Scarlet and Gray
The Ohio State Buckeyes football team is a collegiate football team that competes as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, representing The Ohio State University in the Leaders Division of the Big Ten Conference. Ohio State has played their home games at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio since 1922.
The Buckeyes claim seven national championships along with 36 conference championships and ten undefeated seasons. Ohio State is second among all Big Ten programs in terms of conference championships (34) and has an overall record of 460-195-28 in conference play. With 837 wins in over 123 seasons of football, Ohio State ranks fifth among all programs in terms of total wins and is fifth all-time in win–loss records in the NCAA. In 2009, ESPN ranked Ohio State as the third most prestigious college football program in history behind only Southern California, (USC), and Oklahoma.
Football was introduced to the university by George Cole and Alexander S. Lilley in 1890. Lilley led the Buckeyes to a record of three wins and five losses over his two seasons as head coach. Ohio State was a football independent from 1890 to 1901 before joining the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) as a charter member in 1902. The Buckeyes won two conference championships while members of the OAC and in 1912 became members of the Big Ten Conference. The school saw its first real success in football and in the Big Ten under head coach John Wilce, who spent sixteen years at the university and won three conference championships, with a Rose Bowl appearance in 1928. Ohio State won two more Big Ten titles under head coach Francis Schmidt and would win their first national championship in 1942 under legendary head coach Paul Brown.
Following World War II, Ohio State saw sparse success on the football field with three separate coaches and in 1951 would hire Woody Hayes to coach the team. Under his guidance Ohio State won 13 Big Ten championships, five national championships (1954, 1957, 1961, 1968 and 1970), and four Rose Bowl wins out of eight appearances. Following Hayes' dismissal in 1978, Earle Bruce became the head coach, leading the Buckeyes to a conference championship and a Rose Bowl appearance in his first season. Bruce coached for the Buckeyes from 1979 to 1987 and was replaced in 1988 by John Cooper. Under Cooper and Bruce the Buckeyes won seven conference championships.
Jim Tressel was hired as head coach in 2001 and quickly gave Ohio State its seventh national championship in 2002 with a win in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State won seven Big Ten championships under Tressel and appeared in eight Bowl Championship Series games, winning five of them. Through the 2011 season, Ohio State has compiled an official overall record of 837 wins, 316 losses, 53 ties and has appeared in 43 bowl games, with the most recent coming in 2012 Gator Bowl.
In late 2010, it was found that five Buckeye players had improperly sold memorabilia to the owner of a tattoo parlor. The players were to be suspended for the first five games of the 2011-2012 season. Tressell decided against calls to suspend the players for the 2011 Sugar Bowl, which the Buckeyes went on to win 31-26 over Arkansas and their fifth BCS bowl victory since hiring Tressel. In March 2011, it was discovered that Tressel had prior knowledge of the violations committed by his players, and he was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. After facing months of intense criticism and damning reports, Tressel resigned (later changed to 'retired') as head coach on May 31, 2011. Luke Fickell, assistant coach and former Buckeye player, was hired as the interim coach for the 2011-2012 season. Tressel left Ohio State as its third-winningest coach and won or shared 7 Big Ten titles.
On November 28, 2011, two-time National Championship winning coach and native Ohioan Urban Meyer became head coach, and in his first year led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record, winning the 2012 Big Ten Leaders Division, though sanctions kept them from the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game and postseason bowl games.
In the spring of 1890 George Cole, an undergraduate, persuaded Alexander S. Lilley to coach a football team at the Ohio State University. The Buckeyes first game, played on May 3, 1890, at Delaware, Ohio, against Ohio Wesleyan University, was a victory.
OSU's first home game took place at 2:30 p.m. on November 1, 1890. The Ohio State University played the University of Wooster on this site, which was then called Recreation Park. Just east of historic German Village, the park occupied the north side of Schiller (now Whittier) between Ebner and Jaeger in what is now Schumacher Place. The weather was perfect, and the crowd cheered loudly. Nonetheless, OSU lost to Wooster, 64–0. Wooster, physically fit for the game, showed OSU that training is critical to winning. Thus, the tradition of training continues.
Over the next eight years, under a number of coaches, the team played to a cumulative record of 31 wins, 39 losses, and 2 ties. The first game against the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, was a 34-0 loss in 1897, a year that saw the low point in Buckeye football history with a 1–7–1 record. Jack Ryder was Ohio State's first paid coach, earning $150 per season, and lost his first game, against Oberlin College and John Heisman, on October 15, 1892.
In 1899 the university hired John Eckstorm to bring professional coaching skills to the program and immediately went undefeated. In 1901, however, center John Segrist was fatally injured in a game and the continuation of football at Ohio State was in serious question. Although the school's athletic board let the team decide its future, Eckstorm resigned. In 1912 football underwent a number of developments that included joining the Western Conference, making football as part of a new Department of Athletics, and hiring Lynn W. St. John to be athletic director.
Chic Harley attended East High in Columbus and was one of the greatest players to attend an Ohio high school. He passed, ran, received, punted, kicked and played defense. Harley came to Ohio State in 1916 and Columbus fans instantly fell in love with the Chic. Harley and the Buckeyes won the very first Big Ten championship in school history in 1916 when the Buckeyes finished 7–0. He would repeat in 1917 finshing 8–0–1, giving the Buckeyes a second outright title. In 1918, he left to be a pilot in the air force for World War I. With Harley's return in 1919, the Buckeyes would only lose one game—to Illinois. Chic Harley left OSU with a career record of 22–1–1. At the time, OSU played at the small Ohio Field and Harley brought such record crowds it became necessary to open Ohio Stadium in 1922. The stadium was built entirely on fan donations and several stadium drives around the city where Harley would often appear. In 1951, when the College Football Hall of Fame opened, Harley was inducted as an inaugural member.
Ohio State's very first rival was Kenyon College, a small liberal arts college in Gambier, roughly 50 miles to the northeast. The Buckeyes first played them in their first season in 1890 on Nov. 27, Kenyon won the first two meetings; however, Ohio State won 15 in a row and the rivalry diminished. Kenyon made it their season goal to defeat OSU. After the Bucks joined the Big Ten they stopped playing Kenyon. The all-time record stands at 18-6, OSU.
