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What Does Progress Look Like?


GP1
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Moving forward, what do you think progress will look like in the next 2-3 years? Going 6-6 and making a bowl would be good. Meaningful late season games that have us in the hunt for the MAC Championship would be fun.

 

Other thoughts are:  How does the progress tie to making the football program benefit the players, students, alumni, fans and greater NE Ohio community?

 

I'm going to throw out one idea and let you folks figure out the rest. Miami and Kent are playing for the MAC East Championship this weekend. What is one of the big things that helped them get to this point?  Both teams are undefeated at home this year. Over half of all MAC teams will finish the season with a home record of .500 or worse. That's terrible. It's a symbol of how easy it is for a team to win six games with a small level of competency in a bad league.

 

Want to benefit the players by playing meaningful games late in the season?  Win your home games.

 

Want to benefit the students?  Win home games so they feel good about going to the games.

 

Want to benefit the alumni?  Win home games so they feel good about going to the games.

 

Want to benefit the fans?  Win home games so they feel good about paying money to go watch a school they didn't even go to play football.

 

Want to benefit the greater NE Ohio community?  Win home games so they feel good about the school and see it as a valuable part of where they live. Winning puts a shine on things. Losing cakes everything in mud.

 

Expecting progress in the form of making a bowl game in 3 years isn't unreasonable.  

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In front of Infocision fans, the home Zips have won one Division 1-A game in the past 4+ years (beginning November 22nd, 2017).

 

By comparison - The Cincinnati Bearcats just stretched their home field winning streak to 23 games.

 

They've won 23 in a row...I can't imagine the Zips winning 23 home games combined during the balance of my lifetime.

 

Next season the Zips don't play a home game against a D-1A opponent until at least October 1st. If they win on October 1st, it will break a streak where Zips fans have walked out of Infocision a loser all-but-once over 1774 days.

 

If they lose, the count keeps climbing.

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30 minutes ago, Captain Kangaroo said:

Next season the Zips don't play a home game against a D-1A opponent until at least October 1st.

You drove me to look at the 2022 schedule.  The program has had a lot of soul sucking schedules in the past, but this one ranks right up there with some of the greatest. Guaranteed 1-3 start to the season with two of them being humiliations and one possible humiliation (Liberty).

 

Note that in my guide to success (benefit players, students, alumni, fans and greater Akron community), "padding the Athletic Director's resume" isn't one of them. There is a Rage Against The Machine song called "Know Your Enemy". At the end the singer shouts out enemies. He should have included G5 Athletic Directors as one.  They are just as bad as those he mentions.

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Progress for me would be a team that keeps us at the stadium to the end of the game each and every Saturday and Tuesday.  I walked out in the 2nd quarter on Saturday.

As for pay for play games, that's a tough call.  $3.5 mill gave them some cushion to buy out Arth.  And when Guthrie scheduled TN for next year, Arth had to know that was to pay for his firing.  

 

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1 hour ago, GP1 said:

Expecting progress in the form of making a bowl game in 3 years isn't unreasonable.  

This is perfectly reasonable and what I'm hoping to see.

 

Next year: Solid, fundamental, well-coached football with much improved defense.  Few blowouts to MAC opponents.  Competitive game with Kent. A few impact transfers. 

Year 2: Close games, some near misses, .500 in the MAC. Beat Kent. See noticeably better talent on the field (both OL & D-lines, LB crew; the ability to both run the football and stop the run).

Year 3: In the hunt for MAC East championship, competitive games, see us actually blow someone out, bowl eligibility, beat Kent.

 

We just need to win.  Win, win, win.  Stop the losing.  I'm a diehard and even I'm getting demoralized to the point of becoming indifferent.  Caring about Zips' football has not been a healthy exercise in a very long time.  

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27 minutes ago, GP1 said:

You drove me to look at the 2022 schedule.  The program has had a lot of soul sucking schedules in the past, but this one ranks right up there with some of the greatest. Guaranteed 1-3 start to the season with two of them being humiliations and one possible humiliation (Liberty).

 

Note that in my guide to success (benefit players, students, alumni, fans and greater Akron community), "padding the Athletic Director's resume" isn't one of them. There is a Rage Against The Machine song called "Know Your Enemy". At the end the singer shouts out enemies. He should have included G5 Athletic Directors as one.  They are just as bad as those he mentions.

