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The Akron Zips Are Falling Down

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This is going to be one of those articles that I really regret. It’ll be Week 7 and I’ll still be getting tweets from my 20 followers about how horribly wrong I was. Then again, the stats say I’m not wrong.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

You hear that creaking sound? That’s the Akron Zips bandwagon being overloaded with fans.

Can you blame them for the enthusiasm though? Jumping from a one win season to a five win season, including a heartbreaking almost-win to Michigan on the road, is no small feat. However, in compiling a 5-7 record, the Zips were outscored by 100 points, which, limiting it to MAC games (which helps us better compare MAC teams without strength of schedule differences from non-conference play), the Zips were still outscored by 60 points. The combined record of the other teams outscored in MAC play? 3-29. That doesn’t bold well for the Zips. Let’s see what else doesn’t bode well for the Zips.

Quarterback

Kyle Pohl was not good at throwing the ball last year. Kyle Pohl did not add any value by rushing the ball last year. Kyle Pohl is quite similar to the quarterback on a one win team last season. Do not believe in Kyle Pohl.

RK PLAYER TEAM ATT YDS YDS/A TD INT AY/A
1 Matt Johnson BGSU 369 3467 9.4 25 7 9.90
2 Keith Wenning BALL 498 4148 8.3 35 7 9.10
3 Jordan Lynch NIU 404 2892 7.2 24 8 7.46
4 Tyler Tettleton OHIO 371 2851 7.7 21 12 7.36
5 Joe Licata BUFF 402 2824 7 24 8 7.32
6 T.O. Owens TOL 318 2230 7 18 9 6.87
7 Cooper Rush CMU 312 2349 7.5 15 15 6.33
8 Tyler Benz EMU 217 1497 6.9 10 9 5.95
9 Colin Reardon KENT 316 1957 6.2 12 9 5.67
10 Kyle Pohl AKR 402 2438 6.1 14 10 5.64
11 Zach Terrell WMU 251 1602 6.4 8 8 5.59
12 Austin Boucher MIA 184 1036 5.6 7 8 4.43
13 Brogan Roback EMU 116 640 5.5 4 5 4.27
14 A.J. Doyle MASS 235 1274 5.4 6 11 3.83
15 Mike Wegzyn MASS 101 603 6 3 7 3.45
16 Tyler Van Tubbergen WMU 183 930 5.1 4 10 3.06

Adjusted yards per attempt is a stat that adjust yards per attempt for touchdowns and interceptions. Kyle Pohl was the 10th best quarterback by this model. Now some would say that Kyle Pohl was better at the end of the season, when Akron went on a 4-1 tear. Of course, that tear came against two of the worst teams in the MAC (UMass and Miami). Ignoring that fact, Kyle Pohl would have an AY/A of 6.84, which was quite similar to Toledo’s T.O. Owens. Most Akron fans would love to have a quarterback who led his team to a 7-5 record, except for the fact that Akron doesn't have Toledo’s…

Run Game

Toledo managed to get to seven wins on the back of a good, not great quarterback and a run game that was insane. Toledo managed 6.54 yards per attempt. Let’s go to our trusty table to see if Akron can match:

Team Attempts Yards TD Yds/Att
TOL 390 2551 24 6.54
NIU 275 1521 14 5.53
BGSU 432 2357 25 5.46
BALL 376 1932 22 5.14
KENT 310 1584 13 5.11
EMU 382 1919 12 5.02
CMU 347 1633 15 4.71
BUFF 468 2187 20 4.67
AKR 315 1405 8 4.46
OHIO 376 1628 14 4.33
WMU 316 1331 10 4.21
MASS 342 1229 5 3.59
MIA 122 389 2 3.19

Akron once again finds itself in the bottom half of the league. To give them the benefit of the doubt, they did face three tough rushing defenses in the non-conference slate along with one FCS team (rush stats for MAC only games were not readily available). Even with another half a yard per attempt, Akron would be a middle of the road run offense. If yards gained are more your thing, Akron was one of four teams not to eclipse 1,500 yards. The other three: Miami, UMass, and Western Michigan. Not company you want to keep. With a subpar passing game and a subpar rushing game, the defense would have to be lock down in order for Akron to threaten other teams in the MAC.

Defense

Team Points Allowed
BGSU 122
Buffalo 123
CMU 184
Ball State 195
Kent State 196
NIU 205
Akron 209
Toledo 216
Ohio 219
Umass 266
WMU 269
Miami 271
EMU 392

Akron didn’t fare too badly here, but they didn't do anything special either. Looking at only MAC games (once again to take away non-conference scheduling), the Zips come in seventh out of 13th. When your passing game, running game and defense are all in the  bottom half of the league, you can't expect a team to compete for a MAC championship. MAC Championships were not built on mediocrity.

Akron received three votes to win the MAC East. They received one vote to win the MAC Championship game. Neither of these things will happen unless there’s a massive improvement in at least one, if not more, areas of the team. The only benefit the Zips have going for bowl-ing right now is their schedule, which features four MAC teams that went a combined 7-41 last season, and Howard. With a team like this, though, those wins aren't even guaranteed. Good luck Zips, you’ll need it to meet these expectations.