Year 13 Regular Season: The Zips make their first run through the Big Ten
Read about the first Big Ten season for Akron and then watch the conclusion tonight on Twitch at 8:00 PM EST
Welcome to the next chapter of the University of Akron’s quest to win seven national championships in NCAA Football 14. To learn more about this series and read up on past installments, visit the About page of this site.
This post will chronicle the Year 13 regular season. I’ll be streaming the conclusion of Year 13 tonight on Twitch starting at 8:00 PM EST. Come on out and hang. It could get spooky.
The ribbon has been cut. The pictures have been taken. The doors have been opened. Yes, LeBron James Stadium is here and it is officially the new home for the Akron Zips.
With that, a new era is born and it will take place in the Big Ten conference. It’s amazing to think of where Akron was when Coach Luke signed his first contract and they’re now one of the toughest teams in one of the hardest conferences in the nation with a state-of-the-art stadium to call home.
The first year of Big Ten conference play will be a curious one. Will the Big Ten schedule be tougher on the team? Will the conference affect how recruits view Akron? Will new rivalries form?
Beyond the storylines, there’s still football to be played and everyone is just wondering how this Akron team will fare this year. The roster is stacked. Will it live up to the hype?
Let’s frickin’ find out.
Year 13 Schedule
Well well well, we’ve got a conference schedule again y’all. The toughest game on our schedule is an out-of-conference one against Notre Dame though as they are rated 95 overall. For the conference games, we’ll need to watch out for Michigan and Penn State, both rated 93 overall.
Year 13 Roster
We’re rated 99 overall again this year and should be favored in every game we play. You can read about the Year 13 roster here in the season preview post.
The offense will run through junior QB Leonard Sims and a trio of talented WRs. The defense is full of stars. I could literally name anybody on that defense and hype them up because we have so much talent.
Honestly, with this roster, there is every reason to believe this is our year.
Year 13 Season (2025-26)
Welcome to the year 2025. If you’ve been reading up on past installments, you know that the future is a wild place. I thought all the changes would have stopped by now but 2025 has been a trip. The new fashion trend is wearing shoes on your hands. Everyone is doing it. It looks really cool but it is not very practical for many reasons. The new President of the United States started her first term this year and she’s a cat. Every year in the future continues to surprise me.
Enough about 2025 current events, let’s talk Akron football!
We start the year as the #2 team in the country. The first game of the season is against our bitter rivals of Kent State and will be the first game ever hosted in LeBron James Stadium.
0-0 | Week 2 vs Kent State
It’s funny. It all comes full circle, in a way. We may be in the Big Ten now but we haven’t forgotten about our friendly rivals from down the road. We may be opening a stadium to start a new future but we haven’t forgotten our past.
Can’t read. Can’t write. Kent State.
It’s time for our first game at the new stadium…
That’s not a typo. We really dropped 63 first-half points and 91 total points here. I’m almost speechless. What a way to open a new stadium.
Quentin Vaughn introduced himself to the world with two interceptions and Leonard Sims had six touchdowns despite being pulled early.
After the game, Coach Luke decided not to spend time celebrating this landmark victory. There’s recruiting to do.
The early news for Akron is good as we get two early commits. The first being the #1 CB in the country, Russell Downs (79 OVR). We’re a cornerback university, baby! We also get G Leon Roach (74 OVR). We’re not an offensive line university but maybe one day.
Year 13 is actually a strangely pivotal recruiting year. Coach Luke and Akron are in danger of losing their Ohio pipeline because they’ve been so busy recruiting everywhere else in the country. We would only have one Ohio player on the roster next year if we don’t get anybody committed this offseason. That’s priority number one. Luckily, Russell Downs is from Fort McKinley, OH so we have already secured one Ohio player.
The other priority is to rebuild our offensive line and get a new crop of receivers and linebackers ready to take over.
This is how the recruiting board looks as we get going for the season:
1-0 | Week 3 vs Minnesota
The Kent game was so much fun and we, thankfully, get to stick around Akron for another game at LeBron James Stadium. Will our points-per-game in the new stadium decrease from 91 PPG? That’s a big worry here.
This game is against Minnesota. It is the first Big Ten game in Akron history. We’re having back-to-back historical weeks for the team. What a time to be alive.
Minnesota is rated 91 overall. Let’s zip.
