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VARSITY NUMBERS: Surprise!

In today's Varsity Numbers over at Football Outsiders, I took a look at some of 2011's developments that have surprised me thus far.

Miami's offense has been quite a bit better than expected. Granted, they had a setback against Georgia Tech (262 yards in 64 plays), but despite a leisurely pace (they are currently the second-slowest team in the country), the Hurricanes have gained at least 335 yards in six of eight games, averaged well over five yards per play in seven and are passing the ball quite well (ninth in Passing S&P+). Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin have made for a lovely one-two punch at receiver, combining for 1,022 receiving yards and a per-target average of 12.3 yards. Of course...

Bad Surprises

...Miami's defense is terrible. While a slow pace has distracted people from giving the offense too many kudos, it is also distracting from the fact that the defense is allowing 5.7 yards per play. They looked great in a 24-6 win over Ohio State (a team that was completely listless in September) and solid against Georgia Tech, but they allowed 499 yards to Maryland (6.4 per play), 470 yards to Virginia (7.5 ... Virginia!), 482 to Virginia Tech (7.7), 429 to North Carolina (5.4) and, perhaps worst of all, 422 to Bethune-Cookman (5.0). They rank 98th in Def. F/+, and they have earned it.

And while we're in self-share mode, let's make sure you've seen everything else I did at the mothership this week...