Yearbook: Ohio State Makio

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

As one could expect, the Ohio State yearbook is a treasure trove of college football history.

The Makio details life on the campus of the Ohio State University. It is a vast digital collection of yearbooks dating all the back to 1880.

By and large the football game writeups are spotty. Within these pages, a lot of words are spent on Ohio State victory, but not much is made of its defeats. This same sort of revisionism is evident in the collection at large - leaving out the edition with perhaps the most interesting story for those of us who don't particularly like Ohio State.

I don't know why Ohio State University Archives doesn't include the 1979 edition. I do know they skipped the yearbooks of 1881 and 1893 as well, but other than these three years all other Makio yearbooks from 1880 until 2012 are included in the digitized collection. It could have something to do with the 1978 firing of disgraced Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, but I really don't know if there was any ulterior motive in leaving 1979 out of the public digital archive.

That type of press can be expected from the yearbook editors of such great football schools. Far greater universities, with far superior football teams have produced yearbook accounts that bask in their own glory at the cost of journalistic objectivity. That's what is fun about following the histories of college football through university yearbooks: you're being invited to experience the perspective of the fans themselves. The thing with OSU is that - since 1932 - its football has been great enough to foster this type of fandom - which subjects more than half of these yearbooks to eye-roll inducing levels of homerdom.

I went ahead and looked up an interesting game from yesteryear and it told the story, but in just one paragraph. The Ohio State/Pitt game from 1936 brought the Panthers to the Horseshoe for a mid October game in the mud. The yearbook begins the story:

Pitt came in knowing about the new threat to their west. At this point West Virginia and Penn State annually tested out as below the caliber of the Panthers, but the OSU program was taking off under their head coach Francis Schmidt. At this point Ohio Stadium hosted crowds upward of 70,000 spectators and were becoming a legitimate threat to the Panthers gridiron supremacy.

Pitt faced Ohio State in classic Columbus October weather and the game was played in a Horseshoe full of mud. Pitt, coached by Panther great Jock Sutherland ran a single-wing attack and only led for 5 minutes at the very end of the game. Ohio State's defense remained stout, but the Buckeyes only crossed midfield one time in the game. Pittsburgh's lone touchdown was a direct-snap sweep run by halfback Curly Stebbins, and Pitt squeaked out the victory 6 to 0. Pitt outgained OSU on the ground 251 yards to just 77, and doubled up Ohio State's number of first downs 11 to 5.
Pitt went on that year to win the Lambert trophy, the Rose Bowl and multiple selections as 1936 (pre-AP) national champions.
The 1936 Buckeyes were a young team and within 6 years the program would climb the mountain for the first of its 8 national titles. By 1942 Ohio State, surely aided by Pitt's de-emphasis of football, completely supplanted the Panthers as the premier team from the midwest/northeast. As 1942 was Ohio State's first title out of 8 - this year 1936 was Pitt's second to last of that golden era. The Panthers claimed  1937 title and didn't win another title for another 40 years.

Ohio State's past is full of great players, historic  games and legendary icons. In the Makio, you should be able to find most of the relevant history on these names and games.
If you crave non-football items from Ohio State you can check out items like the 1927 yearbook which details Ohio State's homecoming queen, which was an actual cow. Try the search feature; (I found it a bit clunky, and not too user friendly), you can explore the splendor of Ohio State's campus of check out the sights from around the great city of Columbus.


It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

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