Ohio State Buckeyes in the NFL

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Ohio State University was established in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, and classes began just a few years later. In 1878, the name was changed to The Ohio State University, and in 1890, the first football game in the school’s history took place. Since then, the university’s football program has brought home eight national championships (most recently in 2014), seven Heisman winners (including Troy Smith, Eddie George, Archie Griffin, and Howard Cassady), and a slew of players who made their name in the NFL.

BUCKEYES

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Past NFL players include James Laurinaitis, A.J. Hawk, Orlando Pace, Mike Vrabel, and Cris Carter. Also, 11 former Buckeyes were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Dick LeBeau, Jim Parker, and Lou Groza.

There are currently 44 former Ohio State players in the National Football League. Some teams have several, while others just have one. Let’s take a look to see where everyone falls.

Dotting the “i”

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The Indianapolis Colts have the most former Buckeyes on their roster, including John Simon, Jack Mewhort, Malik Hooker, and Johnathan Hankins (plus Joshua Perry on the practice squad). The New Orleans Saints have four former Ohio State players, including Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Ted Ginn, and Vonn Bell.

Among former Buckeyes that currently play in the NFL, there are a few that definitely stand out. Last year’s leading rusher, for example, was an Ohio State player – Ezekiel Elliott. He rampaged for 1,631 yards for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, averaging a league-best of 108.7 yards per game. During his time as a Buckeye he earned the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award, and then was drafted fourth overall in the 2016 draft by the Dallas Cowboys.

FOCUSED. One thing on my mind.

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Ryan Shazier is another former Ohio State player. Shazier was drafted 15th overall in 2014 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the linebacker is a part of a formidable linebacking corps, along with fellow former Buckeyes Cameron Heyward, who was selected 31st overall in 2011.

Defensive end Joey Bosa is another intriguing player to mention here. This former Buckeyes was drafted third overall in 2016 by the Chargers and has been quite the sack master since his NFL debut. He racked up 10.5 sacks his first season and is on pace to break this mark in 2017 (he has 8.5 as of week nine).

See ball, get ball.

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Go Bucks!

So you’ve been keeping tabs on Ezekiel Elliott since his first year at Ohio State, or you’ve been a fan of the Ohio State University’s football program for years? Good news. Fanatics has a huge assortment of quality Buckeyes garb, as well as the NFL jerseys of some of the best and brightest that have come out of the Columbus, Ohio, campus.

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Miami Hurricanes in the NFL

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The University of Miami was chartered in 1925 and classes began in 1926. The university’s first president, Dr. Bowman Ashe, proposed a 50,000-seat stadium for the school’s would-be football team. Just one day after work on a temporary stadium began, a massive hurricane struck much of South Florida, leaving destruction in its wake and leveling much of the area. Understandably, plans for the stadium were halted, and classes started late, so it wasn’t until Oct. 23, 1926, that the University of Miami played its first football game in front of 304 spectators.

We ballin’ boysss.

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While the origin of the team name, the Hurricanes, may be shrouded in mystery (some say it came from the 1926 hurricane, as the university hoped the football team would sweep opponents away just as the storm did), the traditions at the school are very strong, and they’ve certainly produced a ton of NFL players. In fact, they hold a number of NFL draft records, including most first-round selections in a single draft (six in 2004), the most consecutive years with first-round draftees (14 from 1995 to 2008).

Former Hurricanes in the Pro Football Hall of Fame include Ted Hendricks, Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Cortez Kennedy, Jim Otto, and Warren Sapp. There are scads of former Miami players currently playing in the NFL.

It’s All About The U

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There are 46 former Hurricanes in the NFL, spread out among 23 teams. A few teams have four, including the Jaguars (Brandon Linder, Allen Hurns, and Calais Campbell, plus Marques Williams on reserve) and the Chargers (Rayshawn Jenkins and Travis Benjamin, plus Denzel Perryman and Asante Cleveland on reserve). The Panthers have three (Ladarius Gunter, plus Greg Olsen and Corn Elder on reserve). The Colts also have three, including Sean Spence and Frank Gore, as well as Erik Swoope on reserve.

