AN ABSURDLY PREMATURE ASSESSMENT OF: AKRON - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - SMQ spins the wheel for a hastily-rendered, too-soon look at a random school's prospects for the fall, sans inevitable academic and criminal suspensions, sudden transfers, debilitating injuries and other miscellaneous misfortunes of the long summer
Today: AKRON - - - - - Zips? Champions? Even they may have to do it again to believe it
PAST FIVE SEASONS: 28-30 (24-17 MAC) - 2005: 7-6 (6-3 MAC; Champions) lost Motor City Bowl STARTERS BACK, ROUGHLY: 16 (8 Offense, 8 Defense) WHAT'S CHANGED: The expectations for a conference champion returning a projected all-leaguer at quarterback, its entire offensive line and most of its defense will be far, far above any this program has dealt with in the decades since it moved out of the Ohio Valley Conference, where it wasn't all that great to begin with. Winning any fewer than eight games, a mark the school hasn't reached in its I-A life, might be viewed as a disappointment. WHAT'S THE SAME: Aside from copping the St. Louis Rams' uniform look, there's quarterback Luke Getsy, one-time wonder-to-be at Pittsburgh, eased the transition to the post-Charlie Frye era by ripping ever-accomodating MAC defenses for 23 touchdowns (to 12 interceptions) and 3,400-plus yards, including three 400-yard games. Two of those came in the postseason, where Akron hadn't been despite a few winning seasons under Coach Lee Owen since it lost to Rhode Island in the first round of the 1985 Division I-AA playoffs - itself only the second postseason appearance in the program's 116-year history.
Plus: all five offensive linemen are back up front. SUBTRACTION BY SUBTRACTION: Gone, however, are all the guys who handled the ball besides Getsy - that's all-MAC receiver Dominik Hixon, his colleague Jason Montgomery and 1,200-yard rusher Brett Biggs. Into their place come a bunch of guys with not many career touches; Montreal native Jabari Arthur, who moved to receiver when Getsy beat him out for the QB job, and tight end Kris Kasparek are the only guys back with some experience with the ball in their hands. OVERLY OPTIMISTIC POST-SPRING CHATTER: Worried about replacing Biggs, leading rusher and second-leading pass-catcher? Hell no - woe upon the wretched who try to impede the path of Dennis Kennedy to the end zone:
So, that takes care of that then... REASON FOR HOPE: Three straight winning seasons defuses the fluke stuff; the Zips are a full-fledged MAC contender with a championship to show for it and one of the league's best players leading its defense. REASON TO BE AFRAID, VERY AFRAID: The championship was kind of flukey - six other league teams matched the Zips' 5-3 MAC record and four others their seven overall wins; that tie-breaker crapshoot is unlikely to fall the same way again. How good will Getsy be with totally new talent around him? IF THIS TEAM WERE ANY POP CULTURAL, HISTORICAL, POLITICAL, LITERARY OR OTHERWISE NOTABLE FIGURE, IT WOULD BE... Gerald Ford: pretty much stumbled into the top spot by not screwing up as badly as everyone around them, by accident, and probably not for very long. HONESTLY, WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE SCHEDULE, SMQ'S THINKING... Returning talent probably = 7 wins again, but seeing as the Zips weren't exactly lighting the league on fire all of a sudden, not another championship, and not a second bowl game...at least, not one in America.
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And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.
AWWW!! The totally nicest people, like, ever!...
How much football does he watch? Dude's got insights on -everybody-, and by everybody, I mean everybody. Throw in some of the best writing in the blogosphere, and we're talking about a daily must-read.
- Burnt Orange Nation
SMQ starts to sound more and more like the Gregg Easterbrook of our ideal memories every day - whip-smart, systematic, omnivorous in his intellectual tastes and yet unafraid of the cheap joke.
- Every Day Should Be Saturday
Sunday Morning Quarterback is one of our favorite football blogs on the internet.
- State Fans Nation
Sunday Morning Quarterback is a killer football blog if you are a college football junkie. It is run by one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and analytical writers in the college football blogosphere...The guy is thorough and detailed and provides a level of analysis you are not going to find anywhere else .
- Bruins Nation
Just another hack writer who hasn't done one lick of research...
...the pride of Southern Mississippi ever since Brett Favre turned into an ESPN soap opera, has the sort of prose knack that can keep you riveted to a preview about any one of D-IA's scrubbier members ... should be given gifts.