Here is a great story about how J.D. Brookhart, a head coach with an offensive background, assembled the MAC's best defense.
It ran in today's USA Today.
Zips will go 9-3: Or so Sports Illustrated says. Akron will still lose the MAC Championship to Northern Illinois. That will put the Zips in a Jan. 7 matchup against Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl, SI predicts.
The Zips are SI's 56th best team. NIU is the MAC's highest ranking at 41st. The Zips and Huskies are followed by Toledo (61st), Miami (70th) and Bowling Green (74th).
If you go strictly on SI's rankings, Akron will go 11-1 this season. The only opponent ranked higher is Penn State at 19.
The Zips' second opponent, N.C. State, is 67th and expected to finish 3-9. SI lists the Wolfpack's coach, Chuck Amato, as one of the three coaches on the hot seat.
SI also released a Big Man on Campus for each school. Not surprisingly, Luke Getsy is "it" on Buchtel Common. Out of morbid curiousity, I checked Kent State's BMOC (hoping it would be the trainer or waterboy). It's defensive end Danny Muir.
Speaking of Kent State, it is the Flashes' fault that SI ranks the MAC 10th of 11 conferences: "The teams at the top can play with some of the big boys, but the league gets dragged down by its weak sisters."
SI profiled Penn State wide receiver/running back/kick returner Derrick Williams, who runs a -- you might want to sit down for this -- 4.25 in the 40-yard dash. The lightning-fast sophomore sat out much of his freshman season with a broken arm, but he's healthy now. A lot of people focus on linebacker Paul Posluszny and tackle Levi Brown, but Williams could easily burn the Zips for a deep play.
Not every publication loves Akron: No Zips are in CollegeFootballNews.com's top 200 players in the country. Northern Illinois has a few.