We put up over sixty points again!
Despite it being a blowout, we did let them sneak in some garbage points and yards at the end. This game was over very early though.
It doesn’t show up in the box score here but Randy Gore returned two kicks for touchdowns in this one. Yes, two kickoff return touchdowns in one game! Incredible! Gore is a freshman receiver and he is making one heck of a statement on special teams to start his career. Unbelievable.
2-0 | Week 4 at #23 Auburn
In Week 4, we finally leave the friendly confines of LeBron James Stadium after averaging 76.5 points there in our first two games. We travel to Auburn to face our first ranked team of the year. We are still ranked #2 and Auburn is ranked #23.
They are only rated 86 overall so we should still win this but nothing is given here. Everything is earned.
I’m speechless. We are just on a ridiculous tear. There doesn’t seem to be a weak part of our entire roster and everyone is just performing at an elite level.
A 77-21 win and our third straight 60+ point game. If I sat here and praised everyone who had a good game, we’d run out of space in this article. Everybody did work. This is a friggin’ TEAM.
On the recruiting front, Coach Luke and his dashing suit haven’t been able to work their magic yet as no new prospects have committed. Most of the top players are being invited out for the game against Michigan later this year. That will likely be the tipping point for the recruiting cycle.
3-0 | Week 5 vs #2 Notre Dame
This has been the most dominating start to a season that we’ve ever seen under Coach Luke. It’s no surprise that the country is falling in love with this team. The national press is all over us too. Here’s a Sports Illustrated article from 2025:
[This awesome article was written by Chad, a long-time fan of the series. Check out his entertaining Twitch channel: Cyberchao_X]
Our next game is the biggest one of the year as we face Notre Dame at Soldier Field.
We find out prior to the game that we’ve moved up to #1 in the country after an Oregon loss above us. That means our matchup with the Fighting Irish is a classic #1 vs #2 matchup. The nation has its eyes on us.
Here are the highlights from the Twitch viewing of the game:
We’re rolling now! We win 42-9!
It took a little while for the team to get going but we eventually blew the game open after a big Randy Gore receiving touchdown. The defense stepped up in a big way as they accumulated four interceptions, including two by Quentin Vaughn.
It’s way early in the season to declare anything but it feels like nothing can stop us after demolishing Notre Dame like this. They’ve ruined our season before and it was good to ruin theirs for once.
We can’t celebrate and get lazy now though. We still have work to do this season.
4-0 | Week 6 vs Maryland
After many weeks away from our new home, we return to LeBron James Stadium for a matchup against Maryland. There’s no need to build up the drama for this one. They are only rated 86 overall and we should put on another show for LeBron and company.
The big question is how many recruits we’ll get. We have a lot of recruits visiting in both Week 6 here and Week 8 versus Michigan. I’m hoping we get a win and get our recruiting process jumpstarted.
Of course, we win. Only a 45-3 win though! We’re slacking!
As for recruits?
We get three commits after the game, which is great news for the future of the team. We address some areas of need by getting T Anthony Baker (74 OVR), G Jon Nash (71 OVR), and MLB Eric Jones (72 OVR). Those additions create some depth at key positions for the future. In other good news, Anthony Baker is from Austintown, OH. That secures our Ohio pipeline.
5-0 | Week 8 vs #21 Michigan
The game against Michigan is big for our recruiting efforts but also just a big game in general. They are a ranked Big Ten team and rated 93 overall. This can’t be a game where we slip up.
We want to establish ourselves as Michigan’s new biggest rival in Ohio. This game would go a long way in setting that tone.
We get a 62-41 win in another big scoring output at LeBron James Stadium!
The Zips broke out a huge lead and then—oddly—they went on cruise control after halftime. It’s a bit concerning that they actually let the Wolverines have some life in this game. I want our team to be brutal and show no mercy. My hope is that this is a lesson to the team to not ever relent in a game. Coach Luke will surely tear into them about their second-half effort.
How many recruits did we get though?!
One of the recruits is the #1 HB in the country, Phillip Coley (78 OVR). That’s a name you’ll surely hear a lot in the future here. We also get DE Chris Warren (75 OVR), and FS Quinn Jackson (71 OVR) to join the squad.
