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Part 6 – Independents and group of 5!

If you still haven’t chosen your college team then we’re finishing our series with the independents and group of five!

With the cancellation of the 2020 British American Football Season, there is no doubt we all have a massive football-sized hole in our lives. Although the NFL is extremely popular amongst not only Britballers but people in the UK in general, there is still only a minority of people following football at the College level. So, if you are looking for something new to fill that Britball void, here is a guide to the Division 1 FBS College teams and why you should choose to follow them. Whether you choose to your team to follow based on team colours, location or current record, there will be an option for you.

In this article, we will look at those teams that aren’t in a Power 5 conference, such as independents and group of five teams.

You can check out the other conference pieces here: ACC (10/7) Big 10 (11/7) SEC (12/7) Big 12 (13/7) PAC 12 (14/7) Independents and group of five (15/7)

Perhaps Power 5 conference teams aren’t for you, and that’s okay. Here are some of the other options open to you within Division 1 College Football.

American Athletic Conference announces Men's Basketball All ...
KSN-TV

American Athletic Conference

American East American West
Cincinnati Bearcats Houston Cougars
Connecticut Huskies Memphis Tigers
East Carolina Pirates Navy Midshipmen
South Florida Bulls SMU (Southern Methodist University) Mustangs
Temple Owls Tulane Green Wave
UCF (University of Central Florida) Golden Knights Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Some Teams to Highlight in the American East

Cincinnati Football Preview. What You Need To Know, Season Prediction
College Football News

Cincinnati Bearcats

Formed – 1885 | Home Colours – Red and Black | All-time Record – 627-591-50 (.514) | National Titles – 0 Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-3

Familiar Players drafted – Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (2013) Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles (2011) Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles (2007)

Rivals – Multiple

The Bearcats are coming off the back of two 11-win seasons, finishing ranked in the Nations top-25 and winning their Bowl Game. Cincinnati has had seven winning seasons over the last 10 years and only failed to reach a bowl game in five times since 2000. A fun team to watch with some good players on show if you like a smaller market team.

UCF Golden Knights

Formed – 1979 | Home Colours – Black and Gold | All-time Record – 265-213-1 (.554) | National Titles – 1 Claimed |2019 Record – 10-3

Familiar Players drafted – Shaquill Griffin, Seattle Seahawks (2017) Shaquem Griffin, Seattle Seahawks (2018) Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos (2006) Asante Samuel, New England Patriots (2003)

Rivals – South Florida

Honestly, UCF currently has the most annoying fanbase in college football. Their claimed National title is from 2017 when they weren’t even in the playoffs. They are an incredibly young programme but have put together some strong seasons including six years of 10 wins or more since 2010. Their only real down season in the last decade was 2015 when they went 0-12.

Army-Navy Football: What the game means to the students - Against ...
Against All Enemies

Navy

Formed – 1879 | Home Colours – Navy Blue and Gold | All-time Record – 722-571-57 (.556) | National Titles – 1 Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-2

Familiar Players drafted – Keenan Reynolds, Baltimore Ravens (2016)

Rivals – Army, Air Force, Notre Dame

The first of the military Schools. For those who prefer to serve at sea, the Navy midshipmen are the team for you. Did someone say Triple Option offence? Navy is always near the top in time of possession due to their insistence on running a triple-option offence. The Army v Navy Game is a massive spectacle every year and it’s worth tuning in for, even if the teams combine for around five passes each time they meet.

Conference USA Logo - JMI Sports
JMI Sports

Conference USA

C-USA East C-USA West
Charlotte 49ers Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Florida Atlantic Owls North Texas Mean Green
FIU (Florida International University) Panthers Rice Owls
Marshall Thundering Herd Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Blazers
Old Dominion Monarchs UTEP (University of Texas El Paso) Miners
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers UTSA (University of Texas San Antonio) Roadrunners
Marshall Thundering Herd takes the field - YouTube
Youtube

Marshall Thundering Herd

Formed – 1895 | Home Colours – Kelly Green and White | All-time Record – 575-534-48 (.518) | National Titles – 1 FCS Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-3

Familiar Players drafted – Randy Moss, Minnesota Vikings (1998) Chad Pennington, New York Jets (2000) Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (2007) Vinny Curry, Philadelphia Eagles (2012)

Rivals – Multiple

One of the few teams of note in Conference USA. The Thundering Herd not only boast a pretty unique name but have brought us a couple of significant figures in the NFL World. None more significant of course than the one and only Randy Moss.

fbs-independents | Cut The Cord
Cut The Cord

Independents (FBS)

Independents
Army Black Knights
BYU (Brigham Young University) Cougars
Liberty Flames
New Mexico State Aggies
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
UMASS (University of Massachusetts) Minutemen
Black and Blue: Army Black Knights college independents group five
Underdog Dynasty

Army Black Knights

Formed – 1890 | Home Colours – Black, Gold and Grey | All-time Record – 696-526-51 (.547) | National Titles – 3 Claimed | 2019 Record – 5-8

Rivals – Navy, Air Force

The next instalment of military schools, the Army Black Knights. Much like Navy, the Black Knights also run a triple-option offence. However, it’s fair to say they don’t run it as successfully as Navy does. However, they went to, and won, three straight bowl games in 2016, 2017 and 2018. More importantly, however, in that three-year spell, they ended a 14-year losing streak to their fierce Navy Rivals and even produced a three-game win streak of their own.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Formed – 1887 | Home Colours – Blue and Gold | All-time Record – 908-327-42 (.727) | National Titles – 11 Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-2

Familiar Players drafted – Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers (1979) Jerome Bettis Los Angeles Rams (1993) Tim Brown, Los Angeles Raiders (1988) Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts (2018) Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys (2014)

Rivals – Multiple

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are another one of the most famous teams in all of college football. Despite the fact they are widely associated with the ACC, they are an Independent. The Fighting Irish sit 4th on the All-Time winning percentage ranks, have claimed 11 National titles and have given us some huge NFL names. In the last 10 years they have only missed out on one bowl game and that season was the only time they dipped below eight wins. Certainly, a team to consider, if you can stomach their team colours.

