Akron Zips at No. 18 Ohio State Buckeyes
Saturday, 9/3/11, 12:00 PM EST, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Ohio State -31.5
Current Betting Line: Ohio State -34
Opening Total: 48
Current Total: 47.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Akron is ready to take on an AP Top 25 team for the first time since the 2009 campaign, when it dropped a 31-7 season-opening contest to the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Zips have tallied a dismal 1-21 all-time mark against ranked foes since joining Division I-A before the 1987 campaign. It’s been a busy offseason that included a rather quick quarterback change in naming sophomore Clayton Moore the starter over veteran Patrick Nealy, who guided the team the previous two years. “We had a great competition during training camp at many positions, and especially the quarterback position,” commented head coach Rob Ianello. Akron is 7-12 ATS as an underdog the last two seasons.
The Zips dropped a 20-2 decision to the Buckeyes in the last meeting, covering a 27-point spread as a road underdog. Akron will be looking to snap a string of three consecutive losses in season openers, which includes a 29-3 home setback to the Syracuse Orange a year ago. Life on the road hasn’t been easy for the program, picking up its last victory on Oct. 18, 2008, which is a stretch of 14 consecutive games. One thing going for them in this matchup is the coaching staff has a combined 58 games of experience facing the Buckeyes.
Ohio State begins life without former head coach Jim Tressel and quarterback Terrelle Pryor, but will likely have an easy time of it against Akron. The Buckeyes are 19-0-1 in their last 20 games when a new coach debuts on the sidelines. Former defensive linemen for the program, Luke Fickell, gets thrown in the fire and fans in Columbus will be watching closely. “I think everybody has been ready to get back to football for a long time,” said Buckeyes center Mike Brewster. “It’s not about the past and all of that.” Ohio State returns seven starters on offense and four on defense, posting a 13-2 ATS record at Ohio Stadium the last two years.
The Buckeyes offense will be led by 26-year-old senior Joe Bauserman, who certainly doesn’t lack experience in playing in 24 games in his career. He has completed 53.2 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and an interception over that span. Ohio State hasn’t lost an opener since suffering a 23-12 loss to the Miami Hurricanes in the 1999 Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium. Defensively, the school always has a proud tradition, ranking first or second in scoring defense within the Big Ten Conference each of the last six years.
Bettors will likely back the Buckeyes due to their 20-5 ATS mark in their last 25 games, while the Zips are 10-14 ATS over the same time period.
The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports will be firing away all season long and there’s no better time than now to grab a package. Stop sitting on the sidelines and get in the game!