Akron 2010 Record: 1-11
Series History: Cincinnati leads 3-2 (Last meeting: Cincinnati 17-15, 2008)
Times were hard last year under first-year head coach Rob Ianello as the Zips struggled through a 1-11 season. It was the program's worst season since the Zips entered Division I in 1987, and the season-finale victory over Buffalo helped them avoid its first winless season since 1942.
Although they return quarterback Patrick Nicely, the Zips must replace 18 seniors – including their top two rushers, receivers and two offensive linemen who started all 47 games in their career.
Nicely completed less than 50 percent of his passes last year as the Zips lacked playmakers and had difficulties protecting him. Receiver Anthony Meriwether took great strides in the offseason to become the threat Nicely needs to turn around a sub-par sophomore season.
Led by Brian Wagner and Manley Waller, the Akron defense returns seven starters that yielded 35 points per contest. Sheldon Miller and Jamar Williams are slated to start at linebacker for the Zips.
Former Colerain star Tyler Williams should factor in offensively for the Zips as a freshman.
BearcatInsider.com Crystal Ball Prediction: Cincinnati 31-7