be just good enough with another strong defensive front and the addition of Northwestern S Brandon Joseph easing the loss of Kyle Hamilton.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of time to get all of the new pieces in place … uhhhhh, no. The season kicks off at Ohio State. The schedule has enough wins to be okay in for a good year, but if there’s a loss to the Buckeyes there can’t be a misfire at home against Clemson or on the road at North Carolina and USC. There’s a shot, though, the Irish are favored in every game after the opener.

Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1
Realistic Worst Case Record: 7-5
2022 Notre Dame Prediction, Spring Football Version: 9-3
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 10-2
Notre Dame 2021 Final Record: 11-2
Notre Dame 2022 Schedule

2
BYU Cougars

2020: 11-1 2019: 7-6 2018: 7-6

There’s a whole lot to like, especially on the defensive side with almost everyone of note coming back. The offensive side loses parts – like RB Tyler Allgeier – but transfers Christopher Brooks (Cal) and Houston Heimuli (Stanford) should keep the production going behind another strong line. Jaren Hall is about to be a national big thing at quarterback.

As always, BYU isn’t ducking anyone. It plays Notre Dame in Las Vegas, has to go to Oregon and Ball State, and will get a taste of Big 12 life with a date against Baylor. Throw in a home game against Arkansas and road trip against Stanford, and this should be fun.

Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-6
2022 BYU Prediction, Spring Football Version: 9-3
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 8-4
BYU 2021 Final Record: 10-3
BYU 2022 Schedule

3
Army Black Knights

2020: 9-3 2019: 5-8 2018: 11-2

It’s Army, so replacing parts isn’t a big deal – it’s always Next Man Up without a problem. However, the O line needs to come up with a few new parts of the puzzle to pave the way for veteran QB Tyhier Tyler and the typical Black Knight types of backs. Led by pass rushing terror Andre Carter, the Army defense that’s expected to return seven starters should be terrific.

As always, the Army schedule is a mix of layups, two-foot putts, and a few quirky-tough road games. Wake Forest is the only game against a Power Five program, and the trip to Coastal Carolina is the only other dangerous road date. Anything less than a monster season with this slate will be a major disappointment.

Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1
Realistic Worst Case Record: 7-5
2022 Army Prediction, Spring Football Version: 9-3
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 8-4
Army 2021 Final Record: 9-4
Army 2022 Schedule

4
Liberty Flames

2020: 10-1 2019: 8-5 2018: 6-6

Can Charlie Brewer crank up his career trying to replace Malik Willis? The former Baylor/Utah quarterback has a slew of nice talents to work with, the transfer portal is helping the line, and the defense should be okay with decent depth helping to overcome a slew of lost starters.

The Flame schedule has a slew of interesting tests – at Oklahoma State, BYU, at Wake Forest, at Arkansas, Virginia Tech – to go along with a slew of light scrimmages. Getting bowl eligible shouldn’t be a problem – there are six built-in wins – and there should be an upset or two along the way.

Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-6
2022 Liberty Prediction, Spring Football Version: 8-4
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 9-3
Liberty 2021 Final Record: 8-5
Liberty 2022 Schedule

5
UConn Huskies

2020: 0-0 2019: 2-10 2018: 1-11

It’s going to tear a wee bit of time for the Jim Mora Jr. era to take off, but the program hit the transfer portal hard – led by QB Ta’Quan Roberson rom Penn State along with a few key offensive linemen – to instantly add a boost to a relatively experienced team. Losing DT Travis Jones and LB Omar Fortt hurts, and it’s going to take a long while before the D is okay, but there shouldn’t be as many brutal blowouts.

Central Connecticut State, FIU, UMass. Those are the three winnable games, and everything else will be a fight. The Huskies will likely be double-digit underdogs against everyone else, but there might be a sneaky fight in there somewhere late in the year if the defense can improve over the first two months.

Realistic Best Case Record: 4-8
Realistic Worst Case Record: 1-11
2022 UConn Prediction, Spring Football Version: 3-9
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 2-10
UConn 2021 Final Record: 1-11
UConn 2022 Schedule

6
New Mexico State Aggies

2020: 1-1 2019: 2-10 2018: 3-9

New head coach Jerry Kill will make this team physical right out of the gate. The running game will try to be the star, and there’s a decent rotation of backs to start with. The defense, though, has to be night-and-day better, and that’s going to take a whole lot of time and more transfers to help out the depth.

There aren’t any sure-thing wins considering the UMass and Lamar games are on the road, but a home date against FIU and, potentially, battles with Hawaii and San Jose State could be interesting. Beat New Mexico, and it’ll be a good year in many ways, and there will be one stunner.

Realistic Best Case Record: 5-7
Realistic Worst Case Record: 1-11
2022 New Mexico State Prediction, Spring Football Version: 3-9
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 2-10
New Mexico State 2021 Final Record: 2-10
New Mexico State 2022 Schedule

7
UMass Minutemen

2020: 0-4 2019: 1-11 2018: 4-8

There was a time when UMass was playing in playoffs, earned conference titles, and enjoyed winning seasons on a regular basis.

Don Brown was 43-20 in his five seasons as the Minuteman head man from 2004 to 2008, but it’s going to take a bit to get back to that level with a whole lot of work to do on the lines, with the attack, and everywhere else.

There should be a win over Stony Brook, and road games at New Mexico State and UConn should be 50/50 games, but the goal this year will be to simply improve. It’s going to be a fight to get past three wins without a massive upset or two.

Realistic Best Case Record: 5-7
Realistic Worst Case Record: 1-11
2022 UMass Prediction, Spring Football Version: 2-10
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 3-9
UMass 2021 Final Record: 1-11
UMass 2022 Schedule

2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams

Latest

More College Football News