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Rasor's Edge on MAC Championship

By mrasor Published: December 1, 2005


Here's another Rasor's Edge. With so much excitement going on this week, I couldn't help but write a second column...

Akron reached the magic number of six wins by beating Kent State last week. Many college football fans assume that a team becomes bowl eligible after reaching that mark. Look deeper into the NCAA Postseason Regulations Handbook and you'll see that six isn't so magical after all.

To be bowl eligible, a team must also have a winning percentage above .500. The Zips (6-5) will play Northern Illinois (7-4) for the Mid-American Conference Championship tonight at 7 in Detroit. After doing some first-grade math, you'll see that if Akron loses, it also loses bowl eligibility.

However, if Akron wins, the Zips will travel to Detroit again for the Motor City Bowl. The MAC champion will probably play Houston, Memphis, Connecticut or Louisiana Tech.

This game is, without a doubt, the biggest game in University of Akron history. Sure, the Zips already won the MAC East, but with a loss to NIU, the Zips are only a .500 team. They won't even be bowl eligible. A win tonight and the 2005 Akron football team is the best in the program's 114-year history.

Fear not. I deeply believe Akron will win. Forget "experts" who haven't watched a MAC game all year. Danny Sheridan for USA Today said NIU will win by 13.

I have watched an average of two MAC games a week. You might consider me an Akron homer. However, remember that after the Akron/Miami game I said the team looked like "a squad of undisciplined thugs."

I am certainly not a homer.

Pay close attention to these three reasons why the Zips will be victorious tonight on ESPN.

1) Akron already beat NIU. It was a game the Zips dominated in the first three quarters. Akron was winning 42-21 at the end of the third quarter. It was nearly a blowout until the Zips secondary quit playing. Akron still won the game in overtime after a Diontre Henry interception and Brett Biggs touchdown. That kind of meltdown won't happen again. The Zips defense has matured into the team's greatest asset since that game.

2) NIU doesn't have its starting quarterback. Phil Horvath is one of the MAC's best QBs. He broke his arm four weeks ago and won't play tonight. Horvath's backup, Dan Nicholson, has done a decent job in two games since then. However, Akron should have an advantage because nobody roasts kangaroos like Horvath. On Sept. 24, Horvath threw for - brace yourself - six touchdowns on 486 yards.

3) Akron seems to have Garrett Wolfe's number. He is one of the nation's best running backs. Still, the Zips shut him down for 52 yards on 21 carries. Wolfe did not score a touchdown in that game.

The athletic department paid to send 800 students to Detroit with free tickets and free transportation. Once you get there, be loud in support of the Zips - so much is riding on it.

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