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IRISH TRANSITION TOPS INDEPENDENTS’ STORYLINES
Thu, 12 Aug 2010 06:42 PM EDT

The Independents sent just one of three teams to a bowl game last season, but that would have been two had Notre Dame not declined its offer. Navy was very impressive in whipping Missouri in the Texas Bowl. For 2010, the Irish rebuild under new head coach Brian Kelly and must replace stud QB Jimmy Claussen. Army looks to be improved and could be gaining ground on Navy, who bring back just 12 starters from their 10-win team. Sports Scores

ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS
Head Coach: Rich Ellerson, 2nd year (5-7 SU)
2009 Record: 5-7 SU, 4-7 ATS
Offense: Triple-Option – Starters Returning: 8
Defense: Double-Eagle Flex – Starters Returning: 8

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: -6.6 (#93 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: -9.6 (#105 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 21 (#106 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – at E Michigan
9/11 – HAWAII
9/18 – NORTH TEXAS
9/25 – at Duke
10/2 – TEMPLE
10/9 – at Tulane
10/16 – vs. Rutgers (East Rutherford, NJ)
10/16 – at Rutgers
10/30 – VMI
11/6 – AIR FORCE
11/13 – at Kent St
11/20 – vs. Notre Dame (Bronx, NY)
12/11 – at Navy

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 5-7, 11-25 (31%)
Overall ATS: 4-7, 14-18 (44%)
at Home ATS: 1-4, 5-9 (36%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 3-3, 9-9 (50%)
vs Conference ATS: 1-0, 1-2 (33%)
as Favorite ATS: 0-2, 3-3 (50%)
as Underdog ATS: 4-5, 11-15 (42%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 26.42 (114)
Points Scored – Allowed: 15.3 (117) – 21.9 (35)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 275.3 (117) – 305.2 (16)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 4.38 (116) – 5.04 (33)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.12 (67) – 3.90 (54)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 5.35 (116) – 7.12 (61)
Turnover Differential: +0.4 (29)

2010 OUTLOOK
Despite finishing two games under .500, head coach Rich Ellerson’s first season at Army had to be considered a success since the Black Knights hadn’t won more than four contests in a campaign since 1997. With 16 starters returning, Army looks to be closer to contending for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy that has been owned by Navy for nearly a decade… The Black Knights picked up on Ellerson’s triple-option attack quickly and ranked 16th in the country in rushing offense (203.6 YPG). But they scored just 18 offensive touchdowns, so it will be up to sophomore quarterback Trent Steelman to engineer more scoring drives. As a freshman, Steelman became the first West Point plebe to start every game. He put up modest but encouraging stat numbers. He will lead an offense that will mesh in several new skill position players, but boasts four starters returning to the front line…The stop unit worked well in Ellerson’s Double-Eagle Flex system, ranking fourth in the nation in pass defense (153.0 YPG) and 16th in total defense (305.2). Eight starters return, including the entire linebacker corps…This season’s team has the chance to be the best in over a decade, but the schedule is much tougher than last year’s. Still, will one year of experience in Ellerson’s complex schemes already under their belts, the Black Knights could possibly be bowl eligible before the Navy game. Baseball Scores

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* ARMY is 1-10 ATS (-10 Units) revenging a loss against opponent since ‘07. The Average Score was ARMY 7.2, OPPONENT 26.6

NAVY MIDSHIPMEN
Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo, 3rd year (18-10 SU)
2009 Record: 10-4 SU, 6-6-1 ATS
Offense: Spread – Starters Returning: 7
Defense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 5

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +8.6 (#29 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +7.8 (#31 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 39 (#56 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/6 – at Maryland
9/11 – GA SOUTHERN
9/18 – at Louisiana Tech
10/2 – at Air Force
10/9 – at Wake Forest
10/16 – SMU
10/23 – vs. Notre Dame (East Rutherford, NJ)
10/23 – NOTRE DAME
10/30 – DUKE
11/6 – at E Carolina
11/13 – C MICHIGAN
11/20 – ARKANSAS ST
12/11 – ARMY
SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 10-4, 26-14 (65%)
Overall ATS: 6-6, 17-19 (47%)
at Home ATS: 2-2, 5-8 (38%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 4-4, 12-11 (52%)
vs Conference ATS: 1-1, 4-2 (67%)
as Favorite ATS: 2-5, 6-11 (35%)
as Underdog ATS: 4-1, 11-8 (58%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 31.14 (81)
Points Scored – Allowed: 28.0 (57) – 19.4 (18)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 356.1 (77) – 335.2 (34)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.36 (70) – 5.48 (66)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.79 (21) – 3.93 (60)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 9.62 (2) – 7.09 (58)
Turnover Differential: +0.6 (15)

