, Ohio (PressExposure) April 10, 2009 -- The Ohio State University. You may hear fans, sports writers, and former player refer to Ohio State beginning with "The". The reason being is the amount of history that has come from this school from the Northeast. Ohio State is known for many things, whether it be their Buckeye stickers or playing in one of the largest stadiums in the nation Ohio Stadium, more popularly known as the Horseshoe. The stadium seats over 103,000 screaming fans and is completely enclosed making it also one of the loudest stadiums in the country. The alumni and fans of Ohio State have a stigma that there is no better school in the nation and to respect the school, they add the famous "The" prior to stating their school loyalty. They are also some of the most knowledgeable football fans in the country and have a great understanding of the tradition of college athletics.
Ohio State is one of the oldest college football programs in the country having competed in varsity football for 119 years. The team enjoyed early success winning numerous conference titles in the 20's and 30's and in 1942 won their first national championship. Ohio State was a team that was feared because of the strength and grit of the players that represented the school. However, it was not until a coach by the name of Woody Hayes came along that it put the entire nation on notice.
Woody Hayes became the coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes in 1951 and took the Ohio State football team to heights that were at the time unimaginable. Hayes quickly turned the Ohio State football team into a smash mouth football team brining in some of the strongest and biggest players across the country to his team. He also stressed the running game which has caused Ohio State to be considered Running Back University because of the amount of running backs that have gone on to the NFL after playing for the Buckeyes. During his time with Ohio State which spanned 27 years, the team won thirteen conference championships and five national championships. Hayes accomplished his goal to make Ohio State one of the most successful programs in the nation and he retired in 1979.
Over the next 20 odd years, the team and school considers this time to be forgettable with some of the worst teams taking the field and a number of coaches that were unable to return Ohio State to any sort of respectable level of competition. However in 2001, a coach by the name of Jim Tressel turned the program around in a hurry and won a national championship in his second year as head coach, since that time, Ohio State has returned to two more national title games and is consistently ranked in the Top ten to being and end the season every year since the arrival of Tressel.
Ohio State is well known as well for many traditions, some of which started almost 100 years ago. One in particular is the senior tackle, which is where all seniors for their last practice will hit the tackle bag one last time before leaving the field. This practice has been done since the early 1900's and no coach has dared to change this long tradition. Another famous tradition that is known by college football fans across the country is "Dotting the I". This is performed by the Ohio State Marching Band, who refers to themselves as the best damn band in the land. The Marching Band will form the word Ohio in cursive on the field and the last person will run over and "dot the I" in order to complete the word. This happens before every home game and gets the team and fans fired up for the action about to take place.
Michigan-Ohio State. Two teams that when they are mentioned in the same sentence will send chills up the spines of everyone from Ohio and Michigan. This is the most intense rivalry in all of college sports and arguably all of sports in America. This game is traditionally played as the last regular season game for both teams; however, both teams are looking forward to this game at the beginning of the season. This game almost always has conference title implications and more often than not, national title implications as well. The rivalry is so intense that high school players from each state rarely will go to their home states rival due to backlash that they receive from family and friends. The rivalry is so lasting that even when players have graduated college they are still booed or chastised if they are in the opposition's home state. Fans of each school would gladly take a one win season, if the one win had been over the other school. Between both schools, they share 18 national championships and 75 conference titles. This rivalry is rich with history with the first game being played in 1897 and it is still being played with the same intensity 111 years later. Currently, the series lead is owned by Michigan by a 15 game margin.