OXFORD, Ohio — It took longer than expected, but Miami University, the 2019 MAC champs, are back.
Eleven months since they played their last game, where they won their first conference title since 2010, Miami returns to the field to open the season against Ball State. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Redhawks head coach Chuck Martin is aware his seventh team in Oxford will have to hit the ground running.
“I've been trying to convince our kids it's week seven not week one,” Martin said. “There’s only six weeks left in the season. We’re in the home stretch.”
It'll be a full-on sprint. The conference opted for a six-game, conference-only schedule before the league’s Dec. 18 championship game.
“We didn't have a normal off-season; we didn't have a normal preseason. We're going to have to drudge through,” Martin said. “If you’ve watched college football or the NFL, it hasn’t always been aesthetically the prettiest. We’re going to play as good of football as we can play.”
The Redhawks have the conference's best NFL prospect in left tackle Tommy Doyle. Quarterback Brett Gabbert was the MAC’s Freshman of the Year.
They enter the game against Ball State tonight as the favorite to win the MAC East again. But that was last year, and that was a long time ago.
“The past doesn't really mean anything,” senior defensive back Mike Brown said. “So just looking forward, nothing really matters this year could lose every game and still be 2019 MAC champs. This year is more important than last year.”