Buffalo Bulls (7-3, 5-1 MAC) at. Miami RedHawks (0-10, 0-6 MAC)
Yager Stadium – Oxford, Ohio
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 – ESPNU/WatchESPN 8 p.m. ET
Let's say you have one team that's been playing really well. Like incredibly well. Then you have one that has had season go so horribly wrong that the fans, and likely the players, can't wait for it to end. The hot team has a bigger matchup in the following week that could determine the fate of the team's legacy. Meanwhile this week, said team is facing the awful desperate squad. Well my friends, you have what we like to call a "trap game" and it's precisely what Tuesday's matchup between Buffalo and Miami could be if the Bulls take the RedHawks and their 0-10 record too lightly and look ahead to their showdown with Bowling Green next week.
Of course no team will ever admit to looking past an opponent, but it does happen, and it's not hard to imagine the 7-3 Bulls looking past an inferior Miami team that is without its head coach and starting quarterback from the season opener, and has only gone downhill since. Especially since next Friday the Bulls take on Bowling Green (7-3, 5-1 MAC) in what will be the deciding game for the MAC East crown
Coming off a 51-41 loss to Toledo (37) a week ago, on the road, Buffalo is fired up and ready to prove that the loss was just a bump in the road, and nothing more. But Miami is bad. There's no denying it. The 'Hawks are on a 14-game losing streak and on the tail end of a season from Hell. So while one might think the Bulls would come out firing looking to exert punishment on Miami, you also have to be weary of the trap game effect. Stranger things have happened.
There's no bigger way to take an awful season and put a glimpse of hope on it then knocking off a Goliath at home. While the RedHawks have looked bad, there are still good players on the roster, and young players not yet jaded by the lack of success. Kent Kern is a force at linebacker, and Dayonne Nunley is still one of, if not the best corner in the conference. Austin Gearing and Drew Kummer are a two-headed threat at quarterback, both with playmaking abilities, though a lot to learn.
Buffalo's stout defense will need to give them full attention and the offense will need to avoid letting Kern and others shake them to avoid a scare. For a team like the Bulls, which suddenly burst into this success, staying focused could be an issue, especially with so much on the line the following week.
Of course if Buffalo gave Miami the attention and credit it deserved in practice this week, it should be over by halftime. Joe Licata is coming off a humongous game against the Rockets, on primetime, and Bo Oliver is one of the best backs in the country right now. The RedHawks' defense hasn't been able to stop anyone this season. If the Bulls are a true champion-caliber team then the offense should burry Miami before Oxford realizes the Bulls are in town.
Either way this game could actually be an interesting one to watch, either to witness a scare of epic proportions or see the Bulls flex their muscle for the nation.