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Column: Examining Ohio State, Michigan’s Rivalry Week traditions

I came here to compare the two school’s traditions during Rivalry Week and explain why Ohio State’s are obviously better.

Ohio State Buckeyes v Michigan Wolverines 11-24-2012 Photo by David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images

The time has officially come. Two years in the making, it is finally here: Ohio State vs That Team Up North. The greatest rivalry in college football. Obviously, as one would expect for such a significant game, there has to be a history of traditions to go along with it, right? You would be correct! I am going to be comparing the two teams’ traditions, and logically explaining why OSU’s trumps all of TTUN’s. Let’s dive right in!

Crossing out the Ms

Starting off with perhaps the greatest tradition of all, is the X-ing out of all of the M’s in every single word on the Ohio State campus. Every building, sign, heck even social media accounts related to Ohio State, all have the nice, big, red X emoji in place of where an M should be. It is a beautiful sight to see as I walk around campus. “Wear your Xask”, Kennedy CoXXoXs Dining Hall and Xichigan Avenue (not sure who would want to live on this street in the first place) are all some of the places and signs I’ve had the joy of seeing X’s taped over. Also, my name on all of my schoolwork this week is Egan, because it is against the law to write that one despicable letter during this seven day period.

Ohio State Mirror Lake Jump

Unfortunately, I never got to be a part of this classic tradition. Starting in 1990 and ending in 2015, this 25 year annual spectacle involved students jumping into Mirror Lake during Michigan week, no matter the temperature outside. From pictures and videos I’ve seen, it looks like a blast— like one big pool party, except it’s 30 degrees outside. This tradition came to a tragic end, however, as a result of a student dying when he dove in head first. Ohio State has made the area around Mirror Lake a lot safer in an effort to prevent students from jumping in. Every now and then a couple of students will run in just to be able to say they did, and then try to flee from the cops. I would not be surprised if more than a few attempted to do just that on Saturday.

Rivalry Run

While this is a relatively new tradition, starting in 2019, it has already garnered much success, taking the place of the Mirror Lake jump. The event is put on by Block O, which is the student section for Ohio State athletics. It drew over 500 runners its first year, in addition to Brutus, the cheerleaders and the band. The one and three mile races took place Sunday at 9:34 p.m., honoring the gold pants tradition that started in 1934. Participants received a free t-shirt and free food following the race. Sounds like another W in the win column for Ohio State: putting on an event that involves exercise AND making participants think about how much they hate TTUN for three miles.

Blood Battle and The Lantern Rivalry Fundraiser

Another tradition that supports the well-being of others is the Ohio State-Michigan Blood Battle. Since 1982, the two schools have competed to see who can get the most donors, with TTUN leading the all-time series, 20-14. Each school has a goal of 1,500 donors, with TTUN currently winning by 51. Go save lives and support your Buckeyes people!

Another tradition that is near and dear to my heart is The Lantern Rivalry Fundraiser. Each year, The Lantern, the student news organization of Ohio State, pairs up with the Michigan Daily, their student newspaper. The two schools compete to see who can raise more money to support student journalism at their school.

A shameless self-promo: Support your favorite Lantern reporter (me) and donate HERE!

Cracking Buckeyes

This was literally the only tradition I could find that Michigan has, and it can barely even be classified as a tradition. Only that team up north could take a respectable tradition, and turn it into a call for war. Every year during Hate Week, Michigan fans walk through Forest Hills Cemetery to pay their respects to Wolverine legends, such as Bo Schembechler. Even Ohio State fans can admire this tradition.

However, in 2015, a.k.a. Jim Harbaugh’s first year of coaching at school, he did the unthinkable. He set a Buckeye next to Schembechler’s grave and SMASHED it. The audacity of this man who wears khakis every single day. While this seemed to have only been a one time occurrence, some say the breaking of a Buckeye will curse you for the rest of your career and you will be unable to ever beat them. Therefore, Harbaugh really screwed himself over on this one.

My original intention was to critique all of Michigan’s traditions that they have during Hate Week, however, they made it easy for me. There isn’t even anything to hate on. They don’t have traditions! I guess this isn’t too surprising, considering how unsuccessful they have been against the Buckeyes in the past decade. Once again, the Buckeyes win against the Wolverines; but what else is new?


What is your favorite Rivalry Week tradition?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Crossing out the M’s
    (57 votes)
  • 38%
    (Formerly) Mirror Lake Jump
    (37 votes)
  • 0%
    Rivalry Run
    (0 votes)
  • 3%
    Blood Battle/Lantern Fundraiser
    (3 votes)
97 votes total Vote Now