Head coach Brian Kelly leads the Notre Dame program following an undefeated season and a runner-up spot in the BCS National Championship Game. (Stephen M. Dowell / March 3, 2013)
Here are five Independent college football games to watch this upcoming season.
Saturday, Sept. 7
The Buzz: The first game of a home-and-home series between these two programs kicks off at LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2013. These two programs have meet three times previously with the last time being in 2011 when BYU put an early scare into the then-No. 24 ranked Longhorns before Texas pulled out the eventual 17-16 victory. The last time a Texas team lost a non-conference game was Sept. 25, 2010, a 34-12 loss UCLA. BYU, on the other hand, is 12-14 against BCS teams under head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Utah at BYU
Saturday, Sept. 21
The Buzz: The ‘Holy War’ rivalry between Utah and BYU has been a bit one-sided with the Utes winning three straight and four of the previous five meetings. The last time that the Cougars beat the Utes was back in 2009, when Max Hall threw a touchdown in overtime to lift BYU to a 26-23 victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The series, as of late, has been one of vast contradictions. Four of the past seven meetings have been decided by seven points or less while the other two have been decided by 24 and 44 points respectfully.
Saturday, Oct. 5
The Buzz: For only the third time in each of its program’s histories, Notre Dame and Arizona State will meet on the gridiron when the teams travel to Arlington, Texas for a matchup at Cowboys Stadium. These two teams previously meet in 1999 and 1998 with the Fighting Irish capturing wins in both games. Notre Dame is coming off an undefeated season and a runner-up appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. The Sun Devils, under second-year coach Todd Graham, are coming off an 8-5 season, which saw them win their first bowl game since 2005.
Saturday, Nov. 23
The Buzz: Idaho was forced to make the transition to independence in football when the Western Athletic Conference decided to drop football. The Vandals are coming off a 1-11 season, which saw the school fire head coach Robb Akey in the middle of the season. Paul Petrino, the brother of former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, returns to Moscow to take over the program during this time of transition. Florida State is paying Idaho close to a $1 million for the meeting - $950,000 – which helped fill out the Seminoles non-conference schedule for 2013.
Army vs. Navy
Saturday, Dec. 14
The Buzz: One of – if not the best – rivalry in college football will renew for the 114th time when these two teams meet again at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Navy’s owned the bragging rights to this series, having beaten the Cadets 10 straight meetings including last season’s 17-13 thriller. In that game, Army held a 13-10 lead until Navy scored a touchdown with four minutes left in the game. The Black Knights drove down to Navy’s 13-yard-line with a little over a minute left before fumbling the ball back the Midshipmen, ending Army’s chance of beating Navy for the first time since 2001.
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