Mid-American Conference college independents group five
Fox News

Mid-American Conference

MAC East MAC West
Akron Zips Ball State Cardinals
Bowling Green Falcons Central Michigan Chippewas
Buffalo Bulls Eastern Michigan Eagles
Kent State Golden Flashes Northern Illinois Huskies
Miami Ohio RedHawks Toledo Rockets
Ohio Bobcats Western Michigan Broncos
2019 Western Michigan Football college independents group five
Western Michigan University

Western Michigan Broncos

Formed – 1906 | Home Colours – Brown & Gold | All-time Record – 576-459-24 (.555) | National Titles – 0 Claimed | 2019 Record – 7-6

Familiar Players drafted – Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (2017) Terry Crews (yes that Terry Crews) Los Angeles Rams (1991) Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (2006)

Rivals – Central Michigan

There isn’t too much to shout about in the Mid-American, however, the Western Michigan Broncos became prominent in 2016. They were under now Minnesota Coach PJ Fleck and they rowed the boat all the way to a 13-1 Record and a new year six bowl game where they, unfortunately, fell just short in a loss to Wisconsin. Although they have not reached those heights since, they haven’t had a losing season since 2013.

Mountain West Football college independents group five
UNLV Scarlet & Gray Free Press

Mountain West

MW Mountain MW West
Air Force Falcons Fresno State Bulldogs
Boise State Broncos Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Colorado State Rams Nevada Wolf Pack
New Mexico Lobos San Diego State Aztecs
Utah State Aggies San Jose State Spartans
Wyoming Cowboys UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas)
Air Force's 2019 college independents group five
Air Force Academy Athletics

Air Force Falcons

Formed – 1955 | Home Colours – Blue & Silver | All-time Record – 401-329-13 (.548) | National Titles – 0 Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-2

Rivals – Army & Navy

The final instalment of the military schools and you would assume these guys run the Air Raid offence. You’d also be wrong, because I guess unsurprisingly, Air force runs the triple-option offence. Although the rivalry between the Air Force and the other two military schools does not draw as much attention, they are still strong rivalry games. Traditionally, both Army and Air Force struggle well behind Navy, however, in 2019, the Falcons went 11-2 Including a win against Washington State in the Cheez-It Bowl.

Boise State Broncos

Formed – 1933 | Home Colours – Blue & Orange | All-time Record – 461-169-2 (.731) | National Titles – 2 Claimed (1958 JC, 1980 d-1 AA) | 2019 Record – 12-2

Familiar Players drafted – Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (2015) Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (2014) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012)

Rivals – Multiple

Boise State, the team with the highest winning percentage of teams currently in D1 FBS. It is worth noting not all these wins were at the FBS level, however. The Broncos aren’t as old as a lot of teams and have spent even less time in college footballs top tier. Despite this, they are still a pretty well-known team. They have slick uniforms and they play their home games on a blue field nicknamed “smurf turf” don’t believe me? Go check it out. Probably the most famous moment in Boise State history, however, is the 2006 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. Where they ran a “Hook and Ladder” on 4th and 18 that tied the game, then ran an “HB pass” for a TD and a Statue of Liberty in overtime to win. Trust me you want to go check it out.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors college independents group five
College Football News

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Formed – 1909 | Home Colours – Black and Green | All-time Record – 565-463-25 (.548) | National Titles – 0 Claimed | 2019 Record – 10-5

Familiar Players drafted – Jason Elam, Denver Broncos (1993) Adrian Klemm, New England Patriots (2000)

Rivals – Multiple

I’m going to be honest here, the only reason I’m including the Rainbow Warriors here is that I know there are at least a few of you who would choose them as your team simply for the name. I couldn’t really blame you as it is certainly unique, but you would only be punishing yourself. Despite a strong 2019 campaign, generally, they are not a good team.

2019 Sun Belt Conference college independents group five
Wikipedia

Sun Belt

Group A Group B
Appalachian State Mountaineers Arkansas State Red Wolves
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers LA-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Georgia Southern Eagles Louisiana Monroe Warhawks
Georgia State Panthers Southern Alabama Jaguars
Troy Trojans Texas State Bobcats
college independents group five - App State Athletics
App State Athletics

Appalachian State Mountaineers

Formed – 1928 | Home Colours – Black and Gold | All-time Record – 629-339-28 (.646) | National Titles – 3 Claimed (Div. 1 FCS) | 2019 Record – 13-1

Rivals – Georgia Southern & Western Carolina

The last five seasons have seen App State have no fewer than nine wins and as many as 13 in 2019. Since moving to the Sun Belt in 2014, App State failed to make a bowl in only their first season and out of the five Bowls they have been to since 2015, they have managed to win every single one.

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