In the long history of the Glass Bowl, the University of Toledo football team has hosted several high-profile opponents. Probably none is bigger than the one that's coming to town in five years, though.
The University of Toledo and the University of Miami have signed an agreement that will bring the Hurricanes to the Glass Bowl in 2015, with the Rockets making a return trip to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., in 2016.
"There's a huge buzz not only among UT fans but also around the [Mid-American Conference], and I think that's good for the league," UT athletic director Mike O'Brien said. "Obviously, it's great for us too. This is arguably the highest-profile opponent ever signed to come to here. Miami's won five national championships, and their program is on the way back to where they want it to be."
O'Brien announced details of the agreement Monday, but he said he's been in negotiations with Miami athletic department officials for some time now.
"As I've said numerous times, scheduling is about relationships and putting a puzzle together with years and dates," O'Brien said. "We contacted Miami several months ago and started talking about dates and arranging some type of series. Then a few months later, they contacted us about a home-and-home [series], and I called them as soon as I closed the e-mail. The dates worked for both sides, a contract was drawn up, and it was signed last week."
UT and Miami have played once before - a 24-14 win for the Hurricanes at the Orange Bowl on Nov. 21, 1987. Miami was ranked No. 3 in the nation at the time and went on to win the national championship that season thanks to a 20-14 win over then-No. 1 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
The Hurricanes also have four other national titles to their credit.
"I'm excited that we are adding the Miami Hurricanes to our schedule," UT coach Tim Beckman said. "This will be a great series for our future Rockets and fans to look forward to."
Miami is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference and finished 9-4 overall, 5-3 in the ACC, in 2009.
"This game speaks to the University of Toledo, our tradition, and the thought as to where coach Beckman is going to take this program," O'Brien said. "It's a win-win. When you talk about exposure, I'd like to there's a great possibility of both of these games being on television, and that never hurts us."
The Miami game is the latest addition to a challenging nonconference home schedule in upcoming years for the Rockets. This fall UT hosts Arizona and Wyoming and down the road Boise State (2011), Navy (2013), Missouri (2014), and Iowa State (2015) will visit the Glass Bowl.
Previously, the Rockets have secured home dates against Colorado, Fresno State, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Minnesota, Navy, Pittsburgh, Purdue, and Syracuse.
"When we go into recruits' homes, it's such a positive to be able to tell them that coming to the Glass Bowl, you'll be competing against the likes of Miami and other BCS schools that we have coming here," O'Brien said. "That's such a huge thing to tell your recruits."
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