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Thanksgiving = Football = RIVALRY WEEK

Thanksgiving is a time of traditions: watching the Macy's Day Parade; family saying what they are thankful for around the dinner table; asking thanks over the banquet; dining with one another, and watching football. For college football Thanksgiving week is a high-energy showcasing the biggest and best rivalries within their respective conferences.

Rivalry week is easily the highlight of college football. Arguably more exciting than bowl games. And there is no better nor bigger rivalry than Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines. The record number of viewers for 'The Game' (as this rivalry is rightfully called) was in 2006 with an estimated 21 million fans tuning in dubbing it "The Game of the Century". 'The Game' has its roots going back clear to 1897. The theory is that the rivalry was bord from The Toledo War in 1835 - a true battle for the border.

Wolverines would come out swinging October 16, 1897, scoring all their points in the 1st half while keeping the Buckeyes at bay. The final score in the first game was Michigan 36 Ohio State 0. Michigan and Ohio State wouldn't play again until 1900 where the teams would have a final score tied 0 - 0. Within the first 22 years, Wolverines would win 13 games and tie twice giving Michigan the longest winning streak title to date.

It was looking like nothing would get in the way of Michigan pulverizing

Ohio State, until coach Francis Schmidt would become head coach in 1934. Schmidt brought a focus and a confidence builder the Buckeyes needed. When asked if he believed Ohio State could beat Michigan, his famous response "Of course we win. Michigan puts their pants on one leg at a time just like we do." was just the attitude the Buckeyes needed to pull 4 straight wins against the Wolverines with a collective score of 114-0. It was from this needed structure Ohio created the "Gold Pants Charm" tradition. Every year Ohio State beats Michigan, each player receives the coveted Gold Pants Charm.

Teams are special but the glue that keeps everyone together is the coaches. There has been a great history, for both teams, on outstanding coaches. The fact that 'The Game' is a game-changer for coaches' careers is understated. There have been many coaches that have had their careers impacted, both positively and negatively, from this one game. From ESPN, the list below shows the Top 5 from Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines:

Ohio State Buckeyes

Michigan Wolverines

Woody Hayes (1951-1978)

205 - 61 - 10

  • 5 Nat'l Titles

  • 13 Big Ten Championships

  • 4 Rose Bowl Crowns

  • 3 Nat'l Coach of the Year Awards

Fielding Yost (1901-23; 1925-26)

165 - 29 - 10

  • Won the 1st ever-played Rose Bowl

  • 1 Nat'l Championship

Urban Meyer (2012-2018)

83 - 9

  • 1 Nat'l Championships

  • 3 Big Ten Titles

  • 1 Rose Bowl Win

Bo Schembechler (1969-1989)

194 - 48 - 5

  • 15 consecutive bowl appearances

  • 13 Big Ten Championships

  • 6 League Coach of the Year

Jim Tressel (2001-2010)

94 - 21

  • 6 Big Ten Titles

  • 1 BCS Nat'l Title

Lloyd Carr (1995-2007)

122 - 40

  • 1 Nat'l Championship

  • 5 Big Ten Titles

  • 1 Rose Bowl

Earle Bruce (1979-1987)

81 - 26 - 1

  • 4 Big Ten Titles

Fritz Crisler (1938-1947)

71 - 16 - 3

  • 1 Big Ten Championship

  • 1 Nat'l Championship

  • 1 Rose Bowl

John Cooper (1979-1987)

111 - 43 - 4

  • 3 Big Ten Titles

  • 1 Rose Bowl

Bennie Oosterbaan (1948-1958)

63 - 33 - 4

  • 1 Nat'l Championship

  • 3 Big Ten Championships

  • 1 Rose Bowl

To date, 'The Game' is the best rivalry to watch as both teams are balanced and consistent with Championships. It usually boils down to this 1 game that shapes the Big Ten Conference and sets up the next year. With the full history being over 100 years, it is impossible to do a quick blog, this information is only a teaser to dive deep in the rabbit's hole as to what makes this game, The Game, so special.

What we at An Otter Milestone want to know: Who will you be rooting for this Saturday, November 27 at Noon. Take the poll! If 'The Game' is not your rivalry, comment below what game you watch during Rivalry Week.

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