The Ohio State and Michigan Rivalry

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines have one of the most storied rivalries of all time. This past Saturday’s 42-13 Buckeye victory in Ann Arbor was no different. In fact, ESPN and Fox Sports have listed the Ohio State – Michigan rivalry as one of the best rivalries in all of sports. It is believed, the rivalry dates all the way back to the Toledo War of 1835, which wasn’t a football game at all. Instead, it was a bloody battle between the state of Ohio and Michigan territory over the desired Toledo strip. Like the theme of this site, Ohio won the war and gained its claim to the Toledo area. In return, Michigan received the Upper Peninsula. In actuality, the first football match between the two schools was in 1897 and over the next 15 years Michigan won 13 times, lost 0, and tied twice. The rivalry picked up steam from 1969 to 1978, known as the “10 year war”. Bo Schembechler, who was an assistant under Woody Hayes, took the head coaching job at Michigan. During the 10 year war, Ohio State and Michigan were both ranked in the top 5, 4 separate times before matching up. During the 10 year stretch of Hayes and Schembechler, Michigan gained the edge, boasting a record of 4-5-1. Throughout the rest of their history, the final game of the season usually determined which team would win the Big 10 Championship. Since 1897, Ohio State and Michigan have combined for 76 Big 10 Championships. The all-time series record is led by Michigan 58-47-6. Considering Michigan won the first 13 match-ups, Ohio State is slowly closing the gap. In the last 20 years, Ohio State has come out triumphant with a record of 14-6. To add to the rivalry, Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich, signed a resolution before the OSU-Michigan game declaring gameday to be known as “Scarlet Saturday” and encouraged Ohio residents to avoid wearing khaki pants or using the letter “M”.