#PhenomenalSwag: The Top Ten Old-Timey Ohio State Football Programs

By DJ Byrnes on July 11, 2014 at 9:15a

Ohio State vs. Michigan Football Program, November 9, 1901 via The Ohio State Archives


Nostalgia is overrated. Ask a 90s kid about the best video game ever, and they're likely to say it's GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64. You might agree with that person, until you go back and play it. It's a horrendously clunky game with graphics that were amazing at the time, but now look like it was drawn in crayon by a drunk toddler.

That's how it works for a lot of things over which people get nostalgic, because they fail to realize if that thing was as good as they remember, it wouldn't have been replaced.

Rules, however, always have exceptions.

It's safe to say these old-timey football programs (via the Ohio State archives) fit that criteria. These programs ooze awesomeness, decades later.

After some crawling, here is my final top ten, IN NO ORDER:

OHio State vs. Michigan, 1918

Ohio State University vs. University of Michigan, October 26, 1918

You know what's more intimidating than an Ohio State running back (who likely smoked unfiltered cigarettes at halftime) sprinting at you? When a bayonet-wielding American GI has his flank. (Also a little weird to think there was a time when Ohio State didn't end their regular season with Michigan.)


Ohio State University vs. Iowa, November 18, 1922

Could this be the earliest rendition of the Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God? Otherwise, I have some questions for the illustrator.

vs. Navy, 1931

Ohio State University vs. Navy, November 7, 1931 

I've never been accused of being a historian outside of the life and times of Warren G. Harding, but hadn't our Navy advanced past the looking glass by 1930? Wasn't that a tool used by, like, pirates on wooden ships?

Colgate, 1934

Ohio State Univeristy vs Colgate, October 20, 1934

How many recruiting violations did Ohio State have to commit to land this giant that looks like The Flash? (And why the hell is he radiating yellow?) I assume I've never read about him because all his records were vacated.

Minnesota, 1970

Ohio State University vs. Texas A&M, September 26, 1970

This cover makes sense when you realize everyone was high as hell in 1970.


Ohio State University vs. Michigan, November 20, 1976



Ohio State University vs. Stanford, January 1, 1971

So simple, and yet so awesome. 

RIP Chic

Ohio State University vs. Illinois, November 15, 1941

Timeless. RIP, Chic Harley. And yes, build that man a statue


Ohio State University vs. Purdue, October 12, 1968

Unfortunately for Boilermakers fans, their program is still stuck in the time of the Aztecs.


Ohio State University vs. Michigan, November 23, 1968

There's a profane joke I want to make, but I'll let a commenter harvest those upvotes. Instead, I'm going to continue to be perplexed by where that petal labeled "lose" to the right of the Michigan player came from.

These are just some finds of your local Internet Man. Are there any others that stand out to you/I overlooked? Here's a link to Ohio State's official galleries.


Comments Show All Comments

Denny's picture

Woody's plaid pants are baller as hell.


+7 HS
Hoody Wayes's picture

Should be required gear for all male-type Buckeyes.

Maestro's picture

almost as baller as the trophies and the smirk on his face

vacuuming sucks

buckeyemanda's picture

These are all amazing. Woody is now my cover photo.

Matt Gutridge's picture

DJ, Thanks for giving me a one-stop place to find the old covers I use in my Series History articles.

Last year I would do a yahoo search.

I used this cover for The Game last year:

The Game
11UrbzAndSpices's picture

Ask a 90s kid about the best video game ever, and they're likely to say it's GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64. You might agree with that person, until you go back and play it. It's a horrendously clunky game with graphics that were amazing at the time, but now look like it was drawn in crayon by a drunk toddler.

Holy crap can I attest to this. Brought my 64 to college one weekend and we played it. We were super excited. Then played about 1 game and went and bought a Wii. You forget that it only had one joystick and you had to stop and aim which got old very quickly.

"Quit skipping leg day bro" - Dr James Andrews

CTBuckeye's picture

Not related to the article, but I'd like to put in a vote for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

Burritos Noches's picture

Are these up for purchase anywhere? I've got some old family photos that are just taking up wall space.

"3 yards and a cloud of dust" - Woody "Pow Right In The Kisser" Hayes

+3 HS
DJ Byrnes's picture

The actual programs? No clue. If you're just looking for the images, you can download them from the Flickr galleries (link at the bottom of the post) and then take them to Kinko's or w/e and get them printed professionally or do it at home.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Hovenaut's picture

"...I'll let a commenter harvest those upvotes..."

