Top 3 events in Ohio State History (Guest Post)

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There are an infinite amount of moments that come to mind when thinking about the history of Ohio State. Holy Buckeye against Purdue in 2002, Eddie’s 314 against Illinois, and Archie grabbing his 2nd Heisman back in 1975 are just a few that come to mind. But I’ve selected some that really meant more to this university than most people think. Here is my top 3 greatest moments in Ohio State history. 

Chic Harley and the Birth of the Shoe

Charles “Chic” Harley came to Ohio State in 1916, a time where football didn’t engulf all of Ohio. Ohio Field was the home of the Buckeyes (where Arps Hall is today) and sat only around 20,000 which was usually more than enough seating. But Chic changed all that with his inaugural season as a Buckeye. When then national powerhouse Wisconsin came to town, fans flocked to watch Chic and the Buckeyes. The bleachers were overflowing to a point where many fans ended up watching from their cars. The heavily favored Badgers couldn’t stop Harley that day and it brought Ohio State a Big Ten Championship. Popularity of football exploded in Columbus after this and the university never looked back. As his career wore on, more and more fans would show up at games, especially when playing big time opponents like Illinois, Wisconsin and That Team Up North (he brought us our first victory against them in 1919). It was becoming pretty obvious that we needed a much larger facility for football, perhaps even a stadium like Harvard or Yale had. So the idea for Ohio Stadium was born and a massive fundraiser went underway in 1920 which would eventually raise over $1 million. By 1922, the 66,000 seat stadium was complete with thousands passing through her walls for the first time. If you were to conduct a survey with the 105,000+ fans in the Shoe this fall, how many would know this story? I have a bad feeling most would have little to no knowledge of this, or of Harley for that matter. This needs to change. Buckeye parents and grandparents need to tell their little ones about Chic Harley and how influential he is in Ohio State Football history. Without him, who knows where this program would be today.  Maybe this isn’t a specific moment in time; however the play and popularity of Chic influenced the birth of what is today known by some as, “The House That Harley Built.” 

2002 National Championship Game: January 3, 2003

We were in the midst of a 34 year drought. Numerous opportunities to win national titles presented themselves in the mid 1970’s and really any time in the 1990’s, yet we continued to fail to bring home a 7th title. But the Buckeyes were finally getting another chance. Second year head coach Jim Tressel led Ohio State to Tempe, Arizona after running off 13 hold-your-breath wins. Now they would go up against the defending champion and heavily favored Miami Hurricanes who were loaded with NFL talent. Pretty much any sports outlet had us losing by at least a touchdown, giving us no chance to compete with the Canes because we were too slow (sound familiar?). However, the Buckeyes had other plans. Back and forth they went with tons of memorable plays but none more relevant than when Maurice Clarett chased down Sean Taylor after he picked off Craig Krenzel in the endzone. The double overtime thriller ended when Cie Grant came off the edge to disrupt Ken Dorsey and force him to throw a prayer. We were National Champs again! It was arguably the greatest National Championship Game played during the BCS era and it vaulted Ohio State into one of its most successful decades ever. We would reach BCS games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. In my opinion, Tressel put us back on the map in 2002 and that title greatly influenced the next eight years for us. It remains one of my favorite Buckeye memories.

October 19, 2013: Ohio State vs. Iowa

This specific game might not be that important or memorable for most of Buckeye Nation however it is a narrative to what I believe thousands of fathers and sons have experienced at the Horseshoe over the years. My dad had been a Buckeye fan all his life with me joining him as a member of Buckeye Faithful the day I was born. We had watched games and discussed the state of the team together for as long as I can remember. I remember going to the spring game with him on many occasions but it was always with the whole family. When I left for college, I realized that I wouldn’t be watching the games with him anymore which was disappointing. But I wondered what it would be like to spend a Saturday in the Shoe together, just the two of us. We would get that chance my senior year as I was able to get him a ticket in the student section with me. My dad and I threw back a few beers at Varsity Club while watching the noon slate of games. When we finally entered Ohio Stadium, I felt like I was in an Ohio State version of Rudy. We got to our seats and were able to take in the ups and downs of every play. We would go nuts every time the Buckeyes scored, almost as if we never left our living room at home. Needless to say, it was a great day to be a Buckeye. It remains one of my favorite Ohio State memories of all time and I hope I get to do it again sometime soon. And I mention it here because I have a feeling this is a memory many Ohioans have with their own fathers and sons. Ohio State Football has that special ability to bring people together. Someday, I will have this moment with my future son

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