Akers' notable accomplishments include a Heisman Trophy for Earl Campbell in the 1977 season and national title chances in the 1978 and 1984 Cotton Bowl Classics. In both of those years, Texas went undefeated in the regular season only to lose in their bowl game. Akers received criticism from those who believed he failed to match the standard set by previous head coach Darrell Royal. However, much of that was mitigated by an impressive overall record and a winning mark against Barry Switzer of the Oklahoma Sooners, who was 3–0–1 against Texas before Akers came along. However, in Akers' last five years he struggled against Oklahoma, going 1–3–1, and against Texas A&M, losing his last three game to the Aggies by an average margin of 23 points. Akers drew ire from the Texas faithful for losing bowl games at the end of four consecutive seasons (1982–1985). In 1986, after notching Texas' first losing record in 30 years, he left to become the head football coach at Purdue University. He was not nearly as successful as he had been at Texas; his teams only won 12 games in four years. Akers was rumored as a candidate for the Baylor University job in 1993 that ultimately went to Chuck Reedy.