The Ohio State Buckeyes are one of the most well-known and successful collegiate sports organizations in the nation. And their dedicated fanbase keeps cheering them on in their pursuit of success.
Ohio State University (located in Columbus, OH), is the home of the Buckeyes. Their extensive athletics program consists of 36 intercollegiate sports (16 for men, 17 for women and three coed). This department reportedly increased its revenue by 11 percent in fiscal year 2020. They brought in nearly $234 million that year, and despite making nearly $107 million in fiscal year 2021, Ohio State remains a successful and profitable department.
Ohio State is successful in several sports, but most of their success comes from their football program. With eight national championships, 41 Conference championships, 10 Division championships and 43 bowl games (with their most recent being their 2021 Rose Bowl win over the Utah Utes), fans have a lot to celebrate. And they do just that.
“Buckeye fans are passionate, ” Ohio State fan Dawn Moore said. “No matter what happens, we are cheering our team on.”
The Buckeyes football team had a successful season last year, as they went 11-2. They went 8-1 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes started their season with a good win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. They beat the Golden Gophers 45-31 on the road in C.J. Stroud’s first game as starting quarterback. He finished with 294 yards and four touchdown passes. Ohio State played well in their first game, and come their second game, they faced their first challenge.
Ohio State took on the Oregon Ducks (a tough opponent) at Ohio Stadium and lost 35-28. The Ducks took advantage of Ohio State’s defense (or lack thereof) and outscored the Buckeyes with their running game.
Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day spoke after the loss and AP writer Mitch Stacy included the quote in his report of the game. And while the loss stung, it was still a sense of hope.
“This is not fatal. Certainly, it hurts.” Day said.
Fans also felt the loss and were taken aback.
“That was a tough loss,” Moore said, “I knew Oregon was tough, but I thought that would be a win for the Buckeyes. Even if it was close.”
That loss gave fans a bit of a scare, but there was still a long season ahead. The Buckeyes bounced back in their next game, and beat the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 41-20. This was the start of a nine-game winning streak that included wins over teams such as the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Michigan State Spartans.
The Buckeyes season was looking good, and after their winning streak, their biggest rival stood in their way. Ohio State took on the Michigan Wolverines in their final regular game of the season. The rivalry between these two teams is strong, and after winning eight-straight games over the Wolverines, Ohio State fans expected yet another win.
“Going into it I thought the Buckeyes had it. And I thought it would be an easy win.” Ohio State fan and neighbor Teddy Walk said. But fate proved otherwise.
The Wolverines beat the Buckeyes 42-27. The loss was shocking, but for Michigan fans it was a great feeling.
“It felt good to get a win!” Michigan fan Rich Kimble said. And despite the heartbreaking loss, some Buckeye fans remain optimistic.
“There’s always next year.” Walk said.
Buckeyes fandom runs deep, and while it consists of attending games, watching games and wearing merch, it has branched out to other things.
On Facebook, there are several Ohio State fan groups where Buckeyes fans connect with fellow fans. It is a place to talk trash about “that team up North,” (as legendary Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes coined their rival Michigan Wolverines), to share Buckeye-related memes and share photos flaunting Ohio State gear. Some of the biggest groups include Ohio State BuckNutz, Buckeye Nation and Ohio State Buckeye Fans. Ohio State BuckNutz has over 54,000 members, Buckeye Nation has 53,000 and Ohio State Buckeye Fans has 48,000 members. While these are the biggest groups, the Buckeyes have other fan groups, and most of them have at least 1,000 members.
“The groups are fun,” Buckeyes fan James Ferrell said, “It’s cool to connect with fellow Buckeyes.”
Buckeyes fandom is huge, and remains stronger than ever. And in some cases, it runs in the family.
“It’s a family thing,” David Moore said, “And come next season, it’s Ohio State vs everybody!”