I was this close...but I'll leave the door open for one of my fellow Dubbers instead.

Matt Gutridge's picture

I'll go through that door:

Weny's joke

A variation of the Wendy's joke:
Tell a fan of That Team that you know their mom / girlfriend is a Wendy's fan. When that person asks how you would know that reply "They like it when deez nuts is on them."

go here for more deez nuts jokes.

Hovenaut's picture

Only fitting the guy with the Mitch Hedberg avatar comes in for the win.

+2 HS
Unky Buck's picture

Would it have been better if he was dropping tea bags? 

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

+2 HS
VintonCountyBuck's picture

Brutus would potato sack him.  ;)

“Right now, Michigan is not at the pinnacle of college football, and that’s all Urban Meyer cares about...He’s been there and knows what it takes to get there.” 

osugreg04's picture

Suddenly I'm thirsty for tea

apack614's picture

Nailed it my friend! LOL!

I can't wait to poop in the PL bathroom.

Buckeye06's picture

The Scum one from 68 is framed in my bedroom.  That is the one that I would have been pissed if excluded.  Obviously that other 'lose' comes from the many other Michigan losing flowers on the ground

Matt Gutridge's picture

I like this photo of Woody and Paterno: I used it here.

Woody and Paterno
TnJoeBucks's picture

I especially like the caricature of Taylor Lewan in the '68 program. Someone must have had a vision . . .

"As the water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it, so a wise man adapts himself to circumstances." Confucius

+2 HS
The Butler's picture

It looks as if the Ohio State RB in the 1918 program is wearing an Indiana jersey (looks like the old I U logo).

I've trained Canaries in the sport of falconry.


d1145fresh's picture

November 23, 1968-- Ohio State 50 v. Michigan 14.

I would say Michigan got deflowered that day.

+4 HS
Bucksfan's picture

The 30's and 40's were definitely a golden era for this kind of stuff.

Unky Buck's picture

The Colgate one is awesome for reasons I seriously can't explain, but my favorite is definitely the Rose Bowl. Something about that simplicity has always struck a chord with me.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Some of these programs are trippy as hell.

Woody standing with four trophies in his plad pants = total #Swaggernaut

And got a great laugh out of the 1968 OSU/TTUN one.  Pure gold.  Best one I've seen.

Class of 2010.

AndyVance's picture

Timeless. RIP, Chic Harley. And yes, build that man a statue. 

I was thinking about this when reading article/thread about the game day experience, ticket prices, WiFi, etc. We really don't do statues on campus, do we? Aside from Woody at the WHAC and President Thompson (Old Man Oxley as we used to call him), I'm having a hard time thinking of anywhere we really do statuary on campus. But it would be cool if the Stadium had a concourse in which we displayed things like a Statue of Chic, Heisman Trophies, the Crystal Football, etc., etc. 

If you walk the concourse at Heinz Stadium, there is a great big pillar display case for each of the Steelers' Super Bowl Trophies, including information about the season and the game that yielded it. That would be a nice touch at The Shoe, methinks.

AndyVance's picture

Also, has Walt seen these? There's 125 years of inspiration for his awe-inspiring gameday posters right there.

Buckeye Knight's picture

Awesome find DJ, thank you much!

bucknasty13's picture

I didn't realize Joe Tiller coached Iowa in 1922.

+4 HS
CTBuckeye's picture

Last program would have been even better if all the petals had said "Lose" or other similar words: demolished, embarassed, humiliated, etc., etc.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

216ToThe614's picture

That old Navy program is on display in the band center inside the stadium. It's pretty cool looking in person

Pick up your feet, turn your corners square! And DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!!!

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

There's a lot of swish in that sailor.

OnlyOne's picture

I love how The Shoe was call "The Stadium" back in the '20s and '30s.  

TCOB_6's picture

Is it just me or does this look like it should be an Indiana cover?

Il_Padrino's picture

Not sure how I missed this thread... oh wait, it is because every thread that starts here already has 20 other ones just like it = REPOST CENTRAL.

Here are some of my programs:

1913 Ohio State vs Northwestern


1919 Ohio State vs Michigan (our first victory against them bastards...) + my two tickets to the game.


1919 Ohio State vs Illinois (our only loss that year and the only loss of Chic Harley's 3 years at The OSU) + 1 of my 2 tickets to the game:


1968 Ohio State vs Michigan on our way to a National Championship:


Living the life!  Go Buckeyes!