Team preview: Akron

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college football season, exclusively on Insider.

Originally Published: July 28, 2004
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If you just look at the surface, Akron's decision to replace Lee Owens after last season may be surprising to some. Then again, maybe it wasn't.

Owens, who posted a 40-61 record in nine seasons, did lead the Zips to their first winning record since 2000 and a third-place finish behind Miami and Marshall in the MAC East. However, the Zips -- who returned 17 starters, including all 11 on offense -- went just 5-5 against Division I-A competition while playing a schedule that was the third easiest in the country. Akron was just 12-20 against Division I-A opponents (with a combined record of 42-94) in Owens' final three seasons.

"It's our expectation to compete for MAC Championships on an annual basis in football and to compete with the upper-tier MAC teams on a consistent basis," Akron athletic director Mike Thomas said last November in a teleconference announcing his decision to replace Owens, who has since accepted the head coaching position at Division II Ashland (Ohio) University. "In the past nine years, that has not happened. I, along with the university leadership, have high expectations for all the athletic programs, including football."

A month later, Akron hired J.D. Brookhart to fulfill those expectations.