2010 OUTLOOK
Navy covered mostly familiar territory in the 2009 season as it recorded its seventh-straight winning season and earned a seventh consecutive bowl berth (the Midshipmen beat Missouri, 35-13, in the Texas Bowl). What was unfamiliar was that head coach Ken Niumatalolo’s squad did not lead the nation in rushing for a fifth straight time, instead falling to fourth with an average of 280.5 YPG… The pieces are back that could help Navy regain its rushing title. Leading the way is quarterback Ricky Dobbs. Now a senior, he finished as only the third signal-caller in school history to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in a season with 1,203 and 1,031, respectively. He also set an NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 27. The Middies return their top five rushers, but the line returns just two full-time starters… The Midshipmen ranked a respectable 18th in the country in scoring defense (19.4 PPG) and 34th in total defense (335.2 YPG). They also have not give up a touchdown against the other two service academy teams. Coordinator Buddy Green has plenty of talent to work with, including five returning starters… Navy should have no trouble winning its eighth straight Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and, as long as it is bowl eligible, will play in the Poinsettia Bowl. Postseason eligibility should not be an issue, and the Midshipmen could very well improve on last year’s 10-win total.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* NAVY is on a 32-9 ATS (+22.1 Units) run on the road vs. teams with a losing record . The Average Score was NAVY 31, OPPONENT 22.6

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Head Coach: Brian Kelly, 1st year (First Year SU)
2009 Record: 6-6 SU, 3-8-1 ATS
Offense: Spread – Starters Returning: 6
Defense: 3-4 – Starters Returning: 8

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +4.2 (#48 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +7.1 (#35 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 41 (#48 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – PURDUE
9/11 – MICHIGAN
9/18 – at Michigan St
9/25 – STANFORD
10/2 – at Boston College
10/9 – PITTSBURGH
10/16 – W MICHIGAN
10/23 – vs. Navy (East Rutherford, NJ)
10/23 – at Navy
10/30 – TULSA
11/13 – UTAH
11/20 – vs. Army (Bronx, NY)
11/27 – at USC

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 6-6, 16-21 (43%)
Overall ATS: 3-8, 15-21 (42%)
at Home ATS: 2-5, 7-13 (35%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 1-3, 8-8 (50%)
vs Conference ATS: 0-1, 1-2 (33%)
as Favorite ATS: 1-8, 7-12 (37%)
as Underdog ATS: 2-0, 8-9 (47%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 40.58 (21)
Points Scored – Allowed: 30.1 (32) – 25.9 (63)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 473.0 (4) – 397.8 (86)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 6.69 (7) – 6.19 (103)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 3.84 (75) – 4.75 (101)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 9.26 (5) – 8.01 (103)
Turnover Differential: +0.3 (43)

2010 OUTLOOK
The roof caved in on the Charlie Weis era last November when the Fighting Irish dropped four games by a combined 17 points to stagger home with a 6-6 record. Notre Dame didn’t accept a meager bowl invitation and dismissed Weis after five mostly disappointing seasons, replacing him with Brian Kelly, who guided Cincinnati to back-to-back Big East titles and BCS bowl games. He has a wealth of experience to work with on defense but question marks on offense following the early departures of star quarterback Jimmy Clausen and Biletnikoff Award winner Golden Tate to the NFL…To say replacing a second-round draft pick in Clausen, who passed for 3,722 yards and 28 touchdowns with only four interceptions, presents a challenge is a serious understatement. Throw in the fact Kelly brings a spread concept to South Bend, and junior Dayne Crist has his work cut out. Crist has four games of experience. Notre Dame brings back the sources of almost 95 percent of its rushing yards, but the receiving corps has been depleted and only the two starting guards return to the front line…The Irish defense faltered down the stretch in allowing 23, 27, 33 and 45 points over the season-ending four-game slide. The unit is going back to a 3-4 alignment after last year’s experiment, and the return of eight starters should make good things happen…The defense should pull its weight, but Kelly and offensive coordinator Charlie Molnar need to be creative if the attack is going to hold up its end of the bargain. The schedule will be challenging at times with seven bowl teams from a year ago, so additional mediocrity can be expected in what is a transitional season. Basketball Scores

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* NOTRE DAME is on a 5-17 ATS (-13.7 Units) skid as favorites of 21.5 to 31 points . The Average Score was NOTRE DAME 32.3, OPPONENT 16


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