Random thoughts for your Independence Day-Week reading pleasure…

• Speaking of independence, how about its homonym “independents”? As in, two independent teams are in a great position to make some noise this college football season.

Notre Dame is one, obviously. With a reasonable schedule mix of strong and weak games, the Irish might be back in the College Football Playoff for a second straight year.

The surprise team is Army though. The Black Knights have a typical slate of relatively comparable competition with the glaring exception of a matchup with Michigan the second weekend of the season.

I have predicted Michigan to make the College Football Playoffs, but the contest against Army will be no pushover. By season’s end, that may be Army’s only loss.

• Do yourself a favor while you are free this week: Check out the AHSAA Radio Network Facebook page and watch some of the interviews Caleb Brooks is doing with players, coaches and legends from various Alabama high school sports. Also, if you have a suggestion for an interview, let us know via that page. We are always looking for great people to have on our Sportz Blitz and AHSAA programming.

• UConn’s decision to switch back to the Big East Conference raised some eyebrows. It is a clear indication the school will deemphasize football in favor of basketball. My guess is more schools will begin to do the same as the gap between the Power Five Conferences and everyone else not named Notre Dame grows.

• Most Alabama fans won’t worry much about Tua Tagovailoa missing the scheduled appearance at the Manning Passing Academy due to a “minor” hamstring issue. Not me — I am worried. Not because I think the issue isn’t minor but more so because there seems to be more and more “minor” injuries with the record-setting quarterback.

• On the bright side, should Tagovailoa remain healthy, he will most likely rewrite the Alabama quarterback record book. If he plays just a little more in each game than he did last year, he will do just that.

• I bought Athlon’s “College Football Preview” while at the beach last week. Not because I need it (all the info I need is on the trusty internet) but because of nostalgia. These magazines used to signal football was right around the corner and I still get excited when they hit the shelves.

Then I started reading the previews and lo and behold, the magazine predicted Malik Willis to be Auburn’s starting quarterback — the same Malik Willis who transferred months ago. So much for learning anything.

Have a great Fourth of July everyone! May your fireworks dazzle, your BBQ be delicious, your beer be cold and your family leave just when you want them to!

Luke Robinson is a regular columnist, contributor to BMetro, AHSAA Radio Network Broadcaster and Sportzblitz Team Member.