In hiring Francis Schmidt in March 1934 to coach its football team, Ohio State moved its program to a "big-time" level of competition. Schmidt was a well-established coach and an acknowledged offensive innovator. His offensive schemes were a "wide-open" style called "razzle-dazzle" and led him to be the first Buckeye football coach granted a multi-year contract. Schmidt's first four seasons saw victories over archrival Michigan, all by shut-out. The 1935 squad went 7-1, its sole loss was to Notre Dame, 18-13, in the first contest between the programs. However Schmidt's remaining seasons were less successful, except in 1939 when the Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship, and his popularity faded for a number of reasons. On December 17, 1940, he resigned.
Ohio State hired the coach of Massillon Washington High School football team, Paul Brown, to succeed Schmidt. Brown's Tigers had just won their sixth straight state championship. Brown immediately changed Ohio State's style of offense, planned and organized his program in great detail, and delegated to his assistant coaches using highly structured practices. In 1942, Ohio State lost 22 veteran players to military service as the United States joined World War II, and with a team of mostly sophomores went on to lose only once in winning its first national championship. Brown accepted a commission in the United States Navy in 1944 and directed his assistant Carroll Widdoes to head the team in his absence. The 1944 team fielded 31 freshmen but went undefeated and untied, including a victory over Paul Brown's Great Lakes Navy team. Ohio State finished second in the national rankings behind Army and Les Horvath became the first Buckeye to be awarded the Heisman Trophy. Also prominent on the 1942–44 teams was the first Buckeye African American star, Bill Willis.
Brown chose not to return to Ohio State after the war, going into professional football instead. Widdoes, despite having the highest two-year winning percentage of any Buckeye coach, asked to return to an assistant's position. Offensive coordinator Paul Bixler and Widdoes switched positions, and Bixler endured a mediocre 4–3–2 season. Bixler resigned and talk of Ohio State being a "graveyard of coaches" became commonplace, a reputation that lingered for decades.
Wes Fesler became head coach in 1947 but finished last in the Big Ten for the only time in team history. Ohio State improved greatly in 1948, winning 6 and losing 3, then in 1949 enjoyed a successful season due to the play of sophomore Vic Janowicz. Ohio State received the Rose Bowl invitation, where they came from behind to defeat California. In 1950 Fesler, rumored to be resigning because of pressures associated with the position and abuse of his family by anonymous critics, returned to coach the Buckeyes, who won six games in a row to move into the top ranking in the AP poll. However the season fell apart as the Buckeyes lost to Michigan during a blizzard, a game that came to be known as the "Snow Bowl". Two weeks later, citing concerns about his health and family, Fesler resigned.
Wayne Woodrow "Woody" Hayes beat out Paul Brown, among others, to be named head coach on February 18, 1951. He instituted a demanding practice regimen and was both aggressive and vocal in enforcing it, alienating many players accustomed to Fesler's laid-back style. The 1951 Buckeyes won 4, lost 3, and tied 2, leaving many to question the ability of the new coach. In 1952 the team improved to 6-3, and recorded their first victory over Michigan in eight years, but after a 1953 loss to Michigan, critics called for the replacement of Hayes.
In 1954 the Buckeyes were picked to finish no higher than 10th in the Big Ten. Hayes, however, had the talents of Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, and a historic goal-line stand against Michigan propelled Ohio State to a perfect season. Hayes led the powerhouse Buckeyes to a shared national championship (his first and the team's second). In 1955 the team again won the Big Ten, set an attendance record, and won in Ann Arbor for the first time in 18 years, while Hopalong Cassady was securing the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State passed only three times against Michigan (the sole reception was the only completion in the final three games of the year), leading to characterization of Hayes' style of offensive play as "three yards and a cloud of dust".
In a 1955 article in Sports Illustrated, Hayes admitted making small personal loans to financially needy players. The article resulted in a furor over possible violations of NCAA rules, and the faculty council, followed by the Big Ten and NCAA, conducted lengthy investigations. Big Ten Commissioner Kenneth "Tug" Wilson found Hayes and the program guilty of violations and placed it on a year's probation in 1956. In 1957 Ohio State won all of its remaining games after an opening loss to claim the Big Ten championship, win the Rose Bowl over Oregon, and share a national championship title with Auburn, for which Hayes was named Coach of the Year.
In 1961 the team went undefeated to be named national champions by the FWAA but a growing conflict between academics and athletics over Ohio State's reputation as a "football school" resulted in a faculty council vote to decline an invitation to the Rose Bowl, resulting in much public protest and debate. Over the next 6 seasons Ohio State finished no higher than 2nd, and had a losing season in 1966, and public speculation that Hayes would be replaced as coach grew to its highest point since 1953.
In 1968 Ohio State defeated the number one-ranked Purdue Boilermakers and continued to an undefeated season including a 50-14 rout of Michigan and a Rose Bowl victory over the USC Trojans that resulted in the national championship. The Class of 1970 became known as the "super sophomores" in 1968, and might have gone on to three consecutive national championships except for what may have been the most bitter loss in Buckeye history. The winning streak reached 22 games as Ohio State traveled to Michigan. The Buckeyes were 17-point favorites but directed by first-year coach Bo Schembechler, Michigan shocked the Buckeyes in a 24-12 upset.
The 1969 loss to Michigan initiated what came to be known as "The Ten Year War," in which the rivalry, which pitted some of OSU’s and UM’s strongest teams ever, rose to the uppermost level of all sports and the competition between Schembechler and Hayes became legendary. Four times between 1970 and 1975, Ohio State and Michigan were both ranked in the top five of the AP Poll before their matchup. The Wolverines entered every game during those years undefeated and won only once, a 10-7 victory in Ann Arbor on November 20, 1971.
Both teams used the annual game as motivation for entire seasons and after the initial win by Michigan, played dead even at four wins and a tie apiece. Hayes had the upper hand during the first part of the war, in which Ohio State won the conference championship and went to the Rose Bowl four straight years, while Michigan won the final three. It was also an era in which through television Ohio State football again came to the forefront of national attention.
