Depending on whether you’re a Boomer, a member of Gen X, a millennial, or any other generation, your relationship as a Buckeye fan to The Game is very different. If you grew up in the heyday of Woody Hayes, you hate That Team Up North with a fiery passion that burns with the heat of seven suns.
If you are a child of the 80s and 90s and your formative years were during the John Cooper era, you likely approach rivalry week with a healthy heap of nerves and anxiety.
However, if you only remember Ohio State teams coached by Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer, it might be difficult to fathom that one point, M*ch*g*n actually had a fighting chance in this rivalry.
To get an insight into the varying degrees of what The Game means to people, we asked a handful of our Land-Grant Holy Land writers from various generations to explain why they hate That Team Up North, and what their favorite memory is for the rivalry.
Tia Williams: I didn’t have a choice when it came to hating Michigan. It was ingrained into my brain as a child. It was quite literally the first thing my mom taught me growing up, “What color is this?” ”Say ‘Mama’,” ”Who don’t we give a damn for?”
My favorite memory is of rushing the field after 2016’s 30-27 win in double OT. I will never forget the sound that the crowd made after Curtis Samuel crossed into the end zone. I don’t think my heart rate has been the same ever since.
Brett Ludwiczak: Nothing will ever beat how insane campus was after the 2002 and 2006 games. The nervousness of sitting through those games for 3+ hours and the celebrations of beating the Wolverines and earning a spot in the national title games.
Honorable mention: Never forget just how good the spot was.
When it comes to hating them, their fans, players, and coaches make it so easy. Michigan fans continue to live in the past even though Ohio State has been kicking their head in for nearly two decades. Mike Hart’s chirping even though he never beat Ohio State, Chase Winovich’s cancelled revenge tour, and we’ll never be able to forget just how weird Jim Harbaugh is.
Connor Lemons: I’ve been a Buckeye my whole life. I also grew up in Toledo, so the seriousness of the “Border War” really is on a whole different level up there.
Being there in person for the 2016 game is my favorite memory. Once they confirmed that the spot was indeed good, seeing Curtis Samuel skip into the end zone on the next play to win it in double OT and then rushing the field was an indescribable experience.
Jordan Alexis: I’ve grown up in California my entire life, but have been an Ohio State fan from the moment that I saw those Buckeye stickers on their silver helmets as a little kid.
Being on the west coast, I’ve only been able to watch from afar as Ohio State would beat up on TTUN, but after last year, my Dad and I decided it was time to make the trip to Columbus.
We saved money from every single paycheck throughout 2018 and were able to witness last season’s 62-39 beatdown. It was easily my favorite day as a fan and one of the best experiences of my entire life.
Matt Tamanini: Not to date myself, but my first two years as an Ohio State student were in the waning days of John Cooper’s tenure in Columbus, and the final two were in the dawning of the Jim Tressel era. So, if you know your Ohio State history, you know that that means, I was a senior for the 2002 national championship season.
So, my favorite memory was of course the Buckeyes’ 14-9 victory over That Team Up North. Following the game, students poured onto the field, for no other reason than we didn’t want the excitement of moment to end. It was not only a major victory in the rivalry, but it essentially guaranteed them a berth in the BCS championship game.
The moment was so electric that even as we were leaving the field, I still didn’t want it to end. So, before heading out, I grabbed a clump of grass from midfield (Yes, children. Ohio Stadium once had a natural grass field) and took it home.
I “planted” it into a nice little cup and took it home to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving the next week (Yes, children. Ohio State and their rival used to play before Thanksgiving) and it lived on a window sill in their kitchen until they moved to Florida two years later.
What about you? What is your favorite memory from the greatest rivalry in all of sports? Why do you despise the Maize and Blue muskrats? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter @Landgrant33.