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.
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.
|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…
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:
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.
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.