It’s a U thing. (📸: @jaguars)

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The rest of the teams have one or two former Miami players, including the Falcons with Jermaine Grace and Matthew Bosher; the Bears with Pat O’Donnell and Dean Bush; the Packers with Justin Vogel and Herb Waters; and the Texans with Lamar Miller and Ufomba Kamalu.

There are quite a few standout players that once roamed the field at what is now the Hard Rock Stadium. Tight end Jimmy Graham, drafted in 2010 by the New Orleans Saints, has been selected to the Pro Bowl four times and has gained over 1,000 yards twice in his career so far, including 2013, when he led all of the NFL with 16 touchdowns. Graham now plays in Seattle.

Frank Gore, who now runs the ball for the Indianapolis Colts, was drafted in 2005 by the San Francisco 49ers, where he remained for a solid decade, putting up a ton of yardage (including nine seasons of 1,000 yards or more). He ran for over 1,000 during his first year with the Colts as well (2015) and has been selected to the Pro Bowl five times.

@fg2132 just passed Barry Sanders (3,062) for the 6th-most rushes in @NFL history.

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Greg Olsen, who is currently on injured reserve for the Carolina Panthers, is another former Hurricane of note. Olsen became the first tight end in NFL history to record three straight 1,000-yard seasons and has been selected to three Pro Bowls during his time with the Panthers. He played the first four years of his career in Chicago, having been drafted in the first round in 2007.

Week 2 😤

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Canes Football

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the Miami Hurricanes football team and have been following your favorite college players to the NFL, or are simply looking for some amazing new NFL gear, Fanatics is the place to go to find authentic jerseys, blankets, baby items, and even slippers.

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Penn State Nittany Lions in the NFL

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Pennsylvania State University, located in “Happy Valley” (a nickname for the State College area), has been around since its founding in 1855. The school’s football program got its start in the 1880s. While early teams were scarce (reports say the school didn’t even have a team from 1882 to 1886) and they competed independently of a conference until the early 1990s, Penn State certainly has had a ton of success on the field.

To date, the Penn State Nittany Lions have brought home four conference championships and 47 bowl appearances (with 28 wins) and enjoy a loyal fan base, which are all highlights of this storied football program.

Penn State has produced plenty of NFL talent, including John Cappelletti, who is the sole Nittany Lion to receive a Heisman Trophy. The running back was drafted No. 11 overall by the Los Angeles Rams in 1974 and spent nine seasons in the NFL, first as a Ram and later as a part of the Chargers. Other Nittany Lions who have spent time in the NFL include LaVar Arrington, Mike Reid, and Kerry Collins.

There are currently 30 former Penn State players who play in the NFL. Let’s take a look to see where these Nittany Lions are making impacts on the field.

Made in Happy Valley

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The Miami Dolphins are home to three former Penn State Players: Cameron Wake and Mike Hull, with Jordan Lucas residing on the practice squad. Several teams have two former Penn Staters, like the San Francisco 49ers with Robbie Gould and Garry Gilliam. On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you’ll find Donovan Smith and Chris Godwin, while on the Tennessee Titans, you’ll find DaQuan Jones and Austin Johnson. The Kansas City Chiefs have two former Nittany Lions on their team: Ross Travis and Tamba Hali, who is currently on injured reserve. It’s the same story for the Jacksonville Jaguars – Paul Posluszny plays for the team, and Allen Robinson is on injured reserve.

Sean Lee, a linebacker and tackling machine for the Dallas Cowboys, is one standout player who formerly played at Penn State. Lee has been selected to two Pro Bowls and one first-team All-Pro. This well-liked defensive phenom is one of his team’s captains and leads them in tackles (no surprise there).

Sean Lee #DALvsSF

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Cameron Wake is another outstanding linebacker who hails from Penn State. His tackling and sacking prowess for the Miami Dolphins has earned him five Pro Bowl invitations, and although he’s getting “up there” in years (he’ll be 36 in January), he’s still a solid wrecking ball for the Miami defense.

LET’S GO!!

