“Michigan Week” Traditions at Ohio State

The Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry is undoubtedly one of the most intense, long-standing college football rivalries of all time, and with every rivalry comes its fair share of traditions. In Columbus, Ohio, not only is the matchup highlighted on game day, but in a week-long celebration of Buckeye pride and Wolverine demise. While these week-long festivities do quite a bit of poking fun at U of M, the two teams come together for worthy causes to help out both of their communities as well. Below are some of the traditions that have developed in Columbus over the years during one of the biggest rivalries in the nation:

Photo courtesy of themichigandaily.com


Blood Battle
I know what you’re thinking, and, no, this is not literally a blood battle. Every year, The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan hold blood drives for their students to see who can donate the most blood to the American Red Cross. The Wolverines have edged out the Buckeyes over the past four years, but Ohio State students hope to change it this upcoming season. Other drives have also been held during the rivalry week, such as clothing and canned food drives.


Red M’s across campus
Every year during “Beat Michigan Week,” something magical happens overnight. When students wake up on campus during that Monday of game week, every “M” across campus is covered in scarlet tape. It is a mystery to students as to who exactly pulls off this awesome stunt every year, but students love it because it gets them pumped up for the game that week and boils their blood even more to add to the rivalry.


Photo courtesy of buckeyefansonly.com

Gold Pants

In 1934, then Buckeye coach Francis Schmidt said the Michigan players, “put their pants on one leg at a time, same as everyone else,” acting seemingly cool after their victory over Michigan 34-0. The comment transpired into a tradition of a group of businessman deemed “The Gold Pants Club” to award a golden pants charm to each player who defeats the University of Michigan.


Buckeye Craft Night
This tradition was started by one of OSU’s student organizations – The Ohio Union Activities Board. Every year they hold a “Beat Michigan Craft Night,” where students can decorate signs, make buckeye necklaces and other game day gear to support their school. Best part about it? It’s free!


Photo courtesy of thelantern.com

The Mirror Lake Jump
What started as a group of less than 100 people in 1990 has grown into crowds of over 10,000 students jumping into Mirror Lake during the week of the Ohio State vs. Michigan game. Originally the jump would be done on the Thursday night prior to the game, but due to scheduling changes, it is now done during the Tuesday of game week. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., hoards of students dressed in (or some barely at all) buckeye gear jump into Mirror Lake on campus and celebrate their love for Ohio State. Keep in mind, this is held during the last week of November, so temperatures of below 30 degrees are bound to happen – but that doesn’t seem to faze students at all. To truly get an idea of how outrageous it is, simply search “Mirror Lake Jump” on YouTube.


From charitable work to jumping into a freezing lake, Ohio State fans certainly make the most of their rivalry with the Wolverines. It will certainly be a game to watch this year, as both are in years of transition.  As for my pick of who will win? O-H…!

About: Kelly Rogers

Kelly Rogers is a Senior at The Ohio State University and is majoring in Strategic Communications. She is originally from Moline, Illinois, but her loyalty remains to the Buckeyes. She is involved with sorority life, campus programming, and undergraduate research at Ohio State. She plans to pursue a career in Public Relations and Journalism.