The rivalry between Ohio and Michigan dates back before football to a territorial dispute along the border in 1803. The border rivalry extended to football just a few decades later and has since been one of the most storied rivalries in history. ESPN has called the University of Michigan-Ohio State rivalry the greatest sports rivalry of the 20th century. The schools do not play for a trophy, but serious bragging rights are on the line.
MIRROR LAKE JUMP
The history of exactly when and how this tradition started is unknown. However, for years, on the Thursday night before the OSU-UM game, the “Phantom Band” (members of the OSU Marching Band) would come out late at night, round up students from their dorms, and play school songs on their walk to Mirror Lake, where everyone would jump into the freezing waters. Although the band is no longer involved, students have kept this tradition alive every year off and on since the early 1900’s.
In 1934, when asked how OSU would perform against Michigan, first-year coach Francis Schmidt declared, “They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like everybody else.” Schmidt’s team then went on to shut-out Michigan four consecutive times. Since then, players received a gold charm replica of a pair of football pants every time they defeat Michigan.
Since 1913, Senior Tackle has been a ceremony of sorts where the senior players get to hit the blocking sled one last time as a Buckeye. Although sometimes held at the last practice before a bowl game, this tradition usually takes place during the last practice before the Buckeyes take on Michigan.
TUNNEL OF PRIDE
The formation of the Tunnel of Pride is a rather new tradition that started in 1995. The Tunnel of Pride began not against Michigan, but against the University of Notre Dame when the two teams met in Ohio Stadium for the first time in 50 years. Ex-OSU quarterback Rex Kern and former Director of Athletics Andy Geiger invited former OSU players to from a tunnel for the team to run through onto the field. The Tunnel of Pride has continued since then whenever OSU plays Michigan in Ohio Stadium.
KEGS & EGGS
So this one might not be as storied as the others, and certainly not unique to Ohio State or Columbus, but it’s still a popular event when OSU plays UM in Columbus. Bars around campus open as early as 5:30am to serve beer and breakfast to excited fans.