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Paul Posluszny is yet another fantastic linebacker to hail from Penn State. Posluszny, who now tackles the heck out of guys for the Jacksonville Jaguars, has netted over 100 tackles in four out of 11 seasons so far and has been selected to one Pro Bowl.

Our 2017 team captains.

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Let It Roar

Hey, if you’re a Nittany Lion at heart and have been following your faves from their college playing days all the way to the NFL, there’s no better place for you than Fanatics for authentic Penn State and NFL gear.

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Clemson University Mascot: The Tiger

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Getting to Know Clemson University

The Clemson story began in 1889 after the passing of Thomas Green Clemson, a native Philadelphian who bequeathed his home and fortune to the state of South Carolina with the intent of a university being built that would sustain his name. The gift was accepted later that year by Gov. John Peter Richardson – establishing Clemson Agricultural College in the Upstate. Clemson became a coeducational institution in 1955. It officially converted to Clemson University in 1964 with higher academic offerings and research pursuits.

Clemson has come a long way since then, and the school now has 17 athletic teams with a fabled history of success. The Tigers football team is currently a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and has appeared in 39 bowl games – emerging as victors 20 of those times. In addition to winning the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, Clemson, along with Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson, took down the University of Alabama (35-31) to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.

There to hype up the Clemson fanatics at home games, pep rallies, and community events are the university’s mascot, The Tiger. Alongside his companion – Tiger Cub – the dynamic costumed duo spends their time cheering on the Tigers all the way to national prominence. Let’s take a look at how The Tiger and Tiger Cub have ushered in a new era of fandom over the years.

It’s game day Tiger Fans! CU in Orlando! #BeatVaTech

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Tiger Traditions

Hailing from Auburn University (then known as Alabama Polytechnic University) is former Clemson President Walter Merritt Riggs. Riggs was noted for bringing football to the university – as well as the official school colors, orange and purple, along with it. The adoption of the Tiger mascot stemmed from Riggs’ attachment to his alma mater; he even used his former school’s old uniform equipment to jumpstart Clemson’s program.

The Tiger officially began roaming the sidelines in 1954, but it wasn’t until 1978 that a true tradition was born – the touchdown pushups. Former Tiger mascot Zack Mills pioneered the tradition by matching the number of pushups performed to Clemson’s total score after each touchdown achieved. Considering the suit weighs nearly 45 pounds, the pushups are viewed as no small feat.

Start your engines tiger fans…60 days until CLEMSON FOOTBALL! #letsgooo #clemsontigers #Dabo #ALLIN 💯💯💯

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In 1993, The Tiger gained a sideline companion when the university gave birth to Tiger Cub. Also referenced as “½,” (which is written as his jersey number), Tiger Cub can be spotted alongside The Tiger signing autographs, doing pushups, or simply just goofing off at major sporting events and community gatherings throughout the semester.

“Eat ’Em Up, Tigers!”

Clemson University Midnight Mascot Shirt

 

C-L-E-M-S-O-N! Join The Clemson Tiger and Tiger Cub in celebrating the newly crowned champions by showing your support for the orange! Look no further than Fanatics.com for all of your Clemson fan gear and merchandise.

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Where Are They Now? Past Heisman Trophy Winners

The Heisman Trophy is awarded every year to the American college football player “whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.” The trophy had a humble beginning, initially called the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy and awarded to its first recipient, Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago, in 1935. Back then, the trophy was awarded to the best player east of the Mississippi, and Berwanger received a telegram from Manhattan’s Downtown Athletic Club informing him of the honor. He didn’t have room for the trophy at his fraternity house, though, so his aunt kept it for him at her home – as a doorstop.

The trophy was renamed for the club’s athletic director the following year, when John W. Heisman passed away. Not only did the award extend to colleges west of the Mississippi at that time, but it’s now become one of the biggest honors a college football player can hope for.

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was named 2016’s Heisman Trophy winner. Jackson is the youngest player to ever receive the trophy and just finished up one of the most impressive college football seasons in Heisman history, which included over 4,900 yards of total offense. He is also the first player to win the trophy with at least 30 touchdown passes and 21 rushing touchdowns.

While Jackson’s professional future is a tale yet to be written, we can look back on the past 10 Heisman winners. Where are they now?