Hayes set the tone in spring practice in 1970, placing a rug at the entrance to the Buckeye dressing room emblazoned with the words: "1969 MICH 24 OSU 12 — 1970 MICH:__ OSU:__" as a constant reminder of their objective. The "super sophomores", now seniors, used a strong fullback-oriented offense to smash their way through the season undefeated, struggling only with Purdue the week before the Michigan game. The return match in Columbus found both teams undefeated and untied, a "first" in the history of the rivalry, with Michigan ranked fourth and Ohio State fifth. Ohio State combined a powerful defense that held Michigan to only 37 yards rushing, a rushing offense employing two tight ends as blockers, and a 26-yard touchdown pass from Kern to Bruce Jankowski to win 20-9. The Buckeyes returned to the Rose Bowl to be upset by Stanford 27-17. The "super sophomores" had garnered a record of 27-2, the best winning percentage of any three-year period in team history, and won or shared the Big Ten title all three years. The National Football Foundation named Ohio State its national champion for 1970.
1971 was less successful than the preceding seasons, but the middle four years of the 10-year war saw the greatest success for Hayes against Michigan, although the teams fell short of repeating their 1968 national championship. Archie Griffin began his college football career in 1972, taking advantage of new NCAA eligibility rules that allowed freshmen to compete at the varsity level. In his second game, sent in against North Carolina late in the first quarter, Griffin set a new Buckeye rushing record with 239 yards and led the team in rushing for the season with 867.
The following season Hayes installed an I-formation attack with Griffin at tailback and fellow sophomore Cornelius Greene at quarterback. The Buckeyes went undefeated with a powerful offense and equally impenetrable defense, achieving an average margin of victory of 31 points a game. The only blemish on their record was a 10-10 tie with Michigan after both teams had entered the game unbeaten. (The tie was more galling for the Wolverines, however, as the Big Ten selected Ohio State to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.) Despite soundly defeating defending national champion USC, however, the tie with Michigan resulted in the Buckeyes finishing second to Notre Dame in the final AP rankings. Griffin, Randy Gradishar, Van DeCree, and John Hicks were named All-Americans; Hicks, an offensive tackle, not only won both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies, but placed second in the Heisman Trophy competition.
1974 and 1975 were seasons of both elation and frustration. The Buckeyes twice more defeated Michigan and went to two Rose Bowls, but lost both. The 1974 team seemed bound for another national championship when it was derailed by a loss to unranked Michigan State (Ohio State lost only twice in the regular season during Griffin's 4-year career, both to the Spartans), and the next year the #1-ranked Bucks lost 23-10 to 11th-ranked UCLA in the 1976 Rose Bowl. In all the Buckeyes were 40-5-1 from 1972–75, winning the Big Ten all four years and never losing to Michigan, but each loss and the tie were crucial in failing to win another championship. Archie Griffin, however, received the Heisman Trophy for both years, off-setting much of the frustration, and amassed 5,589 yards in his career.][
The falloff in success of Hayes' last three years was not great. His teams forged records of 9-2-1, 9-3, and 7-4-1, and made bowl appearances in all three years (the rules had changed to allow appearances in other than the Rose Bowl). However frustrations in losing three straight years to Michigan, and other factors, resulted in growing criticism of Hayes and his methods, particularly his on-the-field fits of temper. Even so his downfall was sudden and shocking when near the end of the nationally-televised Gator Bowl, Hayes punched Clemson middle guard Charlie Bauman after Bauman intercepted a pass to kill Ohio State's last chance to win. Hayes was fired after the game by Ohio State president Harold Enarson and athletic director Hugh Hindman.][
Hayes was replaced by a former protégé, Earle Bruce. Bruce inherited a strong team led by sophomore quarterback Art Schlichter but that had also lost eleven starters, and the 1979 squad exceeded pre-season expectations, ending the 3-year loss drought against Michigan and going to the Rose Bowl with an opportunity once again to be national champions. The Buckeyes lost both by a single point, 17-16, but Bruce was named Coach of the Year. His success was hailed by those in the media who saw it as a rebuke of Hayes and the start of a "new era".
1980, however, saw the start of a trend that eventually brought criticism to Bruce, when Ohio State finished with a 9-3 record, the first of six consecutive years at 9-3. Though each of these seasons, and the 10-3 season that followed them, culminated in a bowl game, Ohio State did not appear to be any closer to a national championship than during the end of the Hayes era. Bruce's teams were not without impact players, however. All-Americans and future National Football League stars included Keith Byars, Cris Carter, Chris Spielman, John Frank, Jim Lachey, Tom Tupa, Marcus Marek, and Pepper Johnson. His program was also known for the number of notable assistant coaches on staff, including Jim Tressel, Glen Mason, Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and Dom Capers.
The 1980 team was selected as the top-ranked team of the pre-season AP poll and opened the season with four games at home, but were shocked in the fourth game by UCLA, shut out 17-0. The team rebounded to win its next six easily, but then were shut down by a ball-control Michigan team that allowed the Buckeyes only 23 minutes with the ball, then lost again to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.
In 1981, Ohio State opened strong, including a victory at Stanford in which senior Art Schlichter out-dueled John Elway, but then lost back-to-back games to Florida State and Wisconsin (their first victory over the Buckeyes in 22 games). The Buckeyes continued to struggle on defense, losing a third time, at Minnesota. Victories over Michigan to gain a share of the Big Ten championship and over Navy in the Liberty Bowl salvaged the season.
For the first time since 1922 the Buckeyes lost three in a row in Ohio Stadium in 1982, including rematches with Stanford and Florida State, and for the second year in a row to Wisconsin, but then won seven straight, the last over BYU in the Holiday Bowl. Sophomore running back Keith Byars had a stand-out season in 1983, rushing for 1,199 yards, and Ohio State defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, but three losses in conference meant a 4th-place finish. 1984 witnessed what Bruce called "the greatest comeback after the worst start" when Ohio State fell behind Illinois 24-0 at home but roared back on 274 yards rushing and five touchdowns by Byars to win 45-38. Ohio State also defeated Michigan to win an outright Big Ten championship. Byars led the nation in rushing and scoring but finished second in Heisman balloting.
