Miami-Ohio is considered a solid No. 2 team in the Mid-American Conference East Division behind conference powerhouse Ohio University. The RedHawks may be that one team Ohio U. needs to be concerned about, even as loaded as the Bobcats could be. We discuss the topic in our team preview below:
MIAMI-OHIO 2023 PREVIEW
THE CONF.: Mid-American Conference (MAC)
2022 RECORD: 6-7 (went to Bahamas Bowl, lost to UAB 24-20)
CONF. FINISH: Tied for 4th in MAC East
HEAD COACH: Chuck Martin (1oth year at school - 45-59; 16th year overall - 119-66)
ALL-STAR CANDIDATES: Brett Gabbert, Sr./QB (injured most of 2022 — career: 6,259 pass yards, 45 TDs); Brian Ugwu, Jr./DE (11 TFLs, 5 sacks); Dom Dzioban, Jr./P (42.4 punt avg, best punter in MAC); Corey Suttle, Jr./DE (31 tackles, 6 sacks); Matthew Salopek, Jr./LB (124 tackles); Graham Nicholson, Jr./PK (18 of 23 on FGs); Jack Coldiron, Jr./TE (649 career yards receiving); Miles Marshall, Sr./WR (390 yds receiving, TDs); Reid Holskey, Jr./OT (25 starts past two seasons); Michael Dowell, Sr./FS (97 tackles)
THE NEWCOMER: Gage Larvadain, Jr./WR (1,252 career receiving yards, 7 TDs at Southern Louisiana)
Miami-Ohio has consistently been a bowl-game level team, and clearly is again this year — and having a Gabbert family member (that would be Blaine and Tyler's little bro, Sr. Brett, at the helm) is a big plus. And considering the RedHawks have to play P5s in the non-conference slate each year, an overall record of 23-20 since 2019 isn't too shabby (2020 was a three-game slate due to CoVid).
Coach Chuck Martin has been here in Oxford, Ohio for a decade for a reason, and the material is here to follow the pattern above, but there is certainly tough competition.
THE KEY GAME AND WHY
A third grader who follows college football would know this answer: It's Oct. 28 at Ohio U., Miami-Ohio's biggest obstacle when it comes to making the MAC Title game in early December. Last year it had a 16-point loss to Ohio U. at home, and the Bobcats are no slouch in 2023. This is when we'll learn the most about Miami-Ohio.
THE TOUGHEST GAME AND WHY
As usual, we'll first point out the obvious ones when it comes to Power Five money-game trips to Miami (Fla.) and to P5 newbie and Miami-Ohio rival Cincinnati. Truth is? Miami, Fla. isn't exactly a world beater like it once was, but this still should be a loss for the RedHawks, and Cincy should be too. If Miami-Ohio pulls one of these off? The MAC had better be on notice.
But the most pivotal matchup aside from what was in the segment above?
Well, the defending MAC champion (from the MAC West) is Toledo, and the Rockets are coming to Oxford to face the RedHawks Oct. 21 for Homecoming — one week before the road trip to Ohio U. Wow, what a two-week gut-punch that is, eh?
THE CHANCES OF MAKING CONF. TITLE GAME
The RedHawks' chances are better than 90 percent of the rest of the conference, but back-to-back weeks against last year's title game participants — Toledo and Ohio U. — don't exact make this a cakewalk. Look for the RedHawks to once again be a bowl-game participant, because this is a very strong G5 opponent for anyone who has to face it.
This a tradition-rich program that has made four bowl games in the past seven seasons, and one exclusion was in the CoVid season and the other two were during 6-6 and 5-7 seasons. Bottom line? This program may not win in the double-digits, but it wins more than it loses. The non-conference sked has a pretty obvious split: the games against downtrodden FBS UMass and FCS Delaware State are guaranteed wins, and the P5 games on the road at Miami (Fla.) and Cincy should be losses.
When it gets to conference? To hit at least six wins to make a bowl, there's a very good chance for six wins, in fact that's basically a lock, based on the MAC schedule. Seven wins with this team is very realistic and even eight wins is achievable — it just really hinges on the experience here. If the RedHawks hit the eight-win mark? It's the best season since 2019 — and yes, it really could happen.
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