For more than pride …
More often than not, something big and real is on the line when the Buckeyes and Wolverines meet -- used to be, that was a spot in the Rose Bowl. More recently, it's been a battle for a BCS spot.
Often, it's bye-bye to one team's undefeated season. In 1969, the Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 and unbeaten. Then they met Michigan. And lost. Bo Schembechler's Wolverines were beaten by Ohio State -- and only Ohio State -- a bunch of times in the early 1970s. In the 1990s, Michigan sullied a flawless Buckeyes season three times.
I don't want the ball, you take it! No, you take it!
In 1950, playing in a snowstorm, the teams combined for 45 punts, often booting on first down. Michigan won, 9-3. The game was dubbed "The Snow Bowl."
The Classic Game
1973: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Michigan. Each team is undefeated. Big Ten title and Rose Bowl trip on the line. The teams play to a 10-10 tie, and share the title. Who goes to Pasadena? Big Ten ADs voted on it, and the Wolverines stayed home.
It's too good not to be true …
Here's the story: Ohio State coach Woody Hayes hated Michigan so much that he refused to spend a dime in the state … even when his car ran out of gas, a few miles away from the Ohio border. Hayes, legend has it, pushed his car into Buckeye territory to prevent a Michigan gas station from profiting from his misfortune.
Wouldn't he have just poisoned the food?
In the 1970s, when Archie Griffin starred for the Buckeyes, distrust between Hayes and Schembechler ran deep. Griffin recalled, for example, that Hayes once accused Schembechler of hiring very pretty waitresses to serve the Buckeyes breakfast the morning of the big game.
Obviously, that distraction could cost Ohio State the game. Hayes sent the waitresses packing. "They were all nice-looking ladies," Griffin said. "That's for sure."
As neutral as neutral can be
The game is played every year in Dallas at the Texas State Fair. Each school gets 38,000 tickets.
Don't worry, Prez, those boos are for me
A day before the 1976 Crude Feud, Texas coach Darrell Royal called Oklahoma's coaches "sorry bastards," in what he thought was an off-the-record remark (one day earlier, he had accused them of spying). The AP printed the comment. The following day, Royal escorted President Gerald Ford out to midfield for the coin toss.
(As legend has it, when Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer walked out of the tunnel with Royal and Ford, it got quiet in the stadium and an Oklahoma fan yelled out, "Who are the two a------- with Barry?")
"Mr. President, there's probably going to be some reaction when I come out of this tunnel," warned Royal. "This is the Oklahoma end of the stadium, and they've already booed me once out there. They may start booing and raising hell again."
"Well, I'm big enough to handle it," Ford replied.
Later, the Oklahoma coaches admitted to spying. But that wasn't what bugged the fans. It was the "sorry bastards" comment.
It's more than just a game
When the teams met in 1963, Texas was ranked No. 2 and Oklahoma No. 1. Texas shut down OU's star running back, Joe Don Looney, and won, 28-7. Shortly after, Sooners coach Bud Wilkinson retired, and announced he would run for the Senate in 1964. One Oklahoma state rep predicted the loss would cost Wilkinson 50,000-75,000 votes.
Nobody knows what would have happened if Oklahoma had won. But Wilkinson lost by 20,000 votes.
The Classic Game
1984. Sooners ranked No. 5. Longhorns ranked No. 1. Rain-swamped field. Little offense. Lots of controversial calls. Tie game, 15-15.