On the bright side, our '23 schedule is close to ideal, IMHO.

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10 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

On the bright side, our '23 schedule is close to ideal, IMHO.

Replace Temple with Toledo if Akron isn't already playing them in the MAC. Actually, just replace Temple. Whenever I see them on the schedule, I just think "again...why?".

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1 hour ago, Captain Kangaroo said:

In front of Infocision fans, the home Zips have won one Division 1-A game in the past 4+ years (beginning November 22nd, 2017).

 

By comparison - The Cincinnati Bearcats just stretched their home field winning streak to 23 games.

 

They've won 23 in a row...I can't imagine the Zips winning 23 home games combined during the balance of my lifetime.

 

Next season the Zips don't play a home game against a D-1A opponent until at least October 1st. If they win on October 1st, it will break a streak where Zips fans have walked out of Infocision a loser all-but-once over 1774 days.

 

If they lose, the count keeps climbing.

I thought about the divergence of these two programs just the other day after remembering the close loss at the Rubber Bowl in the late '00s.

 

The Zips beat Cincinnati at the Rubber bowl 31-0 in '89 and narrowly won at Nippert in '92 (these predate my years at Akron, which began in 2001).

 

We played a couple close games in the '00s (losing by 6 on the road and 2 at home).

 

Since that close loss at the Rubber Bowl to the Bearcats in 2008, here's a summary of the programs:

Cincinnati: 

  • 107-51 (0.677)
  • 4-5 in Bowl Games
  • 5 coaches
  • 5 regular season championships
  • 7 seasons with top 25 rankings

Akron:

  • 43-109 (.282)
  • 1-1 in Bowl Games
  • 4 coaches
  • 0 regular season championships (1 tie for 1st in East Div)
  • 0 seasons with top 25 rankings

Yikes.

 

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Superb post @RowdyZip

 

It's such an interesting and important topic to discuss, but it's so simple.

 

I'd say that as a bottom line, competing for/becoming bowl eligible by the end of year two/three is absolutely reasonable and there's no reason that it can't be done here. Given how absolutely horrendous Akron has been for a decade plus, seeing the numbers that you guys have put in this thread is even shocking for someone who has been to just about every game. I can't believe the place isn't more empty. For all of the talk of financial incompetence at the U, I would argue that the athletics donor base is pretty strong. If it weren't, there would be zero means to justify firing the last three coaches with time left on their contracts. I don't pay much attention once people start calling those firings bad decisions when it comes to coming up with the money. If they couldn't afford to do it, they wouldn't considering the guidelines these ADs get from their bosses.

 

Bowden had the formula to success right there, he just didn't follow through with it. He put together a really good roster in just over a year that had a ton of transfers that could buoy a locker room full of guys that didn't belong. Unfortunately, "the rest" of the guys on the roster ended up becoming his HS recruits, which were absolutely dreadful in most cases. If he could have supplemented his transfer game with legit HS recruiting later on in his career at Akron, he would've done so much better here. Oh, and if he had fired Milwee.

 

He left the program a lot better than he found it, but as many other posters say, there was too great a talent gap by the end of it. You can't win at this level with a handful of transfers forever, just like you can't win quickly, or play teams close quickly, by recruiting high-character academic all-stars that belong at John Carroll. There's a happy medium. See: Portage County. And they play in a dump!

 

I don't know if I really answered the question. But when people call Akron such a "hard job" or "it's impossible to win at Akron," I get where they're coming from, but I don't think it's in any way true. Ianello and Arth can be chalked up as disastrous hires, and Bowden did a nice job here until his philosophy became myopic and didn't work anymore. Brookhart had a bunch of issues at the end and that might be why he's disappeared since then. 

 

As time passes in this environment, the best coaches are the ones who can adapt to a situation whether it's how they normally do things or not. Look at John Groce. I get it's a different sport and that does matter, but I still think there's something to learn. He won big at Ohio recruiting his own guys. He goes to Illinois and is pretty average doing things the way he always did. He goes to Akron and is winning a lot. But he's doing it totally differently than he's done before. It's all about transfers and culture. And as he's progressed, he's relying more and more on his own HS recruiting. That's reality of the coaching game now, and it's not how he was raised in it or how he learned it, but he adapted to make it work.

