Head coach: Stan Brock
Last season: Army finished a weak schedule (by Independent team standards) with a 3-9 record. The Black Knights led the nation with 37 turnovers. Carson Williams took over at quarterback midway through his true freshman season and showed he could be effective. He also reminded fans he's just a freshman by throwing four picks in a blowout loss at home to Air Force. Army ran the ball fairly well, but also gave up almost 200 yards per game on the ground. The Zips will play Army in the inaugural Patriot Bowl Sept. 1 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Best player: Junior running back Wesley McMahond
Offense: Twenty-four interceptions is pretty bad. They weren't all Williams fault, and he should come back as a smarter passer. Brock said Williams doesn't quite have the job locked down, but he'll probably start the opener. Just like when Army blew out Akron two years ago, the Black Knights will be a running team. They weren't last year, but they need to rethink that because the entire backfield will return. McMahond averaged 4.4 yards per carry and did not fumble once. He might not be so effective, however, behind an offensive line that Brock said was one of the spring's question marks.
Defense: The top defensive players were seniors in 2006, and the defense still stunk. They surrendered 4.8 yards per carry and only forced four interceptions and 11 sacks. To be blunt, the talent isn't there, CollegeFootballNews.com says. The top returning tackler, strong safety Caleb Campbell, is coming off an injury. Brock thinks his defensive line will be "rock solid."
How the Zips match up: Dennis Kennedy should begin his season with 100-yard day in Cleveland. The new Akron quarterback (whoever that is) will wait until next week for his first test at the Horseshoe. But we will see whether the Zips defensive front can hold up against a solid runner.
Way-too-early prediction: Akron 24, Army 6