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5 things to love about the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, even if you don’t like sports


It’s that time of year again — Michigan Week.

Ohio State and Michigan will battle Saturday during the 114th edition of the rivalry. OSU coach Urban Meyer is 5-0 against Michigan, and he’ll move into third on the Ohio State list of most wins against the Wolverines if the Buckeyes win on Saturday. He’s currently tied with his mentor, Earle Bruce, who was 5-4.

But even if you don’t care about sports, there are still plenty of reasons to find the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry interesting. Here are five:

1. Ohio and Michigan have been battling against each other off the field since the 1800s

Issues between Michigan and Ohio started during a dispute in 1835 and 1836. The states argued over ownership of the Toledo Strip, drawing state borderlines.

“This famed rivalry did not get started on the football field, but rather a conflict over the Toledo Strip. The conflict erupted when both Ohio and Michigan claimed Toledo as a part of their statehood petition. After a brief and bloodless battle, Ohio gained the disputed area from Michigan,” Ohio State said on its website.

2. Ohio State once insisted they play against Michigan in a blizzard

Ohio State insisted on playing against Michigan at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Nov. 25, 1950 during a raging blizzard. On that Saturday, five inches of snow had already fallen before the game kicked off, and it kept falling during the game. Winds gusted to almost 30 mph, creating near white-out conditions at times. It was the worst blizzard to strike Columbus in 37 years.

» RELATED: Waiting out the storm: A look at the blizzard of 1950

3. Ohio State players get some bling if they beat Michigan. 

Ohio State started the “Gold Pants” tradition decades ago. After a victory against Michigan, Ohio State players and coaches receive a gold miniature charm shaped as tiny football pants. “Many former football players recall receiving their Gold Pants as their most memorable part of their careers at Ohio State,” according to Ohio State.

4. Darth Vader went to the University of Michigan

Ohio State fans will say Michigan appeals to the Dark Side, but it’s also the alma mater of Darth Vader — kind of. American actor James Earl Jones, who is famously known for voicing Darth Vader in Star Wars, graduated from the School of Music, Theatre and Dance in 1955. He initially enrolled at Michigan as a pre-med student.

5. Students actually lived in Ohio Stadium

During the Great Depression, OSU Dean of Men Joseph Park found that top students couldn’t afford college and thought the university was missing out on talented applicant, according to the OSU library archives.

» RELATED: 7 numbers to know about the Ohio State-Michigan series

“He identified two locations on campus where about 75 men could live in barracks style: the ground floor of Larkins Hall, to be known as the Buckeye Club, and the southeast tower of Ohio Stadium, to be known as the Tower Club. The next year, 78 men enrolled in the first two scholarship dorms. Throughout the Great Depression, the number of deserving students from poverty-stricken Ohio families far outpaced the supply of housing. In 1935, with support from the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), dorm floors for another 100 students were constructed, suspended from the stadium’s structural supports,” according to OSU library archives.



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