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Next on the Chopping Block: Miami. Oh.

(copy-pasted this intro from the old site: 

Four times this year, and, well, every year, NU plays an out-of-conference opponent. The question arises: who are these guys? Some people only want to know who they are in a football sense, but, to truly understand our opponents on the gridiron, you have to know where they come from, so football strategy can wait. I plan on getting to know these universities a little bit better with posts on each college, mainly with info gleaned from their wikipedia pages.

This week's victim (or not): Miami University.

Where: Oxford, Ohio. You've probably heard of Oxford in relation to Miami, and probably never heard of it for any other reason. That's because essentially, uh, it's all they got. The town was founded in 1809, same year as the college, and has 21,000 residents, including school students, and, uh, 14,000 students attend the school's Oxford campus.So. It's basically a school. 

Size: As noted, 14,206 students (approximately 1.72 Northwesterns) attend the Oxford campus, but an additional 4,000 go to branches of the school elsewhere in Ohio, and 150 or so go to a weird branch of the school in Luxembourg, bringing the full count to 18,863, or 2.3 Northwesterns.

Stadium: Currently, the RedHawks play at Yager Stadium, a soulless lump of bleachers built in 1983 to replace Miami Field, the second-oldest college football stadium in the nation, built in 1896 that seated about 8,000. Of course, I've never been to either, or even seen photos of the original field, but, man, did you have to raze the 80 year old stadium to build a bunch of metal bleachers that looks like every other bunch of metal bleachers in the world? Just sayin'.

Mascot: The RedHawks. One word. Capitalized H. What's a RedHawk you ask? Why, it's a hawk that's red, something which doesn't exist in nature! Why is their mascot the RedHawks? Well, until 1997, they were the Redskins, after a 1928 student nicknamed the team "the Big Red-Skinned Warriors", which would have been a pretty beast mascot. But, as always, political correctness got the best of Miami, and in '97 they strapped on their creativity boots and changed the letters "S-K-I-N" to "H-A-W-K" and hoped nobody would notice. 

For the record, the official name of the mascot is "Swoop", which is a brief google check reveals is also the mascot of the Philadelphia Eagles, Utah, Eastern Washington, Emory, and recent NU opponent Eastern Michigan. I find few things more depressing than the changing of unique symbolism to represent your sports teams to boring mascots that everybody the hell else has, so, congrats, Miami, you've hit the friggin jackpot of boringness. 

Mascot if I ran the school: To be honest, the Redskins is actually a little to racist for my tastes, despite my aforementioned love of unique, slightly politically incorrect mascots. I'd go with the Hurricanes, just to throw everybody off.

Notable Alums: In terms of non-sports, the school has produced Benjamin Harrison (he was the president) Chung Un-chan (the current prime minister of South Korea, which is just weird, cuz, like, why would he go to the middle of Ohio to go to school) and Nick Lachey (the guy who did it with Jessica Simpson before Tony Romo.) It's actually a pretty long, surprisingly relevant list of people.

More importantly, the school has produced three people considerably more important to my life: ex-Cav, Laker and Sonic Ira Newble, who, surprisingly, isn't a Jew, but rather a man of questionable race with dreads, who will be most remembered by me not for his ball-playing, not for his intense involvement with Darfur - he was the guy who got everybody on the Cavs besides LeBron to sign a petition, which caused a stir at the time - but for this awesome photo of him kicking Mike Dunleavy in the face. I've looked at this photo many times to try and figure out how it happened, no dice.

Important basketball alums include current free agent gunner Wally Szczerbiak, whose name I actually didn't need to look up, and Ron Harper. Harper lived quite possibly the greatest life of any human ever, when you think about it. He was pretty good at basketball - actually really good, he averaged 23 and 11 at Miami in his senior year, forchrissake and is the all-time Miami leader in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks, which is damn impressive if you ask me - but parlayed this into a life in which he accomplished pretty much everything I could dream of. First off, arguably least important, he won five World Championships with the Bulls alongside MIchael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, which is a good start. More importantly, he was featured as a representative of the Clippers in the best video game of all time, NBA Jam, assuring himself immortality in awesome video games. More importantly, he was name-checked ("Roc-a-fella like Shawn Carter, more game than Ron Harper") by one of the top three rappers of all time, Big L, in this posthumously released song with Tupac, (who, for the record, isn't top three all time. Debate me if you want.) But most importantly, Harper was the subject of an entire episode of the seminal TV show "Kenan and Kel", arguably the best show of all time. I'll let the wikipedia summarize said episode:

