• Coach: Don Treadwell, first season (0-0 record at school)

• Last season: 10-4, 7-1 (first in MAC East Division); defeated Northern Illinois 26-21 in MAC championship game; defeated Middle Tennessee 35-21 in GoDaddy.com Bowl

Talent pool

The RedHawks have not one, but two capable quarterbacks in redshirt junior Zac Dysert and Austin Boucher. Dysert started 10 games before suffering a lacerated spleen, and Boucher didn't miss a beat as the replacement. Center Brad Bednar and right tackle Josh Harvey started every game in 2010. Nick Harwell caught 64 passes for 871 yards and six touchdowns. Linebacker Jerrell Wedge had 101 tackles, including 15 for loss.

Exclamation points

The defense produced 35 turnovers last season (21 interceptions, 14 fumbles), and most everyone returns. The key statistic was allowing only a 36 percent conversion rate on third down. The linebackers are active, led by Wedge, Evan Harris (94 tackles, six interceptions) and Ryan Kennedy (35 tackles, 81/2 for loss). Dysert showed signs of becoming a great leader before being injured. He also is accurate, completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 2,406 yards.

Question marks

Treadwell played for Miami and was an assistant, but can he maintain the chemistry that predecessor Mike Haywood developed during what was a Cinderella season in 2010? Treadwell has quite a track record with stops at Michigan State as offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2010 and at North Carolina State, Cincinnati, Boston College and Stanford. Miami also must find a starting tailback to replace Thomas Merriweather (921 yards, 12 touchdowns) and a go-to receiver to replace Armand Robinson of Reynoldsburg (94 receptions, 1,062 yards).

Outlook

The RedHawks have been chosen to win the division, and that is difficult to dispute, with 17 starters back. The key will be staying healthy during a tough nonconference schedule that includes Missouri, Minnesota and Cincinnati.