Byars broke his toe just prior to the start of the 1985 season, ending his Heisman hopes and seriously handicapping the Buckeye attack. He returned against Purdue with Ohio State at 4-1 and scored twice, but then re-injured his foot the next week against Minnesota. Iowa was top-ranked nationally when they came into Ohio Stadium favored to end the longest home winning streak in the country, and were the first #1 team the Buckeyes faced since Purdue in 1968. Ohio State's defense dominated with four interceptions to win 22-13.
In 1986 Bruce received a 3-year contract, the first for the modern program but the team opened with two losses, which had not occurred in over 90 years. The Buckeyes then won 9 in a row before Michigan took a close game when kicker Matt Frantz missed a field goal with a minute to play. After the season Bruce was offered the position of head coach at the University of Arizona with a 5-year contract but was persuaded to stay at his alma mater by Athletic Director Rick Bay. Hopes for a standout season in 1987 suffered a serious setback when All-American wide receiver Cris Carter was dropped from the team for signing with an agent. Indiana defeated Ohio State for the first time since 1951, 31-10, in a game that came to be known as the "darkest day", and Ohio State lost three conference games in a row going into the Michigan game.
On the Monday of Michigan week, after a weekend of rumors and speculation, Ohio State President Edward Jennings fired Bruce but tried to keep the dismissal secret until after the end of the season. Bay, who had been instrumental in keeping Bruce at Ohio State, disregarded Jennings' orders and announced the firing and his own resignation in protest. Jennings made his own situation worse by refusing to give a reason for the firing and the circumstances have been the subject of controversy since. The Buckeyes enjoyed an emotional come-from-behind victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor after the entire team wore headbands bearing the word "EARLE", then declined an invitation to play in the Sun Bowl.
John Cooper was hired as the 21st football head coach at Ohio State before the end of 1987 and before he had coached his last game at Arizona State University. Cooper's coaching record at ASU and at Tulsa prior to that stood out among his credentials, as did a victory over Michigan in the 1987 Rose Bowl.
Cooper's thirteen years as Buckeye head coach are largely remembered in the litany of negative statistics associated with him: a notorious 2-10-1 record against Michigan, a 3-8 record in bowl games, a 5-year losing streak to Illinois to start his term and a 6-7 record overall, and blowing a 15 point 3rd quarter lead in a 28-24 loss to unranked Michigan State when the Buckeyes were the top-ranked team in the nation and en route to a national championship. However his record also has many positives: back-to-back victories over Notre Dame, two finishes second-ranked in the polls, and three Big Ten championships (albeit shared). Cooper also recruited 15 players who were first-round draft picks in the National Football League.
Both 1988 and 1989 began identically: an impressive season-opening win followed by an embarrassing loss to a highly-regarded team (Pitt and USC); a rebound win against two other highly-regarded programs (LSU and Boston College) followed by a loss to Illinois in the conference opener. However 1988 saw Ohio State lose its first three conference games and a close game at home against Michigan for a 4-6-1 record, its first losing season in 22 years. In 1989 the Buckeyes won 6 consecutive Big Ten games before losing its last two to go 8-4. The most noteworthy victory occurred in Minneapolis when Ohio State overcame a 31-0 deficit to Minnesota to win 41-37.
1990 continued the pattern with a 2-win 2-loss start and an overall 7-4-1 record that included an embarrassing loss to Air Force in the Liberty Bowl. 1991 was 9-4, notable primarily as the season that sophomore running back Robert Smith quit the team. 1992, with senior Kirk Herbstreit at quarterback, was 8-3-1, but the losing string to Michigan was broken with a 13-13 tie. Persistent rumors that Cooper would resign or be fired were laid to rest when University President Gordon Gee announced he would be back in 1993.
The next 6 seasons were very successful, winning ten or more games in 5 of the 6 and sharing the conference championship in three. Eddie George won the Heisman Trophy in 1995 after a tremendous senior season, Ohio State defeated Notre Dame in 1995 and 1996, and won half its bowl games. But in three seasons (1993, 1995, and 1996) the Buckeyes entered the Michigan game undefeated, with the possibility of a national championship in at least one, and lost all three to underdog Wolverine teams. Ohio State had won 62 games and lost only 12, but a third of those were to Michigan.
After renewing his contract and becoming a member of the "million dollar coaching club", Cooper started sophomore Austin Moherman against the Miami Hurricanes in the nationally-televised Kickoff Classic and was soundly beaten. That presaged a mediocre season in which the Buckeyes finished 6-6, ending their successful 90's run. The 2000 team was more successful, going 8-4, but criticism of Cooper among fans had risen to a clamor again and touched on many areas of the program beyond specific game records. The negative publicity rose to a peak in the days leading up to Ohio State's matchup with South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, when wide receiver Reggie Germany was suspended for having a 0.0 GPA, team captain Matt Wilhelm publicly criticized fellow player Ken-Yon Rambo, and one Buckeye lineman sued another.
In January 2001, the Ohio State University dismissed Cooper. His loss in the Outback Bowl to a team that had not even won a single game the year before was a factor in his subsequent firing, as was negative publicity regarding player behavior before and during the game. Other contributing factors included the record against Michigan (which was actually considered by most people to be the biggest reason for his firing), a reputation of inability to win "big games", the lack of a national championship, the perception of him as an outsider by many alumni, the poor bowl game record, and finally a perceived lack of discipline on the team.
Ohio State quickly sought a replacement for Cooper and after a nationwide search hired Jim Tressel. With four NCAA Division I-AA National Championships at Youngstown State University, Tressel, formerly an assistant coach for Earle Bruce, was an Ohioan who was considered to be appreciative of Buckeye football traditions. Although there were some doubts as to whether or not Tressel could repeat his earlier success at the Division 1A level, most fans and alumni met the coaching change with enthusiasm. On the day of his hiring, Jim Tressel, speaking to fans and students at a Buckeye basketball game, made a prophetic implication that he would lead the Buckeyes to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor the following November.
