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Toledo-Akron Preview: Simple Goals

The goal for every football team, entering a game, is to win it. Maybe there is more or less at stake, but in this case, really, that's all you got here. 8-3 Toledo hosts 1-10 Akron.


TV: 7 p.m., ESPN2

I'll take the visiting team first. Their refreshingly honest goal set by Terry Bowden heading into the season, after back-to-back 1-11 seasons, was to improve on that and get to two wins. He was quoted as saying "Your goal is to go out there and win every game, [but] as far as goal-setting, two is going to be their first major step in heading our program in a new direction."

They got halfway there by drilling Morgan State 66-6. And lo, they've had their chances for the other one. Overtime loss at FIU. Ten-point halftime leads against BG and Kent State. One-possession losses to Miami and Ohio. A freaking 23-20 lead at Tennessee. Then that UMass loss. That was the backbreaker.

Well, they get one more shot at the second win, but like a standard set of college boys they procrastinated and now are behind the curve and need to cram study to meet their goal.

For Toledo ... well, the division is already lost. But if they achieve their goal of "a win" tonight, then they'll be at 9-3, a regular season mark they haven't hit since 2003. That would be a rather admirable job for the Worst Hire In College Football™. Also it improves their bowl resume, better opponent, blah blah blah.

I really want to promote this game and say, hey, Akron might make it close. They've played close games before! Yeah, but they've also become shrinking violets against actual good competition. The only thing that might make this interesting: David Fluellen is out for the game with that high ankle sprain sustained against NIU last week. The long-locked Cassius McDowell will likely get the bulk of the carries instead, which again makes it close but still not enough weapons out of the artillery shed to give the Zips defense a breather.

But it is a football game on a Tuesday night. Just don't expect anything outrageously entertaining, unless a 48-28 game is amusing to you. Or if your goal is to simply watch football.