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The history of the Miami vs. Miami ‘Confusion Bowl’

Three times before, Miami has defeated Miami. In 2023, Miami will again beat Miami.

USA Today

In 2023, Miami will play Miami in Coral Gables. No, I’m not talking about a spring football scrimmage or anything like that — the Miami (Florida) Hurricanes and Miami (Ohio) Redhawks announced a game at Hard Rock Stadium for Sept. 2.

These two schools don’t have a lot in common beyond their name. The origins of their names are similar, but different.

The University of Miami (Florida) was founded in 1925, ultimately named after the Mayaimi Native American tribe that lived near Lake Okeechobee.

Miami (Ohio) University’s name also reflects a different Native American nation, one that lived in the Miami Valley region of Ohio.

The public school in the MAC is actually more than a century older than the Canes’ private school, putting together a football team 37 years before Miami (Florida) even opened its doors. But because the Hurricanes are more prominent in the sports world, they’re usually just referred to as Miami, while the team in Oxford, Ohio usually has an “(Ohio)” added onto its name.

Decades after both schools started football programs, both began influencing the history of football to a greater extent than anyone anticipated.

Miami (Florida) went from a small, middling independent to a five-time national champ that has produced a ton of NFL stars, while the mid-major Miami (Ohio) program is credited with producing the “Cradle of Coaches,” including Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, and Bo Schembechler.

The two schools have played three times: in 1945, 1946, and in 1987, during a Miami (Florida) national championship season.

Miami (Florida) has won all three games at home, defeating Miami (Ohio) by an all-time scoring margin of 101-33.

Fitting for any Miami vs. Miami matchup, the 1945 meeting was dubbed “The Confusion Bowl.”

Logan Daily News

Folks were pretty confident that Miami would come out victorious over Miami:

Sandusky Register

“I can’t make a mistake if I say ‘Miami has the ball,’” William Bach, the Hurricanes’ PA announcer, said via the Associated Press. It sounded like Miami (Ohio) was excited to remind people that there was, in fact, another Miami team:

Dayton Daily News

Miami (Florida) won 27-13 in the Friday night Confusion Bowl, and ruined a Miami (Ohio)’s five-game win streak. The Miami down south finished 8-2 on the season, and the Miami from Ohio went 7-3. Neither of the Miamis played another Miami again this year, though.

The 1946 matchup once again went by the same name. Although Miami from Florida entered as 13-point favorites, the Miami out of Ohio hung tough throughout, but lost 20-17.

Miami (Ohio)’s mascot was the Redskins until it was mascot changed in 1997.
Dayton Daily News

The two Miamis had to wait a whole 40 years before they played each other again. Sportswriters once again boldly predicted Miami would lose to Miami:

Daily Herald

This game was over from the start, pretty much. Per the Miami News, Miami not from Ohio scored a school-record 30 points in the first quarter, and added another 24 against the Miami not from Florida by the end of it.

The Miami up north was one of 12 teams the Miami from down south beat that season, and Jimmy Johnson’s squad then defeated No. 1 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for the national title. The Miami (Ohio) team was the lone Miami squad that Miami from down south defeated that year.

It’s a little too early to predict how both these teams will look in 2023.

But I can say with full confidence, like many sportswriters have predicted before me, that Miami will beat Miami. You can take that one to the bank.