Another one I can't watch, but will be listening in. Dave Skoczen is okay, but I miss Frenchy. He definitely wasn't what he used to be, but he was fun to listen to a lot of the time and told the story of the game very well. The complaining went a bit too far toward the end, but I'll forever miss listening to him call games.
I haven't had the chance to watch much Liberty, so I'm thankful to a few of our posters giving a nice scouting report. With the report of the QB situation, the line has gone down a few points. The Zips are +26.5 as I write this. I look at Liberty as if they're a very good MAC team this year, perhaps the talent level of a team that's favored to win the MAC. With that said, they're in a bit of a rebuilding phase after losing a freak QB last year. And their coach, while a scumbag, is a hell of a coach. This is a very challenging game for Akron, but not impossible.
While the SFU game was a near disaster, I think this will give us a better idea of what we're looking at with the Zips this year than any of the other three games. Joe said after SFU that in camp leading up to the game, he felt a sense of excitement and looseness, and once we got to September 1, he felt a cloud of anxiety over the team, and they played like it. Fortunate to get that W. Just as Liberty was fortunate to get one over So. Miss to open the season.
The results the last two weeks have been extremely frustrating, so far beyond getting blown out when you know you're going to get blown out. A couple of fumbles in the red zone when moving the ball, dropped passes, dropped touchdowns, it's just been annoying. But I would much rather have that issue than overall constipation like we've seen on offense the last couple of seasons. At some point, you hope to see a breakthrough where those missed opportunities and field goals start turning into touchdowns. While I don't expect Joe to empty the playbook, I see this game as a great opportunity to show the college football world that Akron football isn't going to be what they think it is anymore. Liberty has won a lot recently, and their players know how to win. Akron's players have won just as often as they've eaten Thanksgiving dinner over the last 4 years.
I don't expect to win, but I truly expect this to be a semi-competitive game. I see no reason why it shouldn't be. Here's how I will look at the results:
1. Zips get blown out and Liberty covers with ease--we've got a looooong road ahead, and will be fortunate to win another game, let alone two in MAC play
2. Zips keep it within a couple scores, and maybe even have a chance to tie in the second half--IMO, this should be the minimum expectation at this point. While I'm not expecting this to be a championship team in 2022, I'm going to hold Joe to a high standard, you can see it in his eye and hear it in his voice that he is going to get this going, and that he's not just going to bow down and accept mediocrity, even this year. While I wouldn't mind if he plays this one conservative and waits until MAC play to turn it up, I would like to think he would realize how much of a statement and how meaningful a win or competitive fight would be.
3. Back and forth game and the Zips either lose close or win close--The more this group can figure out how to win and play in close games, the better this season will turn out. It's almost a blessing that SFU went the way it did. They saw themselves pull out a close ball game where they trailed a lot of the way. And it was perhaps a bit of a wake-up call. In the previous regime, though they didn't play in many close games, when they did they would pee down their leg (Miami 2019, OU 2020, WMU 2021).
I'm antsy. I'm ready to see Akron football turn the corner. It's been too damn long. I believe in you, Joe! Make us proud! Go Zips!