Miami is 70th nationally in net average at 35.1 yards per punt, while Wisconsin is 78th in punt returns at 7.6 yards per return. Both teams are basically below average. Advantage: Even.
Wisconsin Punting vs. Miami Punt Returns
Wisconsin is 63rd nationally in net average at 35.5 net yards per punt, while Miami is 56th in punt returns at 9.0 yards per return. No real difference here. Nortmann has a solid leg, but coverage has been spotty. Advantage: Even.
Wisconsin Kick Returns vs. Miami Kick Coverage
Wisconsin is 100th at 19.6 yards per return while Miami is 44th in coverage allowing 20.8 yards per return with 6 touchbacks. Wisconsin is a little better than last year and Gilreath showed some life late in the year, but overall, the Badgers are still bad. Advantage: Miami.
Miami Kick Returns vs. Wisconsin Kick Coverage
Miami is 93rd nationally at 20.3 yards per return while Wisconsin is 116th in coverage allowing 25.6 yards per return with 12 touchbacks. Miami is a poor return team, much like the Badgers, and Welch has done a better job at getting the occasional touchback, but when it hasn't been downed, it has been trouble for the Badgers. Advantage: Miami
Wisconsin 3rd Down Conversions vs. Miami 3rd Down Defense
Wisconsin is 11th in the nation at 47.9 percent while the Miami defense ranks 38th at 36.4 percent allowed. Tolzien's efficiency has really boosted this figure this year. Miami is ok on 3rd down, but the Badgers are really good. Advantage: Wisconsin.
Miami 3rd Down Conversions vs. Wisconsin 3rd Down Defense
Miami is 12th in the nation at 47.7% while the Wisconsin defense ranks 40th at 36.4 percent allowed. Nearly identical situation on the other side of the ball. Advantage: Miami.
Wisconsin ranks 31st nationally at +5 (26 takeaways/21 giveaways) while Miami ranks 70th at -2 (18 takeaways/20 giveaways). What is interesting here is that Miami, despite some interception problems, still has fewer giveaways than Wisconsin. Then again, given the fumble problems of Clay/Brown, this does make some sense. Still... Advantage: Wisconsin.
Field Goal Kicking
Phillip Welch of Wisconsin is 15 for 22 for 68% while Matt Bosher of Miami is 14 of 16 for 88 percent. Advantage: Miami.
Wisconsin has been penalized 63 times for 556 yards. Miami has been penalized 90 times for 683 yards. Miami is one of the most penalized teams in the nation. Advantage: Wisconsin.
Time of Possession
Wisconsin ranks 4th nationally at 33+ minutes per game while Miami ranks 99th at 28+ per game. Advantage: Wisconsin.
Miami gets the edge in the kicking game, while the Badgers have the edge in turnovers and penalties. Turnovers often end up as the wild cards in games like this, but I would rate the "specials" even overall.
Miami Scoring vs. Wisconsin Scoring Defense: Miami Edge
Wisconsin Scoring vs. Miami Scoring Defense: Slight Wisconsin Edge
Wisconsin Rushing Offense vs. Miami Rushing Defense: Wisconsin Edge
Miami Rushing Offense vs. Wisconsin Rushing Defense: Wisconsin Edge
Wisconsin Passing Offense vs. Miami Passing Defense: Slight Miami Edge
Miami Passing Offense vs. Wisconsin Passing Defense: Miami Edge
Wisconsin Special Teams/Misc. vs. Miami Special Teams/Misc: Even
I know Badger fans tire of the clichés of the fast Southern team that throws the ball vs. the slow Northern team that runs the ball, but ultimately, that is what this one comes down to. Wisconsin should be fairly balanced, but will ultimately need to establish the run.
On the other side of the ball, Miami has their big edge throwing the ball on offense, provided they can protect Harris.
The bottom line is that this game looks very even on paper. I expect both teams to be able to move the ball and quite a few points to be put up onto the scoreboard. The numbers suggest something around 30-28, but with Miami getting the "home field:, I will go with 34-28 Miami.