Buckeye Battle Cry: Who Is Ohio State's Second Rival Behind Michigan?

Buckeye Battle Cry: Who Is Ohio State's Second Rival Behind Michigan?

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Buckeye Battle Cry: Who Is Ohio State's Second Rival Behind Michigan?


We all know there’s no question that TTUN is Ohio State’s top rival, but who is second currently. Is it Michigan State, Penn State, or another school? The writers of Buckeye Wire discuss in the latest Buckeye Battle Cry.


Buckeye Battle Cry: Who Is Ohio State’s Second Rival Behind Michigan?

Just like Luke Skywalker knew Darth Vader was his premier rival, there’s no question who’s commanding the Death Star for Ohio State — Michigan. But behind that, what team is the second rival?

That answer can change depending on the era and what’s going on in the landscape of the Big Ten and college football in general, so that answer will likely differ depending on who you talk to.

We pose the same question to our writers in this week’s Buckeye Battle Cry.

Contact/Follow Mark Russell

What determines an opponent being a rival? An equal hatred of each other’s fan base? Disgust at the other’s traditions and history? Rage at the very sight of that specific school’s colors. In my mind, it’s gotta be Penn State!

Ohio and Pennsylvania have had a football rivalry for quite sometime dating all the way back to 1972 with the Big 33 Football Classic. This all star game matched Ohio and Pennsylvania’s best high school talent on the gridiron for state bragging rights. The series came to an end in 2012 when Pennsylvania dropped Ohio and invited Maryland. Maryland? Maybe the Keystone state was tired of the Buckeyes getting the better of them on the high school field as well? But I digress…

Since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, this has been a heavyweight slugfest every year and they almost always have conference title implications.

There have been some lopsided victories for each side. But most games have been very competitive. Since competing in conference play, Ohio State has gotten the better of the matchups 17 times to Penn State’s eight.

Maybe it’s the “White Out” every other year or maybe it’s the sound of that annoying lion roar after every first down, I’m not entirely sure. But whatever it is, next to TTUN, no one is more enjoyable to beat than Penn State.

Contact/Follow Phil Harrison

This is a tough one for me. It seems to be a cyclical thing with Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State seemingly rotating in and out of it — but now that we’re in the East and West Division alignment, it almost has to be someone from the East. So it’s a close one between Penn State and Michigan State.

And, I’ve got to agree with Mark. I think right now, with where the landscape of things are, it’s has to be Penn State.

That’s not to take anything away from MSU, but the Nittany Lions have awoken and seem to be the team that’s going to provide the most resistance against Ohio State’s chances on a yearly basis. That’s really the way it’s been the last two years as well.

I think you’re going to see Michigan State be a little up and down going forward, but with what’s going on with Penn State’s recruiting, the loss at Happy Valley two years ago, and the wild and crazy one last year, I’m going with Penn State.

I can tell you this — the Nittany Lions believe their rival is Ohio State, and they’re looking to play it up again this year with yet another white out game.

Contact/Follow Terry Johnson

I think the next biggest rival is Michigan State.

That’s not to say that Sparty has the best record against the Buckeyes over the years. Illinois has beaten Ohio State 30 times, Wisconsin 18 times, and Iowa 15 times. In addition, the Buckeyes are only 19-14 versus Penn State, but 31-14 against Michigan State. (Note: I don’t include the 1912 meeting since the Spartans weren’t considered a “major” program until 1918)

So, why are the Spartans atop my list? Simple: Michigan State has a penchant for derailing Ohio State’s national championship hopes. In 1998, the Spartans upset the Buckeyes – arguably the greatest team in OSU history — with a furious second half comeback. MSU did the same thing in 2013, knocking off Urban Meyer’s squad 34-24 in the Big Ten Championship Game.

And, who could forget the 2015 heartbreaker, where the Spartans held Ohio State to 132 yards of total offense? Had the Buckeyes won that contest, they probably would have repeated as national champions. After all, they did beat the 1998 Buckeyes in our simulation series.

With three soul-crushing losses in the last 20 years, it’s safe to label the Michigan State game as a very important rivalry game.

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