Tressel's first season was difficult as the Buckeyes finished 7-5 (all but one loss was by a touchdown or less), but he made good on his promise, beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. While its fans were optimistic about the chance for success of the 2002 team, most observers were surprised by Ohio State's National Championship. Ohio State used strong defense, ball-control play-calling, and field position tactics to win numerous close games, a style of play characterized as "Tresselball", and disparaged by detractors as "the Luckeyes". The 2006 and 2007 regular seasons ended with just one combined loss and consecutive appearances in the national championship game. The Buckeyes lost both by wide margins. On January 1, 2010, the Buckeyes defeated the Oregon Ducks in The Rose Bowl Game by a score of 26-17. This ended a 3 game BCS losing streak for Ohio State, having lost 2 National Championships and one Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Terrelle Pryor was named MVP of the contest with 2 touchdown passes for a career-high 266 passing yards. In addition, he had more total yards than the entire Oregon Ducks team.
In December 2010 it was announced that five student-athletes on the Ohio State University football team will be suspended from the first five games of the 2011 season for NCAA violations. The punishments stem from an incident in which at least some of the Buckeye players received tattoos for their autographs, according to news reports. Other violations committed by the players included the selling of several items given to them by the University, such as championship rings.
On January 4, 2011, Ohio State completed its season with a 31-26 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl win would have marked Ohio State's first bowl victory over a Southeastern Conference opponent in ten attempts, but the win was later vacated due to NCAA violations. Ohio State ended up with an 0-1 record for the 2010 season after vacating wins for NCAA violations.
On March 8, 2011 Jim Tressel was suspended for 2 games, and fined $250,000 for not informing the university and the NCAA that he had information that 5 of his players received improper benefits from a tattoo shop in downtown Columbus. Among those 5 players, including Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas, Jordan Whiting, was quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The 5 players are suspended for the first 5 games of the 2011 season. Coach Tressel's suspension was also later increased to 5 games by the University. The NCAA filed a letter of allegations in late April, 2011 with Ohio State University alleging that Tressel lied to the NCAA in December, 2010 when he claimed to have no knowledge of the players activities with the tattoo shop. Furthermore, he is alleged to have knowingly used ineligible players during the 2010 season. On May 30, 2011 Jim Tressel resigned as head coach.
A 6 June 2011 story in Sports Illustrated reported that at least 28 players, including Rob Rose, T. J. Downing, Louis Irizarry, Chris Vance, C. J. Barnett, Dorien Bell, Jamaal Berry, Bo DeLande, Zach Domicone, Storm Klein, Etienne Sabino, John Simon, Nathan Williams, Jermale Hines, Devon Torrence, Donald Washington, Thaddeus Gibson, Jermil Martin, Lamaar Thomas, and Doug Worthington traded team memorabilia or used equipment for tattoos or other merchandise or services between 2002 and 2010. The report alleged that Tressel had violated NCAA bylaw 10.1 - unethical conduct, three times by not acting when told of the tattoo improprieties, by signing a statement saying he knew of no violations, and for withholding information on what was going on from university officials.
On July 8, 2011, Ohio State University decided to vacate all victories from the 2010 football season as self-imposed punishment for major NCAA violations. Former coach Jim Tressel received more than $52,000 from the university and won't have to pay a $250,000 fine for his involvement in the scandal. His status is also changed from 'Resigned' to "Retired" in keeping with his wishes to "remain a Buckeye for life." Ohio State named Luke Fickell as interim head coach following Tressel's resignation, and Fickell coached the 2011 Buckeyes to a 6-7 record; going 6-6 in the regular season and losing in the Gator Bowl.
On November 28, 2011, former University of Florida head coach and ESPN college football analyst Urban Meyer accepted the position of Buckeyes head coach. Meyer assumed head coaching responsibilities following the Buckeyes' January 2012 Gator Bowl appearance. Meyer's first season at Ohio State did not include a postseason contest, as the Buckeyes were sanctioned with a one-year bowl ban on December 20, 2011. The NCAA sanctions also included the loss of three scholarships each year for the following three years and three years' probation to end on December 19, 2014. Ohio State was required to vacate all wins from the 2010 season, the 2010 Big Ten Conference championship and their win in the 2011 Sugar Bowl, The school's share of the Sugar Bowl proceeds were forfeited as well.
In Meyer's first year, the Buckeyes went a perfect 12-0, winning the 2012 Big Ten Leaders Division, though the previously mentioned sanctions kept them from playing in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game and a postseason bowl game.
The Buckeyes played their 2013 Spring game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, home of the Bengals on April 13, 2013.
Ohio State football is rich in traditions. The following are football traditions in chronological order of longevity:
Begun in 1913 by head coach John Wilce, seniors on the team are recognized at the last practice of the season, either before the Michigan game or before departing Columbus to play in a bowl game, and hit the blocking sled a final time.
The winner of the Ohio State-Illinois game has been awarded the Illibuck trophy since 1925. Until 1927 the teams played for a live turtle, however, since the 1928 season the trophy is a carved wooden likeness of a turtle.
A gold miniature charm depicting a pair of football pants is given to all players and coaches following a victory over the Michigan Wolverines. The tradition began as the result of a comment to reporters by newly hired head coach Francis Schmidt on March 2, 1934: "How about Michigan? They put their pants on one leg at a time, the same as we do!" The first gold pants, which were a creation of Simon Lazarus (president of the Lazarus chain of department stores) and Herbert Levy, were awarded that year for a 34-0 defeat of the Wolverines.
1934 also saw the first gathering of former team captains for breakfast on the Sunday following the Homecoming game. The event began when local businessman Walter Jeffrey invited twenty former captains to the Scioto Country Club to honor them, and continues to welcome new captains and award them mugs bearing their names and season.
Begun in 1934, each player who wins "first-team All-America" honors is recognized by the planting of a buckeye tree and installation of a plaque in Buckeye Grove, now located near the southwestern corner of Ohio Stadium next to Morrill Tower. Trees are planted in ceremonies held prior to the Spring Game. All 126 Buckeye All-Americans dating back to 1914 have been so honored.
