The Orlando Sentinel has ranked all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country. The Sentinel staff will take a closer look at a new team daily, counting backward from No. 120 to our projected No. 1 team. We will not be including the four teams the
Today at No. 119:
Coach: Terry Bowden (0-0, 1st season at Akron; 139-63-2 overall in 18 seasons)
2011 record: 1-11 (0-8 in
Look back: After a disappointing 1-11 campaign in 2010, Akron was looking forward to getting off on the right foot in 2011 but instead the Zip stumbled out of the gates, losing their first three games by a combined score of 142-17. A 36-13 win over VMI in Week Four of the season brought some promise but that quickly faded as the team went on to lose its remaining eight games. In the offseason, Rob Ianello was fired after two seasons and a record of 2-22 overall. Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden was brought in December to try and right the program.
Offensive starters lost/returning: 5/8
Defensive starters lost/returning: 5/6
Key losses: LB Brian Wagner, LB Matt Little, DT Oren Wilson, P Zack Campbell
Top returnees: QB
Strengths: The Zips finished 115 out of 120 in total offense last season and most of that blame could be placed on inexperience in several key positions. Clayton Moore and Jawon Chisholm were both competing as starters for the first time last season. Bowden has made the competition for quarterback open with Dalton Williams providing some push for Moore. Wide receivers Keith Sconiers and Marquelo Suel both return and both combined for 81 catches for 1,056 yards and nine touchdowns last season. The secondary returns three key starters in Devonte Morgan, Johnny Robinson and Anthony Holmes which should provide a big lift.
Weaknesses: The offensive line lost four starters with only center Adam Brice returning which isn’t good news for a squad that was 100th in rushing and gave up a on average three sacks per game last season. The defensive line is also razor thin with only John Griggs and Nico Caponi back from an Akron defense that ranked 94th in the nation in total defense. The Zips only had 11 sacks on the season and the departure of Oren Wilson (3.5 sacks) means defensive coordinator
Outlook: With only 65 scholarship players on the roster, Bowden and his staff will have a tremendous challenge ahead of them. Turning a team that ranks in the bottom half of most of the categories in the nation won’t be easy, especially with a lack of talented players. Tack on a non-conference schedule that features tough matchups against UCF, FIU and Tennessee and key conference games against Miami, Ohio,