The annual match up between the two Midwest state schools has been held at the end of the regular season since 1935 (with exceptions in 1942, 1986, and 1998). Since 1918, the game’s site has alternated between Columbus, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has been played in Ohio Stadium since 1922 and Michigan Stadium since 1927. Through 2009, Ohio State and Michigan have decided the Big Ten Conference championship between themselves on 22 different occasions, and have affected the determination of the conference title an additional 26 times.
The inaugural meeting between Ohio State and Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1897 resulted in a lopsided victory for Michigan, with the Wolverines posting a 34–0 win over Ohio State’s Buckeyes. The first game foretold a long Michigan winning streak, with Michigan winning or tying every match from 1897 to 1912 and thereby compiling a 12–0–2 record before the contest was postponed for several years. The Ohio State Alma Mater “Carmen Ohio” was written on the train ride home to Columbus following the 1902 contest, which saw Ohio State losing to Michigan, 86–0. The lyrics and melody (Spanish Chant) have remained largely unchanged since its conception.
The 1950 contest, known as the Snow Bowl, is perhaps the most famous game in the rivalry. Eighth-ranked Ohio State was scheduled to host the game on November 25 in Columbus amidst one of the worst blizzards on Ohio record. The Buckeyes, who led the Big Ten, were granted the option to cancel the game against Michigan, which would have, by default, given the Buckeyes the Big Ten title outright and won them a trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. Ohio State refused, and the game was set to be played. Amid howling snow and wind, in what was probably the most literal example of a “field position” game, the teams exchanged 45 punts, often on first down, in hopes that the other team would fumble the ball near or into their own end zone. Ohio State’s Vic Janowicz, who would claim the Heisman Trophy that year, punted 21 times for 685 yards and also kicked a field goal in the first quarter for the Buckeyes’ only points. Michigan capitalized on two blocked punts, booting one out of the back of the end zone for a safety and recovering another one in the end zone for a touchdown just before halftime. Despite failing to gain a single first down or complete a single forward pass, Michigan gained a 9–3 victory, securing the Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth.
While Michigan leads the series 57–43–6, OSU has won the last six meetings.
The University of Florida has fielded an official varsity football team every season since 1906, with the exception of 1943. Although Florida State College (one of the predecessor institutions of Florida State University) sponsored a varsity football team from 1902 to 1904, the Florida Legislature converted Florida State College into the Florida Female College, the state’s new all-women’s college in 1905. The college’s name was changed to “Florida State College for Women” in 1909, and it remained so until the college became co-educational in 1947, when the modern Florida State football team was established.
Almost immediately, Florida State’s football coach, players and students began calling for the Gators to play the new Florida State football team. The University of Florida, however, was reluctant to treat Florida State as an equal. A proposed bill mandating that Florida play Florida State in football and other sports was proposed in 1955 but was voted down in the Florida Legislature. However, Florida Governor LeRoy Collins asked president J. Wayne Reitz of the University of Florida to schedule a yearly football series between the two state universities, and the two schools’ athletic directors eventually negotiated a contract that started the football series in 1958.
In an otherwise unremarkable game coming in to this 8th annual contest between the burgeoning rivals, this game established the rivalry in full due to the controversy that surrounded its outcome. In a tight contest, UF led the Seminoles late in the game, 22-19. FSU had the ball at the Gator 45 yard line with 17 second left in the game. On first down, wide receiver Lane Fenner entered the game in place of FSU’s star receiver Ron Sellers. FSU quarterback Gary Pajcic took the snap, Fenner got behind UF defenders, and Pajcic lofted a pass to Fenner in the front corner of the end zone for what appeared to be a game-winning FSU touchdown. However, referee Doug Moseley signaled that Fenner did not have control of the ball before rolling out of bounds and ruled the pass incomplete
UF ended up holding on for a 22-19 win, but the controversy heated up after the game when photos that apparently showed Fenner making the catch in the endzone were published in state newspapers. Debate over whether or not the play should have been ruled a touchdown continues to this day.
The Gators lead the overall series 33–19–2, though have only had an 18–17–1 record against the Seminoles since Bobby Bowden became FSU’s head coach in 1976.
The University of Utah (Utah) and Brigham Young University (BYU) have a longstanding athletic rivalry that encompasses several sports. The annual college football game is frequently referred to as the Holy War. In the 1890s, when BYU was still known as Brigham Young Academy, the two schools started competing athletically. Both schools were founded by the LDS church, have significant percentages of LDS students and faculty as well as many historical and customary affiliations with Mormonism such as LDS institutes and dry campuses. As much as religion is a common historical foundation for the rivalry, it has also been a source of animosity and many have sought to downplay the aspect of religion. BYU (aka “the Y”) is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“LDS or Mormon Church”). The University of Utah (aka “the U”) is a public state-owned school. Because this rivalry includes a “church vs. state” dimension, many fans of both schools use it as a forum to vent deeply held feelings and perceptions.
Utah claims that the football rivalry began in the late 19th century, when Utah played the Brigham Young Academy six times between 1896–1899. BYU does not count these games in their official records, since it was not then known as BYU, but BYA. Furthermore, BYU claims that the first of those football games, a 12–4 Utah victory in April 1896, was in actuality a practice-scrimmage to prepare for the following fall season. But whether or not the game meant anything to the schools at the time, it certainly meant a great deal to the fans. At the end of the match, a fight broke out between fans of the two schools.
The two schools are separated by 70 miles (110 km) and have been heated rivals since 1893.
The first known hostilities between the two schools trace back to 1891. The University of Georgia’s literary magazine declared the school’s colors to be “old gold, black, and crimson.” Dr. Charles H. Herty, the first UGA football coach, felt that old gold was too similar to yellow and that yellow “symbolized cowardice.” Also in 1891, a student vote chose old gold and white as Georgia Tech’s school colors. After the 1893 football game against Tech, Herty removed old gold as an official school color. Tech would first use old gold for their uniforms, as a proverbial slap in the face to UGA, in their first unofficial football game against Auburn in 1891. Georgia Tech’s school colors would henceforth be old gold and white.
The game has been played 104 times according to Georgia Tech and only 102 times according to Georgia record books. Georgia discredits two games in 1943 and 1944 (both years in which Georgia Tech won) because many of their players went to fight in World War II, though official college football records include the games.
The record between the two teams is 60 Georgia wins, 39 Georgia Tech wins, and 5 ties.