Akron Zips 2023 College Football Preview
June 16, 2023
Record – 2-10
ATS – 6-4-1 (vs FBS)
The Zips didn’t get off to a great start in year one of the Joe Moorhead era as they had to slither past something known as St Francis (PA) in their opener (W 30-23, OT). They followed that up with losses to Michigan St and Tennessee by a combined count of 115-6 (!). Akron played better in the second half of the season and finished the year by blowing out Northern Illinois (W 44-12) and losing to Buffalo on the road by a single point.
Does Akron have the MINERALS to make a run at a bowl appearance?
Summer update in red
Akron Zips 2023 Outlook
The Zips didn’t do much on the ground LY (89 YPG, #125 FBS) but they did a good job of MATRICULATING the ball down the field through the air, particularly when QB DJ Irons was leading the way (#18 FBS passing offense). Irons is a veteran dual-threat presence (67%, 10-7 TD to INT, 314 rush, 4TD) and THE UNDERCUFFLER is a capable back-up without the mobility of Irons. Two of the three WRs that bagged 60+ receptions LY are back for duty including rising star Alex Adams (855, 9 TD) who’s one of the best at his position in the MAC. And don’t be surprised if Moorhead finds a way to get West Virginia TE TJ Banks into the equation in a big way. The Zips rushing attack should get a nice lift from transfer RB Lorenzo Lingard who had a cup of coffee with YOUR Miami Hurricanes, as well as the Florida Gators. Lingard looked good in the spring game so there’s reason for optimism. The OL returns three starters but they were disgusting when it came to protecting the passer LY (56 sacks allowed, 2nd worst FBS), but shockingly improved from the 2021 VIRTUAL TURNSTILE (63 sacks, dead last FBS).
Akron was mediocre across the board LY (#9 MAC run D, #8 pass efficiency D, last in sacks with 19) and there’s reason for concern once again in 2023. The DL needs to be totally revamped and there’s no way of knowing how many legit doods they have in the two-deep. Thankfully, star LB Bubba Arslanian is back for his SEVENTH season and he’s one of the best defensive players in the MAC. Four starters return in the secondary so there’s hope that they’ll do a better job defending the pass. Duke transfer safety Nate Thompson was a yuuuge pick-up through the transfer portal and he gives the Zips another good piece. Overall, this still looks like a below-average MAC defense unless they can come up with a way to get some SURPRISE PENETRATION.
UPDATE – left the program / retired
RUH ROH. The Zips need to reload at PK and find a new punter. They’ll definitely miss Shockey Jacques-Louis on KR (13-305, 23.5).
Overall – The non-conference agenda is much less daunting than the 2022 version. Road games at Temple, Kentucky, and Indiana are tough, but it’s not unthinkable that they could be competitive in a couple of those tilts. Morgan St should be an automatic win and they miss Toledo in MACtion.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Bowling Green (Oct 21)
This will be their eighth consecutive week on the gridiron and they’ve got the WAGON WHEEL rivalry game on deck. Kent St has won four of those BAD BOYS in a row.
Season Win Total
Market consensus June 16 <wide variety of prices are available>
Over 3.5 -120
Under 3.5 +100
Assuming they go 1-3 to start the season they’ll need to bag three MAC games to hit the “over”. That seems very doable given the way the conference looks in 2023.
The Zips blocked an impossible 11 (!) punts in 2017. Akron ended up winning the MAC East that year but they lost to Toledo by a score of 45-28 in the MAC Championship Game.
The Zips just might be a SURPRISE PACKAGE in an East division lacking many (any?) supremely-talented teams. The offense will be able to SCORE the FOOTBALL but the defense will have to be much better than expected if Akron plans on making a bowl game. Unlikely, but not impossible. We’ll call for four or five wins in Joe Moorhead’s 2nd year and expect them to pull at least one significant upset along the way. Let’s do ittttt, Zips Nation!