2015: Derrick Henry, Alabama

Derrick Henry, hailing from the University of Alabama, captured the Heisman in 2015. His Heisman season was his junior year, when the running back set the SEC single-season rushing record with 1,986 rushing yards. Henry was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans. There, he’s helping shore up the backfield along with recent trade acquisition DeMarco Murray.

2014: Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Marcus Mariota was the first Oregon Duck to win the Heisman Trophy when he earned it in 2014. He was also the first Polynesian athlete to be honored, as well as the first player from the state of Hawaii. His Heisman-winning season was his junior year, when he quarterbacked the Ducks to a 12-1 season while throwing for 3,783 yards and 38 touchdowns. He declared himself for the NFL draft in 2015, and was picked up by Tennessee No. 2 overall in that year’s draft. Now in his second NFL season, he’s bypassed 3,000 yards for the first time as a pro, as he hopes to bring the Titans back to the playoffs this postseason.

2013: Jameis Winston, Florida State

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. At the time, he was the youngest player to receive this honor after a very impressive campaign as a Seminole, becoming the first redshirt freshman to win the Heisman and lead his team to a national title in the same season. At the time of the ceremony, his passer rating of 190.04 was a record for Heisman winners.


Winston followed his freshman trophy-winning year with another impressive campaign his sophomore year before declaring for the draft. He was selected No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015, which is where he remains today. Winston maxed out over 4,000 yards his first year with the Bucs, and has exceeded that stat this season..

2012: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel, also known as “Johnny Football,” played college ball at Texas A&M. He was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, which he was awarded after a stellar season as a dual-threat quarterback for the Aggies. In addition to the Heisman, he also received the distinction of being named the SEC Freshman of the Year, as well as the Davey O’Brien winner.

Manziel was drafted 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and only played in the NFL for two seasons before being released after numerous off-field issues led to a strained relationship with his team and the league.

Manziel is not currently signed with a team, but still pops up in the media on occasion. He was spotted tailgating at a CowboysGiants SNF game and was present during the most recent winner’s ceremony.

2011: Robert Griffin III, Baylor

Robert Griffin III, popularly known as “RG3,” won the Heisman in 2011 following his junior season as a Baylor Bear. He narrowly missed passing for 4,000 yards (the final amount was 3,998) and enjoyed an extremely high passer rating. He graduated early from Baylor with a political science degree and was picked up by the Washington Redskins as the No. 2 overall pick in 2012.

His NFL career hasn’t gone the way he’d hoped, however. While his rookie season went quite well (he was the 2012 Rookie of the Year), his subsequent seasons were plagued by injuries, which limited his success and led to a release at the tail end of the 2015 season. He was picked up by the beleaguered Cleveland Browns in hopes he’d bolster the team, but has yet to make much of an impact, partially because he was injured early in the season and missed substantial playing time.

2010: Cam Newton, Auburn

Cam Newton is another rock slinger who nabbed the Heisman Trophy in 2010, having played his Heisman-winning year at Auburn. Auburn wasn’t his first college home, though – in fact, he was the first double-transfer to win the award in Heisman history.

Newton was selected No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2011 NFL draft, and he was named Rookie of the Year following his first season. His play continued to improve over the following years, with the high point coming in 2015, when he was named league MVP and led the Panthers to the 2016 Super Bowl. Unfortunately for Newton and Panther fans, they didn’t win the Lombardi Trophy that year, falling to the Denver Broncos.

2009: Mark Ingram, Alabama

Mark Ingram, 2009’s Heisman recipient, was a member of Alabama’s Crimson Tide when he won the honor. Ingram helped Alabama punish opponents and capture the SEC title his sophomore year, rushing for over 1,500 yards and grabbing an additional 322 through the air. He declared for the NFL draft following his junior year, when he was selected 28th overall by the New Orleans Saints.

Ingram still plays running back for the Saints, recently topping 1,000 yards in the 2016 season.

2008: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma

Sam Bradford, a quarterback from the Oklahoma Sooners, received the Heisman in 2008. His Heisman year was an outstanding one, as he led the NCAA in scoring, passing for 4,464 yards. His numbers included 48 touchdowns paired with only six interceptions.

