First and foremost: Miami was a University when Florida belonged to Spain. Now that I have that out of the way...
History: The Miami University (The article "The" is in the official name but is not typically used) has its roots all the way back to George Washington, who as president signed the supporting land grant authorizing the University. It was founded in 1809 as the tenth public college in the United States and was very highly regarded (known as the "Yale of the West"). The school's name refers to it's location in the Miami River valley (home of the Little Miami River and the Great Miami River). The rivers were named after the Miami Indians who lived in the area before European settlement.
Like the rest of the country, Miami University split apart during the Civil War. Most volunteered for the Union (more than any other school except West Point). The rest (southern students) enlisted in the Confederate armies. At the end of the conflict, the "Old Miami" could not survive (only 104 out of 516 American colleges would) primarily because of four hard years with virtually no tuition, the many student and professor casualties, and the southern families that would no longer send their sons north for an education. In 1873, unable to pay the huge debts the school closed. With the help of supporting alumni and Ohio legislators, the "New Miami" was reopened in 1885 and over the course of the twentieth century Miami absorbed two women's colleges located in Oxford: Oxford College and Western College for Women.
Location: Miami University is located in the small college town of Oxford, Ohio -- approximately 30 miles northwest of Cincinnati. The tree-shaded campus lawns are bordered by red brick Georgian-style buildings and it is universally described as one of the most picturesque campuses in the United States. American Poet Robert Frost once described Miami as "the most beautiful college there ever was." Currently, there are 14,265 undergraduates and 1,501 graduate students on the campus. 64% of the students are from the state of Ohio. If you are a heterosexual guy, you have a better than average chance of getting a date on this campus -- as women constitute 55% of undergraduate students and 68% of graduate students.
Nickname: Use of the nickname Redskins for Miami athletic teams dated back to the 1930-31 school year, when the Miami alumni magazine announced the new nickname as successor to Big Red, which had caused confusion with Denison University teams. In 1996 (8 years before the NCAA got involved) at the urging of the Oklahoma-based Miami Tribe the Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the use of Redskins as the nickname for the university's athletic teams. A contest generated more than 700 different names from the Miami community. At its meeting on April 19, 1997, the board selected the nickname RedHawks from three nickname finalists - RedHawks, Thunderhawks and Miamis. The new moniker went into effect July 1, 1997.
Mascot: This marks the second week in a row we have battled with a bird mascot named "Swoop". One can only hope we can even our record against the dreaded Red Tail Hawk. The Miami version of Swoop was introduced in 2007. If you are interested in what Swoop did to prepare for his debut season, check it out.
Colors: Yet another Red and White team. Prior to the Civil War, Miami's library had fewer than 1,000 books and there was no need for a large facility. Before school library was built there were more books in the local literary societies' than in the university library system. The Erodelphian and the Union (the local societies which had more books than Miami), had colors of red and white respectively, which lead to Miami's school colors.
Logo/Helmet: Miami currently uses a nifty stylized "M" as its primary logo. Prior to 1998 they used a basic block "M" on their helmets. Based on my quick research, it appears that Miami has the most stable helmet design in the entire MAC conference. There really has not been that many changes to the basic design of the helmet, other than the basic adding and removing of middle stripes and mid-sixties and early eighties attempt to place an Indian holding a small tomahawk decal in the front.
Fight Song: Miami's fight song was composed in 1908 by Professor of Geology Raymond H. Burke. Before the music I have embedded was composed, students sang the words to the tune of "Oh My Darling Clementine"
Love and honor to Miami,
Our college old and grand,
Proudly we shall ever hail thee,
Over all the land.
Alma mater now we praise thee,
Sing joyfully this lay,
Love and honor to Miami,
Forever and a day.
Academics: The latest US News and World Report rank Miami University as the 66th best National University in the country. Amongst fellow MAC schools, Miami is the top academic institution, but that is not really saying much since only OhioU (116th) and Buffalo (121st) break into the Tier I school category. It is rated the 3rd best in the state of Ohio (CWRU is 41st and Ohio State is 56th). The personal education Miami provides has been compared to that at the best private schools and resulted in Miami being named one of the original "Public Ivy" universities. In an effort to make college more affordable to Ohio students, Miami offers a varied in-state tuition plan based on financial need: Ohio families earning $35,000 or less annually pay no tuition. Miami has consistently been among the top 10 major public universities nationwide for its graduation rate. The Wall Street Journal named Miami as one of the top feeder schools for 15 elite graduate programs in an article titled "Want to go to Harvard Law."
Athletics: The RedHawks compete in NCAA Division I in all sports. Miami's primary conference is the Mid-American Conference (MAC); however the hockey program is a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). The Miami University RedHawks football team is one of the oldest programs in the country, dating back to the year 1888. They have won 14 MAC titles, but only 2 (1986 and 2003) in the last 20 years. They have a 6-3 record in their 9 bowl games. The school boasts the longest continuous college football rivalry west of the Allegheny Mountains (against the Cincinnati Bearcats) -- for which the winner takes home the Victory Bell.
The RedHawks have appeared in sixteen NCAA Basketball Tournaments and current NBA player Wally Szczerbiak led them to the sweet sixteen in 1999. Recently, Miami built on campus the new Goggin Ice Center, with a capacity of around 4,000 and a cost of over $34 Million. This serves as the home to the Redhawks hockey team. In 2006 they became the first Miami sports team to be ranked #1 in the country and won the CCHA regular season championship (they lost to Sparty in the tourney). They also have one of the top Synchronized Skating programs in the country.
Famous Alums: Miami is well known as the "Cradle of Coaches" because several prominent football coaches were student/athletes and/or coaches at Miami before achieving greater fame at more prominent college programs or the NFL. Among these coaches were Earl Blaik, Paul Brown, Sid Gillman, Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, Weeb Ewbank, Bo Schembechler, Randy Walker, Ron Zook, Joe Novak, and Jim Tressel.
Miami graduated an American President in Benjamin Harrison, placing the school in a prestigious category of Presidential alma maters. Miami is only one of four colleges (Stanford, Michigan, and the U.S. Naval Academy) to produce both a U.S. President and a Super Bowl winning quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger). It is also the alma mater of Marvin Pierce (Former president of McCall publishing and George W. Bush's grandfather), Chris Rose (Best Damn Sports Show Period) and Richard Smucker (President of Smucker’s brand foods).
The Game: Miami got beat down last week by Vanderbilt. Normally that would be all I would need to say to convince anyone of an easy Michigan victory on Saturday. However, this year XBox simulations mean nothing and there will be no easy Michigan victories.
Do I think we will beat Miami? Yes !! we better beat them.
Do I think it is possible for us to lose to Miami (and break a perfect all-time MAC record)? Well, during the 2008 Michigan football season, anything and everything is possible. A loss to Miami is not likely but possible.
All kidding aside, I am hoping for the typical dramatic improvement any young team sees from week one to week two. We should be able to take what we learned from last week and build on it. I am predicting a better defensive performance in the 1st half and a win, but it won't be a blow-out. 28-17 Michigan.