 

Akron can be successful. All eyes on Guthrie.

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40 minutes ago, LoyalZIP said:

Akron can be successful. All eyes on Guthrie.

You're darn right. Don't anyone ever tell you it isn't possible to win at Akron because Akron has won and can win much more. With the right coach, any program can find success if they hire the right person.

 

Wake Forest is historically an ACC bottom dweller. Today they are good and if they win Saturday at BC they are in the ACC Championship game.  They are 6-0 this season at home making my $1,200 for two tickets and a parking pass well spent regardless of Saturday's outcome. Going back in time, for all the talk about how great Grobe was at Wake, I saw something completely different. In each of his last five years, he had a .500 or worse regular season after being really good for a few years. I almost stopped buying season tickets. Had they held on to him one more year there is no way I would have season tickets today.  On a side note, years of futility allowed me to get closer and closer to the 50 yard line as other dropped their tickets and now my seats are on the 47 yard line 2/3rd of the way up the home sideline.

 

Dave Clawson gets hired and in both of the first two seasons they went 3-9 totaling 8 straight .500 or worse seasons. It was bad, but there were signs of life...barely, but there were signs. John Wolford was the QB and took a beating, but you could see he was capable and is now the back up for the LA Rams. Year three they go 6-6 and win a bowl game to go 7-6.  They have made a bowl game every year (ignore last year's record because of COVID). If it can happen at Wake it can happen anywhere.

 

Next year, considering the transfer portal, it isn't unreasonable to expect 3 wins from Akron. Year 2, fans should expect 4-5 wins....the MAC is an awful conference and with a competent coach it isn't unreasonable to expect this. Year 3 fans should expect no less than 6 wins. The MAC is the easiest conference in the country to get good. We just need to hire a competent person who can get us there.

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The MAC East is a dumpster fire. Easily the worst division in all of FBS. By year 3 I'd expect to make a bowl game and by year 5 or 6 I'd expect us to contend for the division crown most years. It's not like we're in a situation like Maryland or Rutgers where we have no chance of success.

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11 minutes ago, kreed5120 said:

It's not like we're in a situation like Maryland or Rutgers where we have no chance of success.

These two 5-6 teams play this weekend for the right to go to a horrible bowl game. In the category of "When Athletic Directors Strike": I'm sure almost nobody knows this, but Maryland left the ACC, where they have the most all time conference football championships still to this day (9).  Granted, their last conference championships were in 2001, 83-85, but they still won. 

 

It doesn't matter where Rutgers is, they are still going to stink at the P5 level.

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Progress is fighting for a bowl bid in 2022, and having a chance late in the season to get there.  The nonleague schedule is rough, but the MAC East is the worst division in FBS.  Don't necessarily have to get to the 6 wins, but not being eliminated from bowl eligibility with multiple games to play is the only way there will actually be tangible progress showing.

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Progress will be if they hire a coach who has some high level D1 experience, who may have been fired. Convince one of the successful ones to come here for a while.

Some are out there. Otherwise go to DII or FCS try to find someone who is competent enough  to get this shipwreck turned round in 2 seasons.

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On 11/22/2021 at 2:00 PM, GP1 said:

 

 

Next year, considering the transfer portal, it isn't unreasonable to expect 3 wins from Akron. 

I'd bet my left nut Arth would have won at least 3 games next year (likely more). If that's all our expectations are, he shouldn't have been fired. In my mind, the right guy will be able to at least flirt with bowl eligibility in year 1. These players have a lot of experience and will only continue to improve. The right coach should be able to keep the majority of talented payers and can bring in the right pieces to supplement our weaknesses. Its never been easier to turn a program around quickly with transfers now being immediately eligible AND getting an extra 7 scholarships a year to account for players who voluntarily enter the portal. We have the chance to bring in 32 new should-be quality players as a result.

