COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State fans behaved themselves -- for
the most part -- following the Buckeyes' big win over Michigan and
started booking travel plans Sunday for college football's national
championship game in Arizona.
Though police arrested nearly 40 people and dozens of fires were
set in student neighborhoods, authorities reported a relatively
smooth night. No. 1 Ohio State's 42-39 victory gave the school its
first outright Big Ten title since 1984.
Ohio State President Karen Holbrook, who urged fans to refrain
from couch burning and other bad behavior, said Sunday that campus
and city police were generally pleased with the post-game
In addition to the 105,708 fans who attended the game, school
officials estimated that about 80,000 people came to the area
surrounding campus to party, Holbrook said. About 17,000 fans
rushed the field at the end of the game, but no major injuries were
The roughly 40 fires were set mostly on cars and furniture,
along with a few in trash bins, fire Lt. Dan Ranney said. Some were
set before the game started, he said.
"Believe it or not, this was pretty mild so far, for as big as
this game was," he said.
Most of the arrests were in the student areas around campus,
including four for arson, Sgt. Kevin Corcoran said.
The city banned parking, emptied trash bins and removed couches
from porches in some neighborhoods near campus hoping to avoid a
repeat of 2002 when fans rioted after Ohio State beat Michigan en
route to the national championship.
Corcoran said campaigns by the university and city encouraging
fans to watch their behavior made for a quieter night. "They were
a very big help," he said.
Rick Amweg, assistant university police chief, said Ohio State
officers had made no arrests following the game early Sunday.
"We have had a very quiet night on campus," he said.
The Buckeyes might not have seen the last of Michigan this
season. The Wolverines can still make it to the Jan. 8 title game
in Glendale, Ariz., if the Bowl Championship Series standings break
Travel agents said some Ohio State fans have been making travel
arrangements since October, banking on a Buckeyes undefeated run.
Packages have been running more than $3,000 per person for
airfare, three nights at a hotel and a decent seat at the new
University of Phoenix Stadium.
For Ohio State fans, the championship game is almost on the
scale of the Super Bowl, said Sandi Nikolaus, office manager at
Bexley Travel near Columbus.