Conference Breakdown: Independents

5 things to know about the Independents

Biggest game: Stanford at Notre Dame, Oct. 15

Player to always watch: Not to make everything about Notre Dame, but the Irish might have the country's best QB situation.

Team nobody wants to play: Army! It's always Army.

Coach who really needs wins: Two coaches are brand new, and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly is coming off a 10-win season. Things are probably settled here for now, but Army's Jeff Monken needs to show progress in year three.

Don't be surprised if ... BYU makes the Poinsettia Bowl. (Seriously, they're basically already locked into it. Announced it and everything.)

Notre Dame

The Irish made it through a brutal 2015. Now it's time to contend for a Playoff spot.

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Now would be a great time for a breakthrough. Can a new head coach deliver?

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These tight losses have to start becoming tight wins. At least there's experience.

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"UMass is better-equipped than I thought to survive as an independent," Bill writes.

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