Don’t look now.
But the University of Akron football team is favored this weekend against Miami.
Yes, the Zips are favored against the RedHawks on the road, in a conference game.
No, the Apocalypse isn’t upon us.
However, the Zips being favored in any Division I college football game represents the equivalent of dogs and cats living together — it’s mass hysteria.
Yes, that is hyperbole. The reality is that the Miami football program began a precipitous tumble even with the presence of quarterback Zak Dysart last year, as the RedHawks went 4-8. This year, a winless start hastened the departure of coach Don Treadwell, leaving Mike Bath as interim head coach.
But Miami beat the Zips 56-49 last season at InfoCision Stadium, and UA coach Terry Bowden remembers it well.
“It’s well documented, everything they’re going through with the coaching change and the difficulty they’re having,” he said. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: They’re a good team with a bad record.”
And in two conference games, the RedHawks have shown signs of life, losing 21-9 to Central Michigan and 17-10 to Massachusetts.
“They’ve rallied around their head coach and they’ve played well under him,” Bowden said. “I think they’ve responded to the situation.”
Bowden revealed in his Tuesday news conference that had the Zips, who had the ball but trailed Northern Illinois 27-20 with several minutes left, scored that he was going to allow his team to go for a 2-point conversion.
“I’ve been to a couple of overtimes and each one is different, but I really think that when the other team has a better running and passing attack, a better red-zone offense, your best bet is to give your kids a chance to win and go out there and go for two,” he said. “Give it a shot and try to win it right there.”
Quarterback Nick Hirschman will be available this week if needed, Bowden said.
“He’s getting in No. 2 work,” Bowden said. “There’s going to be some mobility issues with Nick, but he’s a tough kid. He’s a blue-collar quarterback so I think he’s going to be just fine.” … Defensive tackle Moses McCray and offensive lineman Henry Orelus were dinged up in Saturday’s game, but were back practicing Tuesday.
Zips basketball coach Keith Dambrot probably breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday as wingman Jake Kretzer returned to practice. Kretzer missed an extended amount of time because of back issues and recently finished his treatment.
Meet the teams
The men’s and women’s basketball teams will hold their annual Meet the Team event at Rhodes Arena on Friday. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the event will precede the Zips’ volleyball match against Western Michigan at 7 p.m. The event and the volleyball match — which will air live on Time Warner Cable Sports — are free to the public.
It will also serve as the last chance for fans to take pictures with the men’s team as part of the “Back the Zips” campaign that is this year’s theme.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.