The Big Ten powers that decided in 1935 to schedule Michigan and Ohio State as each others last game of the season must have been able to foretell the future. Today many consider ‘The Game’ the greatest sports rivalry of the 20th century, including the United States Congress which recognized The Game as the “greatest sports rivalry in history.”
It’s tough to argue there is one better in all of college sports, especially if you bleed scarlet and gray or maize and blue. Coaches could have great years, but if they lose this single game…
|Former OSU head coach Earle Bruce was an assistant under Woody Hayes for seven seasons before leading the Buckeyes to a 5-4 mark against Michigan as head coach from 1979-87. He once said, “If you don’t win the Michigan-Ohio State game, that’s a problem.” “You’re not going to be recognized for too much success. We’ve had 11-1 and 10-1 football teams that lost to Michigan and they’re not even mentioned in the second breath.”|
The first game between the two was in 1897 and they have played each other every year since with seven exceptions: 1898, 1899 and between 1913 through 1917. Ohio State joined the Western Conference (now known as the Big Ten) in 1912, but Michigan left the conference between 1907 and 1917. The conference did not allow any of its members to play Michigan because it had withdrawn from the conference. Michigan rejoined the Big Ten in 1918 and thus the series was resumed. Michigan won the first conference game between the schools in 1918, but then Ohio State had three consecutive wins.
Michigan dominated the early years compiling a 13-0-2 record in non-conference match-ups between 1897 and 1918. The Buckeyes first win against Michigan came in 1919. UM leads the series 57-41-6. However, since 1952, Woody Hayes’ 2nd season as head coach, OSU has won 29, lost 25 and tied 2.
From 1968 through 1982, either Ohio State or Michigan won, or shared, the Big Ten Title. The same is true 16 more times in the 22 years between 1984 and 2005.
In 1968 Ohio State beat Michigan 50-14 and went on to win 1968 National Championship. It also ushered out Michigan head coach Bump Elliott.
|The next year, 1969, Bo Schembechler took over as head coach of Wolverines. He broke Woody Hayes 22 game winning streak and knocked #1 Ohio State from atop the college rankings. Some call this game the greatest college football upset of all-time. Woody said he thought his 1969 team, which went 9-1, was his best, even better than the 1968 National Champions.|
|The 1969 game was beginning of what became known as “Ten Year War.” For ten years OSU and Michigan dominated Big Ten play, splitting ten conference titles and finishing second eight times. Hayes supposedly could not bring himself to speak name of “that school up north,” hence OSU fans refer to UM as ‘TSUN’. Schembechler, who played for Hayes at Miami (OH) and was an OSU assistant coach under Hayes, enjoyed nothing more than beating his old mentor. After ten years of memorable on-field stratagems, sideline antics, and locker room psychological ploys, the two coaches came out almost dead-even with Bo holding a slim 5-4-1 advantage.|
In 1970 both teams were undefeated and faced each other in Columbus. Woody Hayes’ Bucks prevailed beating Bo and Michigan 20-9. At the time, OSU was ranked 5th nationally and Michigan 4th.
On five occasions, both teams went into The Game unbeaten. The Bucks won four and the fifth was a tie: 1944, OSU won 18-14; 1970, OSU won 20-9; 1973, 10-10 tie; 1975, OSU won 21-14; 2006, OSU won 42-39.
Ohio State spoiled perfect seasons for Michigan in 1944, (OSU won 18-14), 1970 (Ohio State won, 20-9), 1972 (Ohio State won, 14-11), 1973 (teams tied, 10-10), 1974 (Ohio State won, 12-10) and 2006 (Ohio State won, 42-39).
TSUN returned the favor, spoiling OSU perfect seasons in 1969 (Michigan won, 24-12), 1973 (teams tied, 10-10), 1993 (Michigan won, 28-0), 1995 (Michigan won, 31-23) and 1996 (Michigan won, 13-9).
Woody vs. Bo: Take a trip down memory lane with this multimedia presentation that highlights the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry during the years that Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler were at the helms of the Buckeyes and Wolverines. Our timeline features photos from the era, along with video clips from the 1982 retrospective The Ten Year War:Woody vs. Bo.(Source: Columbus Dispatch)
|OSU’s John Cooper, who had 2 undefeated teams beaten by Michigan, which basically cost Buckeyes national championships, won just 2 times in 13 years vs Michigan. Even though he had one of best records in college football (111-43-4) during those 13 seasons, he is almost singularly be remembered for his “failures” against Michigan.|
||A new era was born with arrival of Jim Tressel. In January 2001, during half time of the OSU-Michigan basketball game he told an attentive crowd: “I can assure you that you’ll be proud of our young people in the classroom, in the community and especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor”He was right. Coach Tressel was only the fourth coach in Ohio State football history to win his first game against Michigan. After nine games, he has posted a 9-1 record against TSUN. (Only one coach, Francis Schmidt, started 2-0 against Wolverines; he was 4-0 from 1934 to 1937.)
Under Head Coach Jim Tressel, Ohio State has beaten Michigan in all but one game. Read the game-day stories, from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, by clicking on the score: