With last week's victory over Oregon still fresh in our minds, it's easy to overlook a certain MAC squad that is en route to the Boise as we speak. Miami University had a rough season opener against Kentucky (as in "42-0 rough") and are surely looking to get some mojo on their side this weekend. Unfortunately, Boise isn't really a good venue for that, and there is a very real possibility that the Redhawks will be held scoreless for the second straight week when things kick of at 6 PM on Saturday. Most fans, like me, know little about the Redhawks or their (surprisingly) storied institution in Oxford, Ohio. Needless to say, there is a lot to be learned about this week's foe (don't worry, Kellen Moore already knows their defense intimately)...so let's all give the Redhawks a closer look through the magic of factoids and childish jokes. It's time to get to know your enemy, Bronco Nation...so take notes.
Ten things Bronco fans probably didn't know about Miami University or their red-tinted retreat to the east.
10) Miami University was founded in Oxford, Ohio in 1809 and is the 10th oldest public university in the entire United States. The university's first president was a Scottish expat by the name of Robert Hamilton Bishop. Bishop was a Presbyterian minister and professor who envisioned Miami U as the "Yale of the West". For all Bishop's academic strengths, it appears that geography was not his specialty.
9) Miami University, better known as Miami of Ohio, played it's first football game in 1888. Their first football game was also their first football season as Miami only had one game on the docket...a December tussle in Oxford against Cincinnati. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. The following year, a coachless Miami squad went 4-0 and outscored their hapless opponents 100 to 4.
8) Most folks don't know that one of college football's greatest coaching rivalries was born at Miami...well, sort of. Legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes and legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler both got their head coaching feet wet for the first time at Miami before moving on to their more well known institutions. Hayes holds the edge over Schembechler in win percentage (73% to 69%) whilst at Miami, though Schembechler coached 4 more seasons in Oxford. Hayes also holds the edge over Schembechler in the "punching Charlie Bauman" category with a sparkling 1-0 record.
7) Most people think that Ben Roethslisberger is the most accomplished football player to ever come out of Miami University. Those people are correct. Big Ben left Miami after just 3 years, but passed for over 10.000 yards and 80 TDs. The Roethlisberger-led 2003 squad went 13-1 and finished #10 in the AP poll (their first ranking since 1975). Their lone loss that year was to the Iowa Hawkeyes, who finished #8 in the final AP poll. Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowl rings since being drafted in 2004, but his proudest accomplishment is starting his own signature line of BBQ sauces.
6) Miami's football team has only been known as the "Redhawks" since 1997. Prior to that they were known as the "Redskins"...and going even further back, the team was known as "the Big Reds", "the Reds and Whites", and even "the Miami Boys". I think "the Miami Sound Machine" has a nicer ring to it...but what do I know?
5) Miami University is home to one of the first varsity synchronized skating teams in the country. Notice I said "first" denoting that more than one actually exist. Word has it the sport is kind of like hockey...except with more unitards and techno music.
4) Stout D? The Redhawks have only allowed an opponent to score in excess of 50 points 14 times since 1888. I suppose this is one advantage of playing in the MAC. FYI, Boise State has allowed the feat 16 times since 1968. Idaho? 45 times.
3) Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States, was a Miami University grad. Harrison totally pwned incumbent Grover Cleveland in the 1888 election, but was defeated by Cleveland in 1892. During Harrison's term in office (1889-1893), six states were admitted to the union, including Idaho. He died from influenza in 1901. Not many universities hold claim to presidential alums, but the University of Idaho comes close...Larry Craig went there.
2) One famous landmark of the Oxford campus is the Tri-Delt sundial. The dial tells the correct time 4 times a year—slightly less dependable than a broken watch, which is correct twice a day.
1) Miami's student newspaper, The Miami Student, was founded in 1826 and claims to be the oldest university newspaper in the country. Benjamin Harrison was reportedly very good at the Jumble™, but struggled mightily at Sudoku. Dartmouth College disputes Miami's claims of having the oldest university newspaper, claiming theirs was founded in 1799...why you always such a buzzkill, Dartmouth?
There, now we know a bit more about the Redhawks. I hope everybody had fun...but not too much. There will be a test.