NFL Draft Diamonds

NFL Draft, NFL Trade Rumors, Scouting Reports & More

“The Game” Football’s Oldest Rivalry | Michigan Wolverines vs Ohio State Buckeyes

“The Game” Football’s Oldest Rivalry
Michigan Wolverines vs Ohio State Buckeyes
Michigan Wolverines vs Ohio State Buckeyes By: Dave Van Nett

“The Game” Football’s Oldest Rivalry

Michigan Wolverines vs Ohio State Buckeyes

125 Years

1897 – 2022

We are just days away from one of the greatest sports rivalries in collegiate sports. The entire sports world is waiting to watch the Michigan Wolverines play the Ohio State Buckeyes in its 125th-anniversary football game. With both teams having an 11-0 record in Ohio State at number 2 and Michigan at number 3 in the rankings, this game will go down in history.

This rivalry began in 1897 over a land dispute called the Toledo War or the Michigan-Ohio war.  Although the Toledo War took place from 1835 to 1836 the rivalry continued throughout the years until 1897 when Michigan State Wolverines faced the Ohio State Buckeyes in its first football game.

Since then, minus a few years, these two teams have faced each other every year with Michigan currently holding the win-loss record at 58-51-6. In most recent years, Ohio State has been the most dominant team but never count Michigan out, this weekend’s 125th-anniversary game should be one for the record books, both teams are 11-0 and ranked second and third.  

What makes the game the most anticipated game each year is the history of the participants in it.   These two teams have produced some of the greatest football players to ever walk on the field. Just to mention a few, Ohio State produced Eddie George, Jack Tatum, Mike Vrabel, Jim, Parker, Les Horvath, and so many more.  Ohio State even had a future President play for them, Gerald Ford.

Michigan has also put out some of the greatest players such as Charles Woodson, Dan Dierdorf, Tom Brady, Jim Harbaugh, Desmond Howard, Tyrone Wheatley, and too many more to mention.

It wasn’t just the players that made this game. Great, it was also the coaches, some of the greatest coaches in sports history have come from these two teams.   One of the most notable coaches in college football goes back to the turn of the century, Fielding Yoste.  Coach Yoste had a 29-year career in college football coaching, 25 years of which were on the Michigan wolverine sideline Coach Yoste is arguably one of the greatest coaches to ever lead a wolverine team.

What makes this rivalry so big in today’s world is that in 1968 a young coach left his mentor and took over the Wolverine program, Bo Schembechler.  Coach Schembechler left his mentor Woody Hayes at Ohio State for the head-coaching job at Michigan, Woody Hayes was furious, and the beginning of a 10-year war began.  What made this 10-year war such a big part of sports was the fact that at the beginning of the 1969 season Michigan was leading the win-loss record at 37-24-4.  Ohio State and Woody Hayes had won the last 12 of 18 games leading up to the 1969 season.  

Under the leadership of Coach Schembechler, Michigan did the impossible and beat Ohio State in 1969. Over the next 10 years, Michigan and Ohio State would battle each other at the end of the season not just for the Rose Bowl but the national championship possibilities as well.

After the 1978 game and the end of the 10-year war, Coach Bo came out with 5 wins, Ohio State 4 wins, and 1 tie. Michigan had won the 10-year war.  

The loss of the 10-year war to Coach Bo Schembechler was unbearable for Woody Hayes and the Ohio State alumni. After 28 years as the Ohio State Buckeye head coach with a win-loss record of 238 wins, 72 losses, and 10 ties Woody Hayes retired for good from collegiate football.  Bo Schembechler would go on and coach another 11 seasons with the Michigan Wolverines.

A little-known story about Coach Bo Schembechler is that in his book Lasting Lessons he was asked if he only had one week left on earth how would he spend it? His response to that question was, he would spend the last week on earth preparing the Michigan Wolverines to face the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Little did he know that in 2006 that would come true. Bo Schembechler died November 16, 2006, two nights before the Michigan and Ohio State game, after spending the week with the team. Some people will call it irony but I think Bo wouldn’t have it any other way.

Since the retirement of Woody Hayes, Ohio State has seen coaching greats such as Coach Jim Trellis, Urban Meyer, and currently Coach Ryan Day. Michigan has seen the likes of Gary Moeller, Lloyd Carr, and currently Jim Harbaugh. 

Since 2010, Ohio State has dominated this rivalry winning 9 out of 11 games. With these two teams ranked 2nd and 3rd, and both with a record of 11-0 this weekend’s match should be historic. Both Jim Harbaugh and Ryan Day have created a culture at their respective schools that dictates everything they do each season to prepare for this one game.

Both teams have struggled when they shouldn’t have struggled this year, but somehow they have pulled it out, in the end, to remain undefeated, this game has both NCAA playoff and national championship implications.  Although Coach Harbaugh and Coach Day have defined their culture within their schools, I guarantee you one thing, both coaches have not let anything break their focus this week. This is the biggest game on each other’s schedules but it’s also the biggest game of the year in the NCAA college football schedule.

Go Blue!!


Leave a Reply