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Akron becomes first winless FBS team since UTEP in 2017

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Uhhh, congrats?

Through 11 games of the 2019 season, Akron had posted 11 losses, with all but a couple of the games not all that close. In Week 2, they lost to UAB 31-20; in late September, 1-11 UMass got past them 37-29; last week, they somehow came within three points of beating MAC East champion Miami (OH). In the other eight games, the Zips had lost by a combined score of 295-57 (36.9-7.1).

Tuesday night, in what was mercifully the Zips’ season finale, it was much the same as it’s been most of the rest of the season as Ohio jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead in cruising to a 52-3 road woodshedding. The final score doesn’t actually do the domination justice as the Bobcats outgained the winless Zips 603-74. The Zips ran for 41 yards on 25 carries and posted a 10.3 passer rating for the game (4-27, 33 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions).

At 0-12, this marks the worst record in Akron’s history at the FBS/Div. 1-A level, surpassing one-win seasons the program put up on four different occasions (1994, 2010, 2011, 2012).

Akron is also the first winless FBS team since UTEP posted the same 0-12 in 2017. Since 2003, that duo is two of the 15 schools at this level of football that has posted an 0-12 record (unless otherwise indicated) over the course of an entire season:

2003 — SMU (WAC) (0-11)
2004 — UCF (MAC) (0-11)
2005 — New Mexico State (WAC)
2005 — Temple (Independent) (0-11)
2006 — Duke (ACC)
2006 — Florida International (Sun Belt)
2008 — Washington (Pac-12)
2009 — Eastern Michigan (MAC)
2009 — Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)
2012 — Southern Miss (Conference USA)
2013 — Miami (OH) (MAC)
2015 — Kansas (Big 12)
2015 — UCF (AAC)
2017 — UTEP (Conference USA)
2019 — Akron 0-12 (MAC)

For Ohio, it was the Bobcats’ sixth win of the season, pushing the Fighting Soliches into bowl eligibility. Ohio is now bowl-eligible under Frank Solich for the 11th straight year and 13th time in 15 seasons.

Earlier this month, Solich became the winningest coach in MAC history. Solich and the university are in the midst of negotiating a new contract, with the head coach’s current deal expiring in January.

New Mexico State, Rice win; Akron now lone remaining winless FBS team

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And then there was one.

Heading into Week 12, New Mexico State and Rice were two of three winless teams at the FBS level.  Playing FCS Incarnate Word at home, NMSU cruised to a 41-28ricericrice win to secure its first “W” of the season; heading east to Murfreesboro, Rice hung 31 points on Middle Tennessee State in the first half and then hung on in the second for a tight 31-28 win.

The Aggies’ win snapped an 11-game losing streak — they have still lost 14 straight to FBS teams — while the Owls, who came in as 14-point underdogs, had lost nine in a row prior to today.

So, with those twin wins, it leaves Akron as the lone FBS that has yet to win a game this season — and, based on past performance and future opponents, there’s no win in sight.

Akron has played 10 games this season, and, obviously, lost them all.  The closest they’ve come to a non-defeat?  An eight-point loss to a UMass team that’s 1-10 on the season.  The other nine games, they’ve lost by a combined score of 326-77.

For Week 13, Akron has drawn Miami (OH), which is one win away from winning the MAC East.  The following week, they get a 4-6 Ohio team that has beaten them 10 of the last 11 times they’ve played.

So, yeah, good luck Zips.

Ohio, New Mexico latest states linked to potential NIL legislation

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As the NIL train barrels down the tracks, the NCAA’s hopes of derailing it lessen with each passing day.

According to one report, the state of Ohio will consider passing legislation that allows student-athletes in any sport at the collegiate level to profit off their own names, images and likenesses (NIL); according to another report, a state senator from New Mexico is expected to introduce a similar bill.

All told, there are at least a dozen states that have crafted or are in the process of crafting legislation that would put more financial power in the hands of the players on whose backs their sports, particularly football, have been built.

The free-for-all officially kicked off earlier this week when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which, beginning Jan. 1, 2023, guarantees student-athletes in the Golden State will have the right to market their name, image, and likeness without fear of recrimination from NCAA member institutions.  Not long after, Florida joined New York, North Carolina and South Carolina as the latest state to start down the NIL path blazed by California.

Tuesday, we noted that Pennsylvania (HERE), Minnesota (HERE) and Kentucky (HERE) were all states whose legislators are working on bills similar to the one approved in California; the next day, it was Illinois and Nevada entering the “Fair Pay to Play” fray.

