Since 1922, Ohio Stadium (better known “The Horseshoe” or just "The 'Shoe” because of its distinctive shape) has been the home field for the Ohio State Buckeyes. When it opened, The Shoe held just over 66,000 fans; after a 2014 renovation that added more seating in the end zone, the official capacity is now 104,944, making it the fourth largest stadium in the United States and fifth largest in the world.
Saturdays before heading into “The ‘Shoe,” it’s Skull Session time. One of Ohio State’s oldest and richest tradition, the Skull Session—aka the pre-game practice of “The Best Damn Band in the Land”—was implemented in 1932 by director Eugene J. Weigel, who wanted to ensure his band had mastered the week’s music so when they got to the field they could focus on marching patterns. After opening up the practice to the public, the tradition grew so popular tickets were needed.
In 1957, the Skull Session moved from the band’s rehearsal hall to the new St. John Arena, and, with the move, the event became first-come-first-serve for St. John’s 10,000+ seats. Director Paul Droste was responsible for transforming the session feel into the hyped-up atmosphere it now has, and in 2001 Jim Tressel added to the tradition by having the football team attend and help rally the crowd.
The Ohio State-*ichigan game, one of the most intense rivalries in college football, spawned one of the shiniest Buckeye traditions: the Gold Pants.
With only six wins in the first 30 years of the bitter rivalry with “The School Up North,” recently hired Ohio State head coach Francis Schmidt was asked about the team’s chances in his inaugural 1934 season. His reply, “They (the Wolverines) put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.” The comment inspired the formation of the Gold Pants Club, which rewards Buckeyes for a win in "The Game" with a pair of engraved gold football pants for each player. And how did Francis Schmidt’s team fare? Four straight shutout wins. Turns out a little extra incentive never hurts. Pay homage.
Since 1940, only one school has won more Division I national football championships than your Ohio State. That school? Alabama—coincidentally the foe Ohio State faced in the semi’s of the 2014 inaugural College Football Playoffs. And you all know how that ended: in an absolute Crimson dismantling as your Buckeyes ran the postseason table after being overwhelming underdogs. Pay homage to more than 120 years of gridiron glory and the emphatic warning your Buckeyes sent Alabama and any other team trying to stand in the way of Buckeyes and the record books. Get charged for the grind for nine with this instant-classic. Go Bucks!
Ohio State’s fight song “Across the Field” was written in 1915 by student William A. Dougherty, Jr., 12 years after school song “Carmen Ohio.” While “Carmen Ohio” perfectly expresses the revere all Buckeyes have for their alma mater, Dougherty Jr. felt it didn’t embody the necessary notes to amp up the Scarlet and Gray before stomping the gridiron, thus he took it upon himself to write and add the now-classic “Across the Field” to the catalogue.
It’s proven so popular it’s been co-opted in differing forms by a range of schools. But despite its widespread riffs, the song remains a Buckeye original. Warm up your voice and get ready to bolster your Buckeyes across the field with this super-soft Scarlet and Gray classic.
Howard “Hopalong” Cassidy. Archie Griffin. Keith Byars. Eddie George. Ezekiel Elliott.
Ohio State’s legacy of fleet-footed, tackle-breaking, touchdown-scoring running backs is among the finest in the history of college football. Pay homage to the game-breakers of the past (and the future). Go Bucks!