Your 0-6 Zips are playing the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday.
Before I talk about the game, let's talk Zips in general.
I told you back in August that this season will test Rob Ianello's leadership skills. He runs an authoritarian regime. And that seems to be much more effective on a ship steaming full speed ahead. Based on my anecdotal evidence, players are quicker to "give up" when the team is getting clobbered and they have to be in bed by 8.
It's Week Seven, and things have gone as badly as possible on the field. Will the Zips keep pushing?
I'm making this point for a very good reason. Every year in the MAC, you can see that some teams quit. It's the Eastern Michigan effect. You're playing for a crappy MAC team ... in front of empty stadiums ... in miserable weather. The negative personalities on the team become loudest and it takes a mountain of character to keep pushing.
The 2010 Zips team will run into at least one of these floundering foes. Maybe Ball State. Maybe Buffalo. So I feel a hard-pushing Akron team can win some games coming down the stretch. And that's something to feel OK about.
I think the disappointing part of the end of last season was not only the current pain of losing, but the knowledge that more losing was on the way.
If the Zips can win three of their last six, this season won't be remembered so much for the loss to Gardner-Webb.
Having said all that, Ohio (3-3, 2-1 MAC) is going to be a tough opponent. The Bobcats are a well-balanced team. Akron must force turnovers to keep it close. I would say that Akron can stack the box because Ohio is more run-oriented, but Northern Illinois assaulted the Zips on that strategy.
Akron can also hope the Frank "The Tank" Solich's team will be looking forward to next week against Miami (3-3, 2-0 MAC). But I think "overlooking an opponent" is just a stupid media cliche to take up copy/airtime.
Solich says he thinks Akron has gotten better each week this year. He's in the enviable position of a coach who is being asked to say something nice about the huge underdog. Joe Paterno has patented it.
But let's test that "getting better every week" theory:
After Syracuse? No. Loss to Gardner-Webb. After Gardner-Webb? No. Although there was nowhere to go but up, it was very ugly. After Kentucky? Yes. Played a good game. After Indiana? No. After Northern Illinois? Yes.
I think the Zips will keep it close this week, but lose for the seventh time.