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Long have the Buckeyes had something of an incentive beyond bragging rights when they beat rival Michigan.
Whenever Ohio State has beaten the Wolverines, since the tenure of Francis Schmidt — which began in 1934 — the Buckeye players have received an emblem of gold pants, which signifies ‘they put on their pants one leg at a time, just like we do.’ At the time, Michigan was a much more dominant program, so that type of reminder was crucial for turning the tide in the rivalry.
Now, Michigan is coming off its first win over OSU in a decade, and its second in 20 years. As the Wolverines look to turn the tide back in their favor, they’re starting a new tradition of their own.
Similar to the gold pants tradition, and starting now, Michigan players who beat Ohio State get a necklace, with the helmet, the team number, and on the back, the block O clawed out below the final score of The Game.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) June 3, 2022
While some in Columbus are certainly decrying Michigan borrowing from the OSU tradition, it’s not like both teams haven’t constantly stolen from each other. Like the Ohio State band doing the script Ohio — which was started by the Michigan marching band — to either school refusing to acknowledge each other by name, both schools are constantly looking for things that the other does that gives them a proverbial ‘leg up.’
For Michigan, it’s just good to see that the Wolverines are finally taking the rivalry as seriously as the Buckeyes do. Because OSU has been awfully fanatical for years about how much it thinks about and prepares for The Game. And only recently has Michigan treated it in kind. Giving an additional reward, just as Ohio State does, helps further put the rivalry on even footing, at least from a team motivation factor.