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

By D.J. Byrnes on July 11, 2014 at 9:15 am

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.

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