2013 football schedule analysis

Matthew Balsinger
Sports Editor

The 2013 Akron football schedule is nothing short of difficult. Of the 12 teams that the Zips are scheduled to tip off against, nine participated in bowl games this past season. Though there is considerable reason to doubt the Zips in the coming season because of their three consecutive 1-11 seasons, it is likely that we can expect to see more wins in the coming year of football. The official dates and times of each game have yet to be released.

UCF (away)
For the second year in a row, the Zips will open the season against the University of Central Florida. Turnovers doomed Akron in its opening day last year where they fell 56–14. Akron, being in its second year under head coach Terry Bowden and his exciting offensive schemes, will likely make this game much closer and exciting than the one last year, but it will likely yield the same result as last year.
Prediction: Loss

James Madison (home)
The Dukes are a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team which finished 7-4 last season, losing its only game against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team. James Madison has yet to beat an FBS team in its history and, statistically speaking, it isn’t likely that their win will be against Akron.
Prediction: Win

Michigan (away)
Since joining the FBS (formerly known as NCAA Division I-A), Akron has yet to defeat a Big Ten team, making the Zips 0-16 against Big Ten opponents. Technically speaking, Akron did defeat Ohio State once: in 1894 when the great John Heisman was the coach and quarterback of the Buchtel College team. It’s not likely that Akron will get its first victory against the Big Ten in 2013, unless Bowden can recruit the next
John Heisman.
Prediction: Loss

Louisiana-Lafayette (home)
In the past couple of seasons, Akron has played surprisingly well against Sun Belt teams. However, the Zips have managed to lose each of these meetings. This matchup against the Ragin’ Cajuns will not be. Lousiana-Lafayette is one of the nine teams Akron faces this year which attended a bowl game in the previous season; this will make a win for Akron a hard-fought uphill battle.
Prediction: Loss

Ball State (home)
The Cardinals are, is one of the nine teams Akron will face in 2013 that played in a bowl game the previous year. One of the glaring problems that plagued Akron last year was the lack of depth in the defense. Ball State has an impressive run offense, ranked 28th overall, as well as a good passing game, ranked 47th overall. If Akron cannot contain the run, the chance of victory is not likely.
Prediction: Loss

Kent State (home)
The Wagon Wheel Challenge between Kent and Akron is one of the most exciting intrastate rivalries because of the close proximity of the two schools. Akron has not defeated Kent since 2009, however, since 2000 neither team has been able to sustain a winning streak past three games. With Kent losing head coach Darrell Hanzell to Purdue, and Akron being in its second year with Terry Bowden at the helm, there’s a good chance the Zips can reclaim the Wagon Wheel in an exciting home game at InfoCision Stadium.
Prediction: Win

Ohio (home)
Ohio University ended the 2012 season on a disappointing note. The Bobcats were the first MAC team to receive an Associated Press top 25 ranking in the season, yet finished the season unranked. They were, however, one of only two MAC teams to win a bowl game in the post-season. Last year Akron played a surprisingly good game against the Bobcats, and was able to pull within a touchdown at the end of the game. Season momentum and team inspiration could help Akron pull an upset in this game.
Prediction: Loss

Toledo (home)
Toledo and Akron met last in the regular-season finale of the 2012 season. Akron entered the game 1-10 with almost nothing to gain by either winning or losing, yet played with heart. However, heart was not enough to overcome the Rockets. Toledo exposed holes in Akron’s secondary to rack up 327 passing yards and five touchdowns. Zips fans can probably expect a better game this year with the game being at home, however Akron will need to vastly improve it’s secondary in the 2013 season, or this game, like many others, will be a foregone conclusion.
Prediction: Loss

Bowling Green (away)
The old football saying, “Offense wins games, but it’s the defense that wins championships,” didn’t quite work out for the Falcons this year. After going 8-4 on the season, and having the 10th overall defense in points against, Bowling Green fell to #24 San Jose State in the Military Bowl. It’s important to note the defense in this game because in the 2012 meeting, Akron was held to only 36 yards in the second half, despite gaining 260 in the first. Akron’s best unit in 2012 was the offense, and it simply was unable to overcome the Bowling Green defense. If that defense continues to be as tough in the coming year, the Zips will have a tough time producing another win.
Prediction: Loss

Massachusetts (away)
UMass is not in much of a better situation than UAkron. 2012 was the Minutemen’s first season in the FBS, and their only win came against the Zips. On paper, Akron completely outplayed UMass in the regular season, but Akron still found a way to lose. As an FBS team, Akron holds a better position to improve next year, despite the setbacks faced in 2012.
Prediction: Win

Miami (away)
The 2012 game against the Miami Redhawks was one of the games that got away. This game boiled down to a shootout between Akron quarterback Dalton Williams and Miami quarterback Zac Dysert, a shootout that Akron ended up losing. Both quarterbacks will not return next year, making the outcome of this game up to whichever team can make the best pre-season and seasonal adjustments. On paper, this is a game that Akron can realistically win, and should have won last season.
Prediction: Win

Northern Illinois (away)
Akron has not beaten Northern Illinois in a football game since the MAC championship game in 2005. This however does not mean that it is impossible. Northern Illinois is a regular favorite to be in, and win, the MAC championship game. 2012 was a good year for the Huskies, as they ended the season with another MAC championship win and a #22 overall ranking. The 11 games before this one will greatly impact what both teams have to play for in this matchup; however, on paper, it doesn’t look very good for Terry Bowden and the Zips.
Prediction: Loss

Final Record: 4 – 8