The Zips kick off the Rob Ianello era tomorrow against one of the highest-profile teams ever to visit Akron.
Of course, you'll want to thaw the chicken wings and buy your beer. But you should also read these links to prepare for gameday.
LINK -- Senior linebacker Doug Hogue sees this as Syracuse's coming-out party. Generally, you say that going into a game in which you are the underdog, but OK. That article talks about junior quarterback Ryan Nassib, who now starts after waiting behind Greg Paulus.
LINK -- Syracuse coach Doug Marrone has a file folder on both of the Zips' coordinators. On the other side of the ball ... The Orange defense has been raving about the diversity of attack that Marrone, who is also Syracuse's offensive coordinator, has delivered during camp.
LINK -- The Associated Press reports that Jose Cruz has been named Syracuse's starting tight end. Yes, that Jose Cruz. He landed with the Orange, after a short stint at Hofstra. Apparently, he's one of Marrone's most improved players.
LINK -- Akron is a 7.5-point underdog. I think I would go with the Zips. I really can't decide if Akron will win. It will probably come as a revelation while I'm playing golf tomorrow before the game.
LINK -- You should really know the story of Ron Powlus, Akron's quarterbacks coach who was in the national spotlight in the mid-90s as the QB at Notre Dame. The ABJ's Tom Gaffney wrote a really fascinating feature about Powlus and his career. Ianello told me a couple weeks ago that "We will all be working for Powlus someday." He's a guy to keep an eye on.
LINK -- Andy Alleman will take over for Frank Stams as the Zips new color commentator on the radio. Congrats to Andy. He has always been very media-astute. He would give me weekly updates during his mission to improve his NFL draft stock. Andy will do a great job in the booth with my favorite constituent, Steve French, who persistently asks for a Rec Center in Stow. (Unlike Barack Obama, we can't just print money, so the Rec Center isn't going to happen.)
Akron opened the season tonight with a big, bold, all-caps statement -- a 3-0 win at No. 4 North Carolina.
Two goals came from freshmen, Eric Stevenson and Perry Kitchen. Hermann Trophy candidate Darlington Nagbe logged the Zips' third goal. Goalkeeper David Meves, who should be a candidate for something, made some tough saves for a shutout.
The Zips travel to No. 3 Wake Forest for a Sunday evening game.