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The 2011 season will feature a new kid on the block in the college football independent world.  The Brigham Young Cougars made the move from the Mountain West Confernce to independence.  BYU has a long and strong tradition in college football and should do fine as an independent.  The Cougars have a solid fan base, great alumni and their own television network.  The other FBS independents are as follows: Army, Navy and Notre Dame.  Here are my top returning quarterback’s from independent schools:

1. Dayne Crist, Sr, Notre Dame- 2010 stats: 174-294 (59%), 2,033 yds, 15 td’s, 7 int’s. Perspective: Crist returns to the Irish for his senior season but is not the outright leader in the quarterback race.  Crist is the favorite to win the job but has been battling fellow sophomore Tommy Rees in a hard fought battle.  In the end I expect Crist to win the job.  I think he has to tools to have a great season in Brian Kelley’s high powered attack.  I see Notre Dame as a dark horse to play in a BCS game this season.

2. Jake Heaps, So, BYU- 2010 stats: 219-383 (57%), 2,316 yds, 15 td’s, 9 int’s. Perspective: While Heaps struggled early on in his freshman campaign at BYU, he finished the season strong.  Because of this, most of the fanbase expects Heaps to have a breakout season and lead BYU to special season.  There is no denying Heaps talent.  He has all the tools to be yet another great BYU quarterback and now has a year under his belt.  Look for him to have a monster season and lead BYU to a double digit win season.

3. Trent Steelman, Jr, Army- 2010 stats: 71-133 (53%), 995 yds, 7 td’s, 3 int’s; 197 car, 721 yds, 11 td’s. Perspective: Steelman is the perfect quarterback for Army’s triple option attack.  He has great quickness and makes great decisions.  The key for Steelman is to stay healthy as he was injured of and on in 2010.  Army had one of its best seasons in a long time and capped it off with a 16-14 win over SMU in the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl.  I see them doing better in 2011.  I predict the Black Knights to go bowling again.

4. Kriss Proctor, Sr, Navy- 2010 stats: 2-5 (40%), 33 yds; 32 car, 304 yds, 4 td’s. Perspective: Proctor takes over the Navy option attack from Ricky Dobbs who had a stellar career for the Midshipmen.  Proctor has done well in the time he has played as a backup.  The Navy offense should not miss a with Proctor as the starting quarterback.

2011 Predictions:

1. BYU- look for the Cougars to have a breakout season led by the sophomore Jake Heaps.

2. Notre Dame- the fighting Irish should be back in 2011.  Expecting a big turnaround in Brian Kelley’s second season.

3. Navy- expect the usual from the Midshipman.  They will have one of the top rushing offenses in the country and get to a bowl game.

4. Army- the Black Knights had one of its better season in a long time in 2010.  They won 7 games including a win over SMU in the Armed Forces bowl.  Look for more of the same in 2011.


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