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Ohio State and Michigan Traditions-What’s your fave?

With “The Game” approaching, we thought we’d list some of the traditions Ohio State and Michigan each have when it comes to this weekend’s game. Leave a comment if you wish to share your favorites or if you have your own!


Helmet Decals

ESPN has a wonderful piece on the helmet decals for each school. This is a great read!


The Annual Blood Battle

The week of every game has each campus holding a blood drive for their community. 





Michigan has won more of these than the Buckeyes. Not sure what to make of that!


Ohio State Crossing out the M’s


Going around campus or even on social media posts, true Buckeye fans will use red electrical tape (or whatever is available) and cover every letter “M” on a sign or in their posts.


Michigan fans don’t see the point.




Buckeye Nut Cracking

Jim Harbaugh cracking Buckeyes.


“Every year, Michigan fans walk through Forest Hills Cemetery during Hate Week to pay respects to Wolverine legends like Bo Schembechler. In 2015, Harbaugh placed a Buckeye (nut) near the grave and smashed it. When nuts are being cracked, you know it’s a true rivalry.”


TBDBITL and dotting the “I”

The Ohio State Marching Band is considered the premier band in the “land.” With their amazing halftime shows, they keep fans entertained and cheering for three hours in sun sleet, rain or snow.


Personally, I loved the SpongeBob one!




The other tradition is dotting the “i” when it comes to completing the script OHIO.



Save a seat for Fritz

Photo from Ann Arbor News

Every home football game in “The Big House” has a seat that is saved for Fritz Crisler, long time coach and athletic driector. No one knows what seat it is. Supposedly, it changes every game.


The stadium is known for having the largest crowds in all college football. The posted capacity for every home game always ends in a “1,” as per Crisler. Right now, the seating capacity for the Ann Arbor stadium is 107,601.



The greeting every student must learn on campus is when someone says, “OH” to you, you must respond, “IO!”


Started in 1942 by Navy soldiers on patrol in the Pacific, they would speak/sing “O-H-I-O-S-T-A-T-E” to the tune of Row, Row, Row your boat!


Matthew Sidley, a crewman on the USS Lexington, brought that with him when he made the Ohio State cheerleading squad in 1947. The entire phrase was confusing to the crowd (ok, Michigan fans, insert your joke here!), so he paired it to what it is today, even with the arm motions!



Hail to the Victors or “The Victors


John Eubel, a student at Michigan, composed the song after Michigan rallied to defeat the University of Chicago, 12-11. The win gave the Wolverines the Western Conference championship on Thanksgiving in 1898.


John Phillip Sousa first played it in Ann Arbor the next year and dubbed it the best college fight song ever



Hail! to the victors valiant

Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes

Hail! Hail! to Michigan,

   the leaders and best

Hail! to the victors valiant

Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes

Hail! Hail! to Michigan

   the champions of the West.


Carmen, Ohio

Cie Grant, former Buckeye, has a wonderful rendition of this song!


Carmen, Ohio was written in 1902 and is still the oldest school song still sung today. After being defeated by Michigan 86-0, student Fred Cornell composed the song. It is considered the official alma mater.


Jim Tressel, when he became coach of the Buckeyes, took it a level higher. After every home game, the players, cheerleaders, coaches, and fans with the band accompanying them sing the song. Every player MUST KNOW the lyrics! (So I am told!)



Carmen Ohio

Oh come let’s sing Ohio’s praise

And songs to Alma Mater raise

While our hearts rebounding thrill

With joy which death alone can still

Summer’s heat or winter’s cold

The seasons pass the years will roll

Time and change will surely (truly) show

How firm thy friendship … OHIO!

These jolly days of priceless worth

By far the gladdest days on earth

Soon will pass and we not know

How dearly we love Ohio

We should strive to keep thy name

Of fair repute and spotless fame

So in college halls well grow

And love thee better … OHIO!

Though age may dim our mem’ry’s store

We’ll think of happy days of yore

True to friend and frank to foe

As sturdy sons of Ohio

If on seas of care we roll

Neath blackened sky or barren shoal

Thoughts of thee bid darkness go

Dear Alma Mater…OHIO!


These are just a few of the crazy things each team’s fans and players will do. Now, all that remains is to play the game!


What is your favorite? One not listed here? Share in the comments, please!

I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tim Corbett

    November 23, 2022 at 5:48 pm


    Great work Bill.

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