Michigan Football: How Upset Scare vs. Akron Will Impact Wolverines in Rankings

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2013

Sep 14, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Akron Zips at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Things are about to get ugly in Ann Arbor.

Michigan scored an emotional upset victory over rival Notre Dame in Week 2, which resulted in the Wolverines' rank surging up as high as No. 11 in the official AP coaches poll. Not many, apparently including the team, paid much attention to the Akron Zips.

That fatal oversight will cost Michigan dearly in the rankings.

No, the Wolverines didn't lose, but it took a last-second stand to prevent the loss, ultimately only escaping 28-24, despite playing at home and easily being the more talented squad. As ESPN points out, this isn't a victory:

We're talking about Akron, a MAC team that has went 3-33 since 2010 entering this year, has won just one game per season in that stretch and has lost 27 straight games on the road.

Yet, the Zips flew into the Big House at Ann Arbor and almost pulled off the upset.

The Wolverines looked weak in all phases. Quarterback Devin Gardner threw for only 248 yards and two scores, a far cry from his 294-yard and four-touchdown performance against the Fighting Irish. Gardner also threw three interceptions and added 103 yards on the ground.

Altogether, the offense mustered just seven first-half points and were laughably bad on third down, converting just three times on 10 attempts.

The defense matched the ineptitude of the offense by surrendering 418 total yards and allowing the Zips to convert on 50 percent of their third-down attempts. Michigan's defense had no answer for Zips' quarterback Kyle Pohl, who threw for over 300 yards and two scores.

Forget rank for a moment—Team 134 needs to wake up. The team bumbled its way through the first half and issues such as a non-existent defensive line plagued the team throughout the game.

There's no excuse for a performance like this. As Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports' points out, Michigan paid Akron $900,000 for this matchup:

Everybody knows the deal. Good team essentially wants a bye week against minor opposition; little program needs cash and exposure to act as a punching bag.

Except Michigan didn't get that memo.

For a team that has national title aspirations, not showing up against a school that it paid to come to town and take a loss is a joke. A Nick Saban-led team wouldn't do it. Neither would Ohio State.

Forget maintaining rank, Michigan is about to take a nose dive.

No. 11 is gone, as is any Top 15 hope. At best, hanging around in the No. 20-18 range is all Michigan can hope for at this point. Needing a last-second stop to defeat a team that has not won more than a single game per season in four years and was paid just to show up will stick in the minds of voters.

There were no positives to take from the performance other than the fact that Michigan didn't lose, which saved its rank somewhat.

Other than that, Michigan is poised to take a dive—and no team is more deserving.


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