Ahhh, time to preview the Miami RedHawks. That photo on the right is pretty much a summary of their season, but, hey, if you'd like to read a few thousand words of analysis of their football team, you're in the right place.
Oh, and if you don't feel like reading a few thousand words, but would still like analysis of their football team: "they're terrible." Carry on.
On the season: The RedHawks are one of four 0-5 teams in the country, and of those four, are arguably the worst. (Ball State is giving them a serious run for their money, though.) Miami started off the season being outscored 90-0 by Kentucky and Boise State, as quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh racked up a combined 34-69 passing with no touchdowns and four picks, which is absolutely tremendous. (Arguably more impressive: his replacement Zac Dysert's line vs. Kentucky: 2-4, one yard, no touchdowns, two picks. Persa-esque.) After that, Miami finally scored in a 48-26 loss to Western Michigan, a tolerable 29-19 loss to Kent State, and a 37-13 beatdown by No. 10 Cincinnati, but at least they kept it close through halftime. Long story short, the Redhawks are losing by an average of 29.2 points per game.
By the way, the RedHawks are the fifth team we're playing with a new head coach, Mike Haywood. Mike was the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame before coming to Miami, so, you already know he's absolutely terrible at his job. He also has a brand new staff of coordinators, Peter Vaas on offense and Carl Reese on defense. This makes Miami the fifth team we're playing with a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, and new defensive coordinator. (Towson technically doesn't have an offensive coordinator, but new head coach Rob Ambrose is doing that, basically.) Also, because Minnesota was replacing an offensive coordinator, every team we've played so far has been replacing at least one coordinator. Jesus. Be more faithful, people.
Us and them: As you probably know, historically, Miami owns us. They're 6-2, all six victories coming in Evanston, and gave NU their only regular season loss in the 1995 season, a heartbreaking 30-28 loss for the Rose- Bowl bound Cats that prevented that season from being even more historical. When the coach of that '95 Miami team, Randy Walker, came to NU, he matched up against Miami twice, in 1999 and 2003, and the Wildcats were blown out at home in both. They were scheduled to play a third time under Walker's guidance, but as practically all of you know, he passed shortly before the 2006 season opener, which Pat Fitzgerald won 21-3 in his first game as head coach. For what it's worth, Mike Kafka threw for 106 yards and a touchdown in that game and led the team rushing with 89 yards in his first game on the collegiate level, and essentially nobody else is still around for NU, on the Miami side of the field, Andre Bratton, Miami's current starting RB, was a kick returner, but nobody else who recorded stats is still there.
Offense: Miami isn't really a big fan of scoring. As noted earlier, they're in a QB controversy, as senior Daniel Raudabaugh has been replaced by redshirt freshman Zac Dysert. Dysert has been better - albeit against arguably weaker opponents - but is still 69-111 with three touchdowns and five picks. Unlike Raudabaugh, Dysert can run, as he is the team's leader in rushing with 135 yards... wait, that can't be true.
/checks statistics page to make sure this is true
/refreshes page to make sure this is still true
/makes solemn oath that if Northwestern loses to a team so bad that their leading rusher is a redshirt freshman quarterback who has only started two games, he will drop out of school and become a wandering vagrant
Anyway, Dysert, the redshirt freshman quarterback who has only started two games is the team's leader in rushing, with 135 yards, after five games. Part of this is because this team likes to throw - 100 of Dysert's 111 attempts have come in his two games as a starter, so maybe they're aggressive game plan is to blame for lack of rushing yar-oh, wait, apparently, Dysert was sacked nine times by Cincinnati for a loss of 62 yards in one of those games. Screw this, this team is just awful.
Normally I tell you about the opposition's running backs, but they're not worth mentioning, because they're being outgained by a quarterback who has only played two games, and has been sacked about 40 trillion times, and the team averages 2.8 yards per rush play. I normally mention the opposition's wide receivers, but this team has a 5-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio through the air. I normally mention the opposition's offensive line, but this o-line is responsible for more sackings than GM. I feel dirty just previewing this offense.
Defense: What to say about a unit that gives up 40.8 points per game? Well, let's start with a positive: the NYT Quad Blog says that Miami had the best linebacking corps in a non-BCS conference last year. Sadly, now their two all-MAC linebackers have graduated, and there are really no bright spots on this defense. The defensive line also lost their two best players, and those two combine to give Miami a run defense that allows 174.2 yards rushing per game. The RedHawks do have three picks on the year, two by cornerback Brendon Stephens, who appears to be decent from stats alone, but, quite frankly, I'm out of good things to say.
Think about how bad the offense I described up above is. Think. Think about it. Go. Do it.
Now think about the fact that that offense has dominated the time of possession on the year. They held the ball for 40 minutes against Cincinnati, and only twice in those five losses has the other team held the ball for more of the game than Miami.
Normally, this would be a good indicator for your offense, or something. But I'm sensing here it means that oppositions are getting up and down the field against the RedHawks in about as much time as it takes for the Miami offense to go three-and-out.
By the way, I feel bad. I'm absolutely murdering this team, and I really hope we win just so I don't have to eat my words. Sorry to all the hard working Miami players who I'm absolutely crapping on.
Transitive property logic that leads me to believe we'll win this game by a lot:
Surprisingly, there are no transitive property loss strings connecting Miami (OH) to NU so far this year, so I was forced to dip into the 2008 bag a little bit. Hang on, it's a doozy.
9/19: Western Michigan, 48, Miami (OH) 26.
10/03: Northern Illinois, 38, Western Michigan, 3.
9/26: Idaho, 34, N Illinois, 31
9/12: Washington, 42, Idaho, 23
10/03: Notre Dame, 37, Washington, 30
9/12: Michigan, 38, Notre Dame, 34
11/15/08: Northwestern, 21, Michigan, 14
Transitive property score differential: 99.
Anyway, that's that, so, we'd better win.