And that’s in addition to a former Ohio State football player-turned-United States Congressman confirming that he “is planning to propose a new national law to give college athletes the opportunity to make endorsement money.” The congressman, Anthony Gonzalez, is expected to hold off on drafting legislation until the NCAA’s 19-person working group, established earlier this year, makes its NIL recommendations to The Association’s Board of Governors later this month.

LOOK: Akron busts out the turnover… pencil?

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It takes all kinds, I guess — especially world of college football.

In recent years, turnover props have become all the rage in college football, the most notable of which may have been Miami’s gaudy but very apt gold chain.  There has also been Boise State’s throne, Louisville’s boxing gloves, Memphis’s Ric Flair-inspired robe, Tennessee’s trash can, Tulane’s beads and Boise State’s throne, which is so damn awesome it deserves a second mention.  Multiple nods to professional rasslin’/boxing with championship belts for the likes of Alabama and Ohio State among others have become the norm as well.

Not to be forgotten is Virginia Tech, whose lunch pail is arguably the granddaddy of all props; to be forgotten was Florida State’s turnover backpack, which was mercifully retired before the 2019 season kicked off.

Saturday, it was Akron’s turn to put another notch on the turnover prop bedpost as the MAC school debuted, appropriately enough for an educational institution, a giant turnover pencil (not pictured).  Yep, a pencil.  Good ol’ No. 2.

And, you know how your mom always used to tell you that “you’re gonna put somebody’s eye out with that thing?” Yeah, that almost happened on the pencil’s first sideline go ’round.

So, the Zips have that going for them.  Which is nice.

First-year head coaches (barely) finished above .500 in 2019 debuts

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For those FBS schools that made changes at the top of its program last year and on into early 2019, the results, at least for the opening weekends of the college football season, were decidedly mixed.

Entering Weeks 0/1, a total of 26 head coaches were in their first games (two coaching a second first game) with their respective schools. Of those 26, 15 won their opening matchups while *uses fingers to do the math, takes off shoes when fingers run out* 11 dropped their openers.

Seven of the head coaches new to their current schools — Akron (Illinois), East Carolina (NC State), Houston (Oklahoma), Liberty (Syracuse), Texas State (Texas A&M), UMass (Rutgers) and Utah State (Wake Forest) — led off with Power Five opponents; not surprisingly, all seven of those ended up exiting Week 1 with a loss.  Exactly half of the 26 kicked off against FCS schools, and just one, Western Kentucky to Central Arkansas, failed to come away with a win.

At the other end was Louisville and North Carolina leading off with matchups against Power Five foes, Notre Dame for the former and South Carolina the latter.  The Cardinals extended their nation’s-worst losing streak to 10 in a row while the Tar Heels got past the Gamecocks in Mack Brown‘s return to Chapel Hill.

Oh, and there was Hugh Freeze‘s official return to coaching from a hospital bed up in the coaches’ box in Liberty’s loss to Syracuse.

WIN (15)
Eliah Drinkwitz, Appalachian State (beat East Tennessee State, 42-7)
Scot Loeffler, Bowling Green (Morgan State, 46-3)
Jim McElwain, Central Michigan (Albany, 38-21)
Brad Lambert, Charlotte (Gardner-Webb, 49-28)
Mel Tucker, Colorado (Colorado State, 52-31)
Les Miles, Kansas (Indiana State, 24-17)
Chris Klieman, Kansas State (Nicholls, 49-14)
Mike Locksley, Maryland (Howard, 79-0)
Mack Brown, North Carolina (South Carolina, 24-20)
Thomas Hammock, Northern Illinois (Illinois State, 24-10)
Ryan Day, Ohio State (FAU, 45-21)
Rod Carey, Temple (Bucknell, 56-12)
Chip Lindsey, Troy (Campbell, 43-14)
Matt Wells, Texas Tech (Montana State, 45-10)
Neal Brown, West Virginia (James Madison, 20-13)

LOSS (11)
Tom Arth, Akron (lost to Illinois, 42-3)
Mike Houston, East Carolina (NC State, 34-6)
Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech (Clemson, 52-14)
Dana Holgorsen, Houston (Oklahoma, 49-31)
Hugh Freeze, Liberty (Syracuse, 24-0)
Scott Satterfield, Louisville (Notre Dame, 35-17)
Manny Diaz, Miami (Florida, 24-20)
Jake Spavital, Texas State (Texas A&M, 41-7)
Walt Bell, UMass (Rutgers 48-21)
Gary Andersen, Utah State (Wake Forest, 38-35)
Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky (Central Arkansas, 35-28)