In January 2010, I visited Oxford, Ohio for the first time after taking many colleges around the state, schools that include Ohio State, Cincinnati, Akron, Kent State, and Ohio. Before visiting Miami, I was absolutely dead-set on going to UC; I was in love with the campus and the city (plus, it didn't hurt that the Bearcats were stupid loaded around that time with Zach Collaros, Mardy Gilyard, and Isaiah Pead, and their uniforms are still pretty dope). Despite all the snow in Ox, I just fell in love with everything about the place: the town, the halls, the academics, the history, the opportunities, everything. By the end of the visit, I made up my mind that I was going to go to Miami and UC was a distant second option.
Fast forward to football season, and I remember where I was when Miami went down to Florida to play Urban Meyer's Gators in the 2010 season opener. Even though it was a lopsided 34-12 loss, the RedHawks did show some competitiveness against a more talented team (John Brantley notwithstanding) and I made an effort to keep the 'Hawks on my radar during the season.
Then, the Red and White made their epic run late in the season as they won five of their last six games of the regular season, most of which without starting quarterback Zac Dysert due to a lacerated spleen late in the year, so Miami had to rely on freshman Austin Boucher at the helm. With a spot in the MAC title game clinched against Northern Illinois in the midst of their run of dominance in the conference, Miami looked to claim its first MAC championship since the 2003 season.
I remember watching the MAC championship game that year, and what a wild game that was, with one of the most memorable moments in Miami's storied history with receiver Chris Givens catching a tipped ball on fourth-and-20 to keep the RedHawks' game-winning touchdown drive alive, upsetting the vaunted #25 Huskies and
honorary Canadian star quarterback Chandler Harnish in the process.
The magical season continued into 2011, when the 'Hawks downed Middle Tennessee State 35-21 in a game that was memorable for a lot of reasons, from interim head coach Lance Guidry's pregame speech, to Miami controlling both sides of the ball with 400+ yards of offense and four interceptions on defense, and Boucher doing the most Miami thing a Miami quarterback can possibly do to celebrate a bowl victory. On top of all of this, the Red and White became the first FBS team to go from from double-digit losses to double-digit wins in consecutive seasons.
I got my acceptance letter from Miami in December 2010, but I considered myself a RedHawk over a year before then. While the program has experienced more lows than highs since that time (thanks Don Treadwell, for being the worst thing to happen to Miami since the Civil War closed the school down), but its time is coming soon, and if 2010 is any indication, the MAC is a better league when Miami is good.