Although some may be thinking about the Thanksgiving dinner on their dining room table, midwestern football fans are also thinking about something else over break: the Ohio State University and University of Michigan football game. The rivalry has held importance for generations of sports fans, and come the morning of Nov. 25, fans will prepare to support their favorite side.
According to UMichigan, for the past two years, the Wolverines have been able to beat the Buckeyes during the big game. According to their records, the game between the two schools started back in 1897; however, it wasn’t until 1918 that the two teams played each other on a yearly basis, with the exception of 2020, due to COVID-19.
Fans on both sides hope to see their team take the big victory this year, but tensions are high, especially in the Buckeye state, as OSU fans hope to overturn what has happened the past two years. According to the College Football Playoffs, both teams hold a spot in the top 5, which means the outcome of the game will hold major implications for the postseason.
The friction can even be seen in Athens, just 75 minutes away from Ohio State’s campus. The rivalry spans way beyond the city limits of Columbus and Ann Arbor as fans from all over the Midwest and the country prepare to watch the two teams play.
Lexie Swain, a sophomore studying communications, said her house always seems to be chaotic the day of the big game because her mother and stepfather are huge Ohio State football fans while her father is a die-hard Michigan fan.
“I feel like I’m always kind of in the middle if that makes sense,” she said. “I kind of have to root for both, so it’s a little hectic.”
She said she usually makes food with her family and likes to see her dad’s reaction to how the game turns out. She said this year she hopes Ohio State will win.
“I’m excited mainly because it’s more fun kind of to see my family’s reaction when my dad is huge into football,” she said. “It’s more fun just to see how excited he is about it and stuff.”
William Karr, a senior studying psychology, said he has felt a lot of hate in Ohio for being a Michigan fan. He said he could think of one specific incident on Halloween where someone was yelled at for wearing a Michigan jersey.
“Especially toward Michigan fans around here, because we’re so low in numbers, we get picked on a lot,” he said.
Karr said for the big day he plans on sitting down with his family and friends and enjoying the game together. He said he obviously thinks Michigan will be the winner of the game.
“(It’s) kind of just quintessentially Midwest football Saturday,” he said.
Bryce Tinson, a senior studying journalism, said he is very excited to watch the game with his dad just like he did last year. Tinson said he hopes to see Michigan win the game again this year and thinks the rivalry between the two teams is cool to watch because both sides are so passionate.
“I think it’s the best rivalry in any sport, especially college football,” he said. “I think that the vitriol between the two fan bases is what makes it such a special ram. For the most part, they’re always two elite programs going at it.”