I spent 10 years in Miami and the only thing I miss is the University of Miami Hurricanes. (Although bugs the size of Volkswagens were always entertaining.) We’ve been two years away from rightly reclaiming the national championship for about the past decade, and over the decades I’ve stuck it out through wins and losses, and various arrests and mayhem. (I prefer to forget the entire 1980s.)
The meaning of being a true fan is to remain optimistic even when 57 of your players are implicated in an epic financial-aid scandal or when one in seven of your scholarship players are arrested while on the team. Every program has its ups and downs, my friends. Many of you in this great state similarly stick by your teams and you know what I’m talking about.
We’re in a building year and the jokes about Miami being the school where they take the team picture from both the front and the side, or about the Hurricanes topping every poll from the AP to FBI are really no longer in fashion. Enough mud slinging. Let’s let our professionalism be a good example to those students who attend our alma maters. (Although I do enjoy this one about our esteemed colleagues, Florida State University: What do you call a drug ring in Tallahassee? A huddle. And I have to be even-handed, so I must put in one about our great friends at the University of Florida. How do you keep a Gator out of your front yard? Put up a goal post!)
While I do have my favorite Oregon team, I keep it under wraps to retain my journalistic impartiality when we write about the schools, like our cover story this issue by managing editor Ben Jacklet.
It’s no secret that the big schools have rich programs, especially the money that Phil Knight pumps into the University of Oregon’s program. (And those Ducks’ uniforms are worth every penny, IMHO.) But tiny little Pacific and George Fox universities are getting into the game with their own football programs to bolster admissions and boost their budgets. Good for them. Every school should know the joy of a winning team and the supreme heartache of being stuck with a bunch of losers … uh, sticking with your beloved team. One day you, too, will be great enough and feared enough to have your own roster of jokes.
My advice to the little schools: Keep the faith. Remember, you are only two years away at any point from winning the championship.