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21 hours ago, LZIp said:

I'd bet my left nut Arth would have won at least 3 games next year (likely more). If that's all our expectations are, he shouldn't have been fired. In my mind, the right guy will be able to at least flirt with bowl eligibility in year 1. These players have a lot of experience and will only continue to improve. The right coach should be able to keep the majority of talented payers and can bring in the right pieces to supplement our weaknesses. Its never been easier to turn a program around quickly with transfers now being immediately eligible AND getting an extra 7 scholarships a year to account for players who voluntarily enter the portal. We have the chance to bring in 32 new should-be quality players as a result.

I would have taken that bet.

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On 11/23/2021 at 8:27 PM, LZIp said:

I'd bet my left nut Arth would have won at least 3 games next year (likely more). If that's all our expectations are, he shouldn't have been fired. In my mind, the right guy will be able to at least flirt with bowl eligibility in year 1. These players have a lot of experience and will only continue to improve. The right coach should be able to keep the majority of talented payers and can bring in the right pieces to supplement our weaknesses. Its never been easier to turn a program around quickly with transfers now being immediately eligible AND getting an extra 7 scholarships a year to account for players who voluntarily enter the portal. We have the chance to bring in 32 new should-be quality players as a result.

 

18 hours ago, GP1 said:

Ya, but would you be willing to bet both of your nuts?  

 

He lost his right one on the 2005 Motor City Bowl.  He's quite the risk taker!

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On 11/22/2021 at 10:16 AM, RowdyZip said:

I thought about the divergence of these two programs just the other day after remembering the close loss at the Rubber Bowl in the late '00s.

 

The Zips beat Cincinnati at the Rubber bowl 31-0 in '89 and narrowly won at Nippert in '92 (these predate my years at Akron, which began in 2001).

 

We played a couple close games in the '00s (losing by 6 on the road and 2 at home).

 

Since that close loss at the Rubber Bowl to the Bearcats in 2008, here's a summary of the programs:

Cincinnati: 

  • 107-51 (0.677)
  • 4-5 in Bowl Games
  • 5 coaches
  • 5 regular season championships
  • 7 seasons with top 25 rankings

Akron:

  • 43-109 (.282)
  • 1-1 in Bowl Games
  • 4 coaches
  • 0 regular season championships (1 tie for 1st in East Div)
  • 0 seasons with top 25 rankings

Yikes.

 

I've thought a lot about this recently too, but I hadn't (and was scared) to formally gather the numbers. Kudos for doing so.

 

As is often said about planting trees, the best time to do so is right now. The same can be said about starting a winning tradition.

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I basically answered this question for 2022 in the 2021MACtion post the day before this thread was started.  I gave 2 MAC examples of teams using the portal and grad transfers to greatly supplement young talent as the details were shared on air.  Akron has a lot of good young talent, but 19 year olds cannot typically compete with 22 and 23 year old athletes.  The new coach can get bowl eligible quick by following this equation, even with the killer schedule next year.  

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Progress would mean it wouldn't be like pulling teeth to get people to go to games with me (season tickets). Especially as the season goes on it can be hard. My wife is good for one game per year, and a buddy of mine from out of town likes to go to at least one for the heck of it. After that, my tailgating menu helps get people intrigued....all the while hearing jokes about how I have season tickets to THIS type of football... ☹️

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On 11/22/2021 at 3:16 PM, GP1 said:

 I'm sure almost nobody knows this, but Maryland left the ACC, where they have the most all time conference football championships still to this day (9).  Granted, their last conference championships were in 2001, 83-85, but they still won. 

You're correct about the number of titles, but they still lag Clemson (20) and Florida State (15) by quite a lot. Pitt would get off the schneid with a win this weekend (Wake has two titles). 

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On 11/27/2021 at 8:02 PM, bigjim said:

I basically answered this question for 2022 in the 2021MACtion post the day before this thread was started.  I gave 2 MAC examples of teams using the portal and grad transfers to greatly supplement young talent as the details were shared on air.  Akron has a lot of good young talent, but 19 year olds cannot typically compete with 22 and 23 year old athletes.  The new coach can get bowl eligible quick by following this equation, even with the killer schedule next year.  

WKU I heard had something in the neighborhood of 32 transfers this past offseason. Last year they had the 8th worst offense in all of FBS using ypg as the metric. This season after the influx of talent they got from the transfer portal they finished the regular season as the #2 offense in the country by ypg. 

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