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Temple - Akron Preview: Zipping Into Oblivion

I almost feel bad for the Akron Zips. It is never easy to build a program back up from the bottom, especially in a culture that is truly grown accustomed to losing. (Trust me, I know - I've been a Pittsburgh Pirates fan for as long as they've been losing.)

You have a crowd of people (the student body, and to a lesser extent the university faculty and staff) that has never had a whiff of a winner. Since the start of the 2009 season, the Zips have scored 14 points or less 12 times (that's half their games). In that same span, they've allowed less than 20 points four times. That's no way to win football games, but this season isn't about winning for Akron.

Much more important is to see them making progress. Any improvement over last season's one win is progress, any discovery of legitimate talent is a coup. Unfortunately after playing a team like Ohio State last week, the Zips still have no good idea what they're made of (in reference to the rest of the MAC, at least, where it matters).

Temple does not have this problem. Junior running back Bernard Pierce is healthy and pounding again, posting his 10th 100 yard game as an Owl last weekend against Villanova. Mike Gerardi didn't look amazing under center, but with Pierce in support running behind an experienced line, he didn't have to - and even if he isn't the solution, Chester Stewart provides another option.

The Owls appeared to lose a big chunk of defensive talent what with all the names that popped up in the NFL draft, but it certainly didn't seem to be true against the Wildcats - Brandon McManus's missed 48 yard field goal was about the only other unimpressive detail of that game. Akron should provide a similarly light opponent for Temple, which is of course great for Temple heading into a showdown with Penn State, and awful for Akron heading into a road match with an even better Cincinnati offense.

Temple 38, Akron 3 - Bernard Pierce 24 carries, 165 yards, 2 TD