“You’ve got to hand it to Akron’s head football coach J.D. Brookhart. Do I have my disagreements with some of his coaching decisions (ahem, 3-3-5 base defense, spread offense, really?), you bet. But you have to give the man his due. He’s the guy who led the Zips to their first Mid-American Conference championship.””
You’ve got to hand it to Akron’s head football coach J.D. Brookhart.
Do I have my disagreements with some of his coaching decisions (ahem, 3-3-5 base defense, spread offense, really?), you bet.
But you have to give the man his due.
He’s the guy who led the Zips to their first Mid-American Conference championship.
He guided the Zips to their only bowl game appearance.
And possibly his grandest accomplishments are games in which the Zips lose, and often lose big.
Since becoming the head man for the Zips in 2004, Brookhart is the only MAC coach who has not scheduled a Division I Championship Subdivision (formerly D-I AA) team.
Since that same 2004 season, the non-conference slate of games have featured match-ups against Big Ten teams six times, four against Big East foes, as well as two Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
His 2-10 record against these schools may not blow anyone away, but give Brookhart credit, he’s not afraid to play anybody.
Which brings me to my point:
Akron has by far the most jacked-up schedule of any team in the MAC, and one of the most confusing in all of college football.
Furthermore, it’s not our coach or athletic department that’s to blame.
The culprits for this are the Mid-American officials who put together these unnecessarily complex conference schedules that end up hurting teams in the long run.
When have you ever heard of a D-I program being forced to have back-to-back bye weeks, especially in the heart of conference play?
Also, how is it that Akron, a MAC East team plays three teams in the MAC West, while somehow never facing East foe Miami of Ohio?
Another pressing issue with Akron’s schedule is the timing of the Kent State game.
Let’s be honest, there are some high school games that attract more attendance at the Rubber Bowl than the Zips sometimes do.
However, anyone who knows what college ball is about will tell you that the Battle for the Wagon Wheel is as exciting and energetic as mid-major football gets.
Why then, have we played The Flashes in weeks four, five and six, respectively the previous three seasons?
Wouldn’t it make a little more sense to schedule your arch-rival towards the end of the season when every other big-time rivalry occurs?
Or better yet, instead of playing Buffalo on national television, why not bring the Flashes into town then?
There’s a reason Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan, USC-UCLA, and other big name rivals face off late in the season.
Now I’m not saying that Akron-Kent is on the level of those rivalries, but it certainly is on the same as Bowling Green-Toledo and Ohio-Miami, traditional MAC showdowns that normally occur at the end of the year.
The fact of the matter is the upcoming years are crucial for Akron athletics, especially football.
There will be a lot of buzz around Summa Field at InfoCision Stadium.
The main way to maintain that buzz is to put a quality team on the field, which is Coach Brookhart’s responsibility.
But, while the MAC will probably never generate the fan base of the Big Ten or Big East, Mid-American Conference officials need to do their part and see that its teams are put in position to shine when given the opportunity.
And scheduling the biggest rivalry in the conference during the first half of the season is certainly not the way to go about it.