Since 1935 the annual game against Michigan has been the final meeting of the regular season for both teams. The week prior to "The Game", known as Michigan Week, is characterized by scheduled school spirit and public service events, such as rallies, touch football games, and blood drives; and by massive displays of school colors and banners in much of Ohio. In an unofficial culmination to Michigan Week, since 1990 on the Thursday night before "The Game" students have participated in the "Mirror Lake jump", an unofficial gathering at Mirror Lake, a pond between Pomerene Hall and The Oval, in which masses of students jump into the water.
Since 1938 the registered student organization Block O has been the "Official Cheering Section" of the Buckeyes. "Known for spreading spirit, starting cheers and performing card stunts, Block 'O' was founded...by Clancy Isaac ." They occupy Section 39A in the South grandstand of Ohio Stadium, next to the band.
The Victory Bell is rung after every Ohio State victory by members of Alpha Phi Omega, a tradition that began after the Bucks beat California October 2, 1954. Reputedly the ringing can be heard five miles away "on a calm day." Located 150 feet high in the southeast tower of Ohio Stadium, the bell was a gift of the classes of 1943, 1944 and 1945, and weighs 2,420 pounds. The bell is rung for 15 minutes following a victory and for 30 minutes following a victory over Michigan.
Beginning in 1965, Brutus Buckeye has appeared at all Ohio State football games as the live mascot of the Buckeyes. In 2007 he was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame and is now one of the most recognized mascots in the United States.
First played at the Illinois game of October 9, 1965, the rock song Hang on Sloopy is now played by the marching band before the start of the fourth quarter, with fans performing an O-H-I-O chant in the intervals between the refrains. The song is also played to encourage the team's defensive players when opponents are moving the ball on offense late in a game. This is also played before the fourth quarter at Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals games, as well as during Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Columbus Blue Jackets games.
Since 1967, the helmets of Ohio State players have been adorned with white decals approximately the size of a quarter depicting a buckeye leaf, awarded for making significant plays and for consistency of performance. In the 1970s, the decals were approximately the size of a Silver Dollar until the 1979 Season. Most believe that this practice began in 1968 when The Buckeyes switched to their present Silver Helmet design since the decals have become identified with that helmet.
Before the Ohio State/Michigan game at the end of the season, OSU students typically jump into Mirror Lake, located on campus, the Thursday night before the game. The tradition is thought to bring good luck to the football team the following gameday.
The Tunnel of Pride began with the 1994 Michigan game when all former players who were in attendance formed a tunnel through which the team ran to take the field, and Ohio State beat its rival that day, 22–6. Rex Kern, quarterback of the 1968 National Championship team, and then Director of Athletics Andy Geiger together used the concept as a means of connecting current Buckeyes with those who played before them. The Tunnel of Pride was next formed for the 1995 Notre Dame game, which the Buckeyes also won. In each home game against Michigan since, the tradition has been repeated.
Instituted by Coach Tressel in 2001, at the conclusion of all home games the coaches, players and cheerleaders gather in the south end zone next to the marching band to sing the university's alma mater, Carmen Ohio, to the student section.
Tressel brought to the Buckeye football program two pre-game traditions he developed at Youngstown State. Prior to its warmup routine before every football game, the team exits the locker room as a unit in a controlled manner, linked arm-in-arm in a group known as "The Hive". After warmups the team returns to the locker room, and when it next appears, runs onto the field and forms a circle of players around the strength coach, then they go through their warmup routine.
The Marching Band, often referred to as "The Best Damn Band In The Land" or by the acronym TBDBITL is the most visible and possibly best-known tradition of Ohio State football. Home games are preceded by three much-anticipated traditions, and a fourth, "dotting the 'i'" of Script Ohio, enjoys a reputation all its own:
While its rivalry with the University of Michigan is its most renowned and intense, Ohio State has two other series marked by their longevity, both Big Ten Conference rivals, those of Indiana and Illinois. The series versus Indiana began as a non-conference matchup, with Indiana going undefeated at 4-0-1. In conference, however, the Buckeyes (despite losing the opening conference game) are 65-8-4 through the 2006 season, the most wins against any opponent. Illinois also began with non-conference games (0-1-1) but became the longest continuous series in 2002 when the schools played in their 89th consecutive year. (That record was tied by Michigan in 2007.) Through 2009 Ohio State's record against the Illini is 62-30-4. In 2007, Ohio State was given their only defeat of the regular season by the Illini.
When Penn State was added to the conference football play in 1993, every member was given two designated rivals, teams to be played every year, with the other conference teams rotated out of the schedule at regular intervals. For geographic convenience, the Big Ten named Penn State as Ohio State's new designated rival in addition to Michigan, and Illinois was set to be paired with in-state rival Northwestern and neighboring Indiana, and in doing so undermined Ohio State's historical rivalry with Illinois.
With Nebraska's entry to the Big Ten and the establishment of division play in football, Ohio State and Illinois will again play every season in the Leaders Division beginning in 2011. Michigan is the Buckeyes' permanent cross-division rival from the Legends Division.
The Buckeyes have had 24 coaches in their 121-year history. Woody Hayes is the coach who has won the most national championships at five. Paul Brown and Jim Tressel also each have one for seven total.
The following is a list of Ohio State's recognized national championships:
Ohio State also has also been awarded titles unrecognized by both the NCAA and the University in: 1933, 1944, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1998
Ohio State joined the Big Ten in 1913; before that they were a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference and won two OAC titles. Ohio State has won a championship in the Big Ten 34 times, second most in the conference and third most conference titles of any school in any conference.
§ – Conference co-champions
This table reflects the results of Big Ten matchups, i.e., games when both OSU and its opponent were members of the conference. Ohio State began Big Ten play in 1913. Examples of excluded results are Chicago after 1939, Michigan between 1907-1916, Michigan State before 1953, Penn State before 1993, and Nebraska before 2011. (See Big Ten History for further information).
Ohio State's vacated wins from 2010 are NOT included. (See 2010 Ohio State Buckeyes football team for further information.) Penn State's victories over Ohio State that were vacated from 1998-2011 are included, as they still count as losses for Ohio State. (See NCAA and Big Ten sanctions for Penn State and Wikipedia's explanation for vacated victories in the NCAA as well for further information).