We’re addressing a lot of areas of need but I really want us to get some receivers and linebacking help moving forward here. Here’s how our board looks now:
6-0 | Week 9 at #10 Penn State
Before this season started, I figured that traveling to State College to face Penn State on their home turf could be our toughest game of the year. They are rated 93 overall so we still have a talent advantage but I’m a bit worried about their home-field advantage.
We do an old-fashioned road trip on a team bus as we travel to this game. To ensure that the team loosens up a bit, Coach Luke takes them to Niagra Falls along the way and we spend an afternoon having fun and forgetting about the pressure of being the #1 team in the country and what lies ahead.
We play football.
We win 45-17 at Beaver Stadium! This year is special!
The running game explodes a bit in this one with Leonard Sims and Keith King combining for 175 yards. The defense continues to do their job, including a fumble-recovery touchdown by James Smith to ensure victory here. Penn State was only able to muster 42 yards rushing on the day.
The last big test of the season is coming up in three weeks now. We’ll face a ranked Northwestern team that was revitalized over the years by their former QB Ricky O’Donnell Jr.
7-0 | Week 10 at Ohio State
It’s kind of sad that Ohio State has fallen so far. We have become The State of Ohio University and they’ve become… bad. They’re a 2-5 team heading into this game and rated 90 overall. I love this alternate universe where we’ve become kings and they’ve become afterthoughts.
Let’s beat them soundly to remind them that we’re the best team in Ohio.
A nice ol’ 48-16 win over the Buckeyes! We’ll take it.
Their offense couldn’t get anything going against us and our friend Howard Norman even got a pick-six touchdown. O-H! I-O!
Nothing but blue skies ahead!
8-0 | Week 11 at Indiana
As we host Indiana in Week 11, there really isn’t much question about whether we’ll win or not. They’re rated 84 overall and reader Josh had set the Zips as thirty-two point favorites here. I’m just curious if we’ll cover that.
We win 33-0 and cover the fictional spread by one point! Hooray.
9-0 | Week 12 at #14 Northwestern
Now we have our last remaining tough game. We travel to Northwestern to face a team that is ranked #14 in the country. If we can escape Ryan Field with a win then we’re in the driver’s seat to go to the Big Ten title game and possibly return to the BCS National Championship Game.
We had a game like this last year with title implications but we choked that one away. Could we do it again? Did Leonard Sims learn from his mistakes?
We watched on Twitch and here are the highlights:
We win 29-7!
I actually thought this was going to be a blowout after we went into halftime with a 26-0 lead but, for the second time this year, the team sputtered a bit in the second half. We still dominated the game and won, but the expectation is now to deliver blowouts so it can be a bit of a downer to see the team not deliver. We’re just that good.
With two conference games remaining, we just need to clear those out, and then we can start making plans to go to Indianapolis for the Big Ten conference championship.
9-0 | Weeks 12 and 13
Our final conference matchups of the season are, admittedly, easier games. We face an 83-rated Cincinnati team at home and then travel to face a 90-rated Michigan State team. I won’t even try to build the drama. We win both.
After these games, we find out that we are set to face #4 Nebraska in the Big Ten title game. They are rated 93 overall and should offer a good test for us. If we happen to win the game, it seems likely that we’d face either #2 TCU or #3 Texas in the BCS National Championship Game!
The pressure is on, folks!
Akron is buzzing as you can see in this clipping from the school’s campus newspaper:
[This awesome article was written by reader Dominic, who is known as piratecaptaindom in the Twitch chats]
We’ll be finding out tonight how this season concludes as it is streamed on Twitch. If Twitch isn’t your thing or you’re busy then you can read about the season’s conclusion in the next post that will come out in a few days!
In those final weeks of the regular season, we filled a few more key spots in our recruiting class. We still need a few receivers and linebackers but we’ve got a solid group of guys thus far:
If you want a closer look at these players, join the Discord server and go to the #recruits-signed channel there.
To get a look at the season stats thus far, here’s a link to the spreadsheet that contains the team stats and dynasty history.
Championship Twitch Stream at 8:00 PM EST!
That’s all that’s left in Year 13.
That’s all that separates us from a second Akron national title.
I will be on Twitch tonight starting at 8:00 PM EST and going until after midnight. The Twitch chat will be popping and I’ll be going nuts as we all see how this season concludes. Come out, join us, and possibly witness a very special moment in this long-running series.
I really can’t wait for tonight. Hope to see you there.