On November 1, 1997, Ron Harper appeared in the Nickelodeon sitcom Kenan & Kel, in the episode titled "Foul Bull". In the episode, Harper, as a Chicago Bull, slips on some orange soda and gets injured, and all of Chicago is angry with Kenan & Kel, who try to apologize.

To sum up, Harper managed to be on the best basketball teams of all time, in the best video game of all time, in the rap songs of a guy who had some of the best lines of all time, and in hands-down the best show of all time.Move aside, Dos Equis guy. That's a life well lived.

UPDATE: turns out somebody uploaded this entire episode of Kenan and Kel to youtube. I just watched the whole thing. Here's the thrilling conclusion:

I highly suggest you watch the whole thing. Phenomenal acting and screenwriting. It's easy to see why this was my favorite show as a kid. 

Current NFL Players: The RedHawks have a measly four guys in the pros. One of them is this guy named Ben Roethlisberger, I think he plays for the Steelers.

Difference between the amount of times Miami (OH) has made the NCAA tournament and the amount of times NU has: 17. Yeah, not bad. Ron Harper holds a lot of records, but that doesn't mean everybody else who ever played here was a chump. The team has been to the sweet 16 four times, and went to the tourney most recently in 2007. Meanwhile, Northwestern, in case you haven't heard, has never been. Ever. Not once. Not even once. That noise you hear isn't me passionately sobbing, no, not at all. 

Elsewhere in Miami sports: Miami likes ice: the Redhawks lost in last year's national championship game, and they're one of 13 schools to have a D-I football, basketball, and hockey team, which is why they just built a $34 million dollar hockey arena. Odder, though, is the school's dominant synchronized skating team, which has been in the final four of the past two World Championships, 


So, uh, Miami of Ohio? The hell is that all about?: "Miami" refers to an Indian tribe that used to live in Michigan and Ohio, which gave its name to two rivers - the Great Miami and Little Miami - in southwestern Ohio. Unfortunately for people who like things that make sense, there's a city named Miami in Florida you might have heard of. The two are unrelated etymologically, for the record, but, either way, they're both named Miami. Anyway, the big Miami has it's own University, called the University of Miami. It was founded 115 years after Miami University, but still, people refer to that one as "Miami" with no additional specifications, or even "the U" because, um, it's a university? But poor Miami University generally takes on the title "Miami of Ohio" or "Miami (OH)" when referred to by members of the outside world. However, the official name is just "Miami University." But nobody's ever going to call them that until Oxford, Ohio has 2 million residents.

But Fitz went here!: Miami calls itself the "Cradle of Coaches" and rightfully so. A preposterous amount of football coaches have either attended or coached at Miami, including Bo Schembechler, Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank, Jim Tressel, Ron Zook, John Harbaugh, Sean Payton, and others, plus OSU's basketball coach Thad Motta. Of Evanston-centric appeal, Miami produced NU coaches Ara Parseghian and Randy Walker. The 0-5 start for new head coach Michael Haywood isn't exactly setting him up to enter the pantheon, plus, he went to Notre Dame, so, really, he's hopeless.

Miami plays home games on Fraturday: Six frats and sororities were founded at Miami, and five have their headquarters in Oxford which is why the Wikipedia chooses to call the town and college the "Mother of Fraternities." From what I've heard, the fact that a bunch of frats were founded there doesn't exactly make it a awesome place to go, though, so that's all the analysis I got. 

Anyway, unlike the past two days when I said "I'll have a post up later" and then didn't, today, I'll actually have a post up later. So get ready, and, sorry about my chronic lying to you the past two days. Also, I know you guys don't like these posts, but, guess what, I'm still doing them. Deal with it.