All Data from College Football Data Warehouse Updated through the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season.
Through the 2006 season Ohio State players have by a significant margin won more trophies than any other NCAA Division 1A program. Ohio State players have won 34 of the listed major awards, with the next closest being 26 (Oklahoma). Ohio State is the only university to have received each of the awards at least once. Of the five awards created prior to 1980 (Heisman, Lombardi, Maxwell, Outland, and Walter Camp), Ohio State has received the most with 25 (Notre Dame follows with 23).
Ohio State players have won the Heisman Trophy seven times, which ties Notre Dame (7) for the most awards for any school. Archie Griffin is the only two-time recipient in the history of the award.
Ohio State players have won the Lombardi Award six times. Orlando Pace is the only two-time recipient in the history of the award.
Four Ohio State players have won the Maxwell Award:
Four Ohio State players have won the Outland Trophy:
Three Ohio State players have won the Walter Camp Award:
Through 2006 129 Buckeyes have been named first team All-Americans since 1914. Of those, 78 have been consensus picks. 234 have been named to the All-Big Ten team, and 15 have won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player award, including Troy Smith for 2006. The Athletic Directors of the Big Ten Conference voted Eddie George Big Ten-Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year for 1996.
On November 22, 2006, ten Buckeyes were named to either the Coaches or Conference media All-Big Ten First Team selections for the 2006 season, and seven were named to both. Troy Smith was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Four other Buckeyes received Second Team honors.
All records per OSU Athletics.
1930: Wes Fesler - (E) - Big Ten MVP
1931: Robert Haubrich - (OT)
1932: Lew Hinchman - (HB)
1933: Mickey Vuchinich - (FB)
1934: Gomer Jones - (C)
1935: Gomer Jones - (C)
1936: Ralph Wolf - (C)
1937: Ralph Wolf - (C)
1938: Jim Langhurst - (FB)
1939: Steve Andrako - (C)
1940: Don Scott - (C)
1941: Jack Graf - (FB) - Big Ten MVP
1942: Chuck Csuri - (OT)
1943: Gordon Appleby - (C)
1944: Les Horvath - (QB) - Big Ten MVP
1945: Ollie Cline - (FB) - Big Ten MVP
1946: Cecil Souders - (E)
1947: Dave Templeton - (G)
1948: Joe Whisler - (FB)
1949: Jack Lininger - (C)
1950: Vic Janowicz - (HB) - Big Ten MVP
1951: Vic Janowicz - (HB)
1952: Fred Bruney - (HB)
1953: George Jacoby - (T)
1954: Howard Cassady - (HB)
1955: Howard Cassady - (HB) - Big Ten MVP
1956: Jim Parker - (G)
1957: Bill Jobko - (G)
1958: Jim Houston - (E)
1959: Jim Houston - (E)
1960: Tom Matte - (QB)
1961: Bob Ferguson - (FB)
1962: Billy Armstrong - (C)
1963: Matt Snell - (FB)
1964: Ed Orazen - (DL)
1965: Doug Van Horn - (OG)
1966: Ray Pryor - (C)
1967: Dirk Worden - (LB)
1968: Mark Stier - (LB)
1969: Jim Otis - (FB)
1970: Jim Stillwagon - (DL)
1971: Tom DeLeone- (C)
1972: George Hasenohrl - (DL)
1973: Archie Griffin - (RB) - Big Ten MVP
1974: Archie Griffin - (RB) - Big Ten MVP
1975: Cornelius Greene - (QB) - Big Ten MVP
1976: Bob Brudzinski - (DE)
1977: Dave Adkins - (LB)
1978: Tom Cousineau - (LB)
1979: Jim Laughlin - (LB)
1980: Calvin Murray - (TB)
1981: Art Schlichter - (QB) - Big Ten MVP
1982: Tim Spencer - (RB)
1983: John Frank - (TE)
1984: Keith Byars - (RB) - Big Ten MVP
1985: Jim Karsatos - (QB)
1986: Cris Carter - (WR)
1987: Chris Spielman - (LB)
1988: Jeff Uhlenhake - (C)
1989: Derek Isaman - (LB)
1990: Jeff Graham - (WR)
1991: Carlos Snow - (TB)
1992: Kirk Herbstreit - (QB)
1993: Raymont Harris - (TB)
1994: Korey Stringer - (OT)
1995: Eddie George - (TB) - Big Ten MVP
1996: Orlando Pace - (OT) - Big Ten MVP
1997: Antoine Winfield - (DB)
1998: Joe Germaine - (QB) - Big Ten MVP
1999: Ahmed Plummer - (DB)
2000: Derek Combs - (TB)
2001: Jonathan Wells - (TB)
2002: Craig Krenzel - (QB) / Chris Gamble - (WR/DB)
2003: Michael Jenkins - (WR)
2004: Mike Nugent - (PK)
2005: A. J. Hawk - (LB)
2006: Troy Smith - (QB) - Big Ten MVP
2007: Chris Wells - (TB)
2008: Chris Wells - (TB)
2009: Kurt Coleman - (SS)
2010: Dane Sanzenbacher - (WR)
2011: Daniel Herron - (TB)
2012: Braxton Miller-(QB) - Big Ten MVP
Chosen in 2001 by Athlon Sports.
WR Santonio Holmes 2003-05
WR Cris Carter 1984-86
WR Terry Glenn 1993-95
WR David Boston 1996-98
TE John Frank 1980-83
OL Jim Parker 1954-56
OL Korey Stringer 1992-94
OL Gomer Jones 1934-35
OL John Hicks 1970, 72-73
OL Orlando Pace 1994-96
QB Troy Smith 2002-06
RB Howard "Hopalong" Cassady 1952-55
RB Archie Griffin 1972-75
RB Eddie George 1992-95
K Mike Nugent 2001-2004
DL Will Smith 2000-2003
DL Bill Willis 1942-44
DL Jim Stillwagon 1968-70
DL Dan Wilkinson 1992-93
DL Mike Vrabel 1993-96
NT Scott 'Iceberg' Kinghorn 1945-46 exp team
LB Tom Cousineau 1975-78
LB Chris Spielman 1984-87
LB Andy Katzenmoyer 1996-98
LB James Laurinaitis 2005-08
LB AJ Hawk 2002-05
DB Vic Janowicz 1949-51
DB Jack Tatum 1968-70
DB Chris Gamble 2001-03
DB Malcolm Jenkins 2005-08
DB Antoine Winfield 1995-98
P Tom Skladany 1973-1976
Three Ohio State head coaches have received the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award as NCAA Coach of the Year a total of five times:
In addition, two coaches were voted "National Coach of the Year" before the inception of the Bryant Award. Carroll Widdoes, acting head coach after Paul Brown had entered the United States Navy, was voted the honor in 1944. Brown himself was voted the honor in 1942 for winning the National Championship but declined in favor of Georgia Institute of Technology's Bill Alexander.
On December 6, 1985, Mike Lanese was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford.
Academic All-American Hall of Fame
Class of 1992 Randy Gradishar
Academic All-American Player of the Year
2003: Craig Krenzel (Quarterback)
1952: John Borton (Quarterback)
1954: Dick Hilnski (Tackle)
1958: Bob White (Fullback)
1961: Tom Perdue (End)
1965: Bill Ridder (Middle Guard)
1966: Dave Foley (Offensive Tackle)
1967: Dave Foley (Offensive Tackle)
1968: Dave Foley (Offensive Tackle)
1969: Bill Urbanik (Defensive Tackle)
1971: Rick Simon (Offensive Tackle)
1973: Randy Gradishar (Linebacker)
1974: Brian Baschnagel (Running Back)
1975: Brian Baschnagel (Running Back)
1976: Pete Johnson (Fullback)
1977: Jeff Logan (Running Back)
1980: Marcus Marek (Linebacker)
1982: Joe Smith (Offensive Tackle)
1982: John Frank (Tight End)
1983: John Frank (Tight End)
1983: Dave Crecelius (Defensive Tackle)
1984: Dave Crecelius (Defensive Tackle)
1984: Mike Lanese (Wide Receiver)
1984: Anthony Tiuliani (Defensive Tackle)
1985: Mike Lanese (Wide Receiver)
1987: Joe Staysniak (Offensive Tackle)
1989: Joe Staysniak (Offensive Tackle)
1990: Greg Smith (Defensive Line)
1992: Len Hartman (Offensive Guard)
1992: Greg Smith (Defensive Line)
1995: Greg Bellisari (Linebacker)
1996: Greg Bellisari (Linebacker)
1998: Jerry Rudzinski (Linebacker)
1999: Ahmed Plummer (Cornerback)
2002: Craig Krenzel (Quarterback)
2003: Craig Krenzel (Quarterback)
2006: Anthony Gonzalez (Wide Receiver)
2006: Stan White, Jr (Fullback)
2007: Brian Robiskie (Wide Receiver)
2008: Brian Robiskie (Wide Receiver)
Vincent dePaul Draddy Trophy ("Academic Heisman")
National Scholar-Athlete Awards Ohio State's eighteen NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards rank second only to Nebraska's twenty among all college football programs.
College Football Hall of Fame Beginning with Chic Harley and Howard Jones in the 1951 inaugural class, Ohio State has had 30 former players and coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
40 former Ohio State players are currently active on rosters of National Football League teams: Mike Adams (offensive tackle) Will Allen, Kirk Barton, Alex Boone, Bobby Carpenter, Nate Clements, Na'il Diggs, Marcus Freeman, Chris Gamble, Ted Ginn, Jr., Thaddeus Gibson, Anthony Gonzalez, Larry Grant, Brian Hartline, Ben Hartsock, A. J. Hawk, Santonio Holmes, Kevin Houser, Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Jenkins, James Laurinaitis, Nick Mangold, Donnie Nickey, Mike Nugent, Orlando Pace, Kenny Peterson, Ryan Pickett, Jay Richardson, Brian Robiskie, Rob Sims, Antonio Smith, Will Smith, Shawn Springs, Donald Washington, Chris Wells, Donte Whitner, Matt Wilhelm, Antoine Winfield, Ashton Youboty, Jake Ballard, Kurt Coleman and Dane Sanzenbacher.
Former notable NFL players who played at Ohio State include: Lou Groza, Dante Lavelli, Jim Parker, Bill Willis, Paul Warfield, Jim Marshall, Jim Houston, Jack Tatum, Randy Gradishar, Dick Schafrath, Jim Lachey, Tom Tupa, Chris Spielman, Robert Smith, Korey Stringer, Raymont Harris, Cris Carter, and Eddie George. Carter, Groza, Lavelli, Parker, Warfield, and Willis have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In the 2004 NFL Draft, 14 Buckeyes were drafted, a record number for any school in a single draft.
With two first-round selections in 2007, the Buckeyes have the second most first-round selections all-time in the history of the NFL Draft, one fewer than USC (67). The Buckeyes had another first round selection in 2008, two more in 2009, and one in 2011. The following are the lists of Ohio State players selected in the NFL Draft since 1936.
none were selected in the 1998 draft
Beginning with Paul Brown in 1967, Ohio State has had 9 former players or coaches enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame tied for third most, only behind Notre Dame (10) and USC (11).
The Ohio State football radio network comprises over 60 stations statewide (with a couple of stations in nearby border states). The flagship stations are WBNS AM 1460 and WBNS FM 97.1 in Columbus. In Ohio's major cities, the games are heard on WKNR AM 850 (Cleveland), WDJO AM 1480 (Cincinnati), and WLQR AM 1470/WLQR FM 106.5 (Toledo).
The announcers are Paul Keels on play by play, former Buckeye LT Jim Lachey as color analyst, sideline reporter Marty Bannister, and producer/halftime host Skip Mosic.
WBNS-TV channel 10 in Columbus (CBS) is the long standing "official TV home" of the Buckeyes, airing the official coach's show Game Time with Urban Meyer (simulcast statewide on FS Ohio).