His upsides led to a high draft pick – the then-St. Louis Rams drafted the young upstart No. 1 overall. While he nailed the 2010 Rookie of the Year honors, his play was affected by injury, which has led to a couple different teams signing him for his services. He has suffered from a torn ACL twice as a member of the Rams, once in the middle of the 2013 season, and again during the 2014 preseason. He was traded by the Rams to the Eagles prior to the 2015 season, but his career in Philly ended after the team traded up to draft a quarterback No. 2 overall in early 2016. He demanded a trade, and currently throws for the Minnesota Vikings.

2007: Tim Tebow, Florida

Florida QB Tim Tebow became the first sophomore in NCAA history to nab the Heisman Trophy. His trophy-winning season saw him piling up impressive stats, including nearly as many rushing touchdowns (22) as passing (29). He was up for the Heisman after the following two seasons as well, including a third-place finish and a fifth-place finish.

Tebowmania was a very real thing once he entered the 2010 NFL draft, and only intensified after the Denver Broncos selected him 25th overall. While his playing time during his rookie year was infrequent, the following season he helped lead Denver to a thrilling overtime playoff win against the Steelers. After the Broncos signed Peyton Manning during the 2012 offseason, Tebow was traded to the Jets, where he didn’t see much action on the field.


Tebow, interestingly enough, showed an interest in pursuing a Major League Baseball career once his football career fizzled out. Early in 2016, he was signed by the New York Mets and shuffled off to their instructional rookie league.

2006: Troy Smith, Ohio State

Ohio State‘s gunslinger, Troy Smith, led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season in 2006, passing for 2,507 yards while notching an impressive 67 percent completion rate.


He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He didn’t see a ton of playing time during his pro career, even during his stint with the 49ers. He was eventually signed by the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League, and was finally released in 2014.

Making History

Lamar Jackson’s impact on the NFL is yet to be measured, but the wide-ranging success, or lack thereof, of his predecessors indicates that a Heisman Trophy isn’t a surefire indicator that a player will thrive professionally. While some of these players have played their last snap in the NFL, for others, the majority of their legacies remain unwritten.

See a former Heisman Trophy winner you love? Head on over to Fanatics and rep their professional gear.

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Syracuse University Mascot: Otto the Orange

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Syracuse University

Syracuse University came into being at the Methodist State Convention in 1870 when a resolution was passed to establish a university in Syracuse, New York. However, contrary to popular belief, the school’s history does not trace back to Genesee College – a university that attempted to relocate to Syracuse previously. SU athletic teams, now often referred to as “The Orange,” partake in 18 intercollegiate sports. As well, ’Cuse is currently a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and has appeared in a total of 25 bowl games – laying claim to 15 victories.

But what’s a victory without fans cheering you on? With this in mind, the university has enlisted a mascot capable of bringing out the true fans in students, faculty, and alumni alike. Let’s take a look at how Otto the Orange has evolved since his inception and transformed the way ’Cuse fans support their student athletes.

Otto the Orange

When Syracuse debuted its original school colors – pea green and rose pink – in 1872, it was a fashion nightmare! The colors were quickly change to pink and azure following a swift and disapproving reaction from the student body. However, it wasn’t until 1890 that dedicated alumni changed the official color to orange, which would go untouched for over a century.

Where’s Otto?! #bleedorange 💥🍊

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Otto the Orange is currently responsible for instilling the ’Cuse spirit into all fans at sporting events. Before Otto was born, though, a few other characters represented the Syracuse fandom.  Vita the Goat served as the school’s first mascot in the 1920s but was later replaced when The Syracuse Orange Peel gave birth to a new hoax – the Saltine Warrior. The new figure was a Native American named Big Chief Bill Orange whose story revolved around a myth that Native American remains had been unearthed from beneath Steele Hall. Decades later, the Saltine Warrior witnessed his demise as Native American protesters saw an end to the derogatory mascot, ultimately ushering in the era of The Orange until 1990.

Word has it that members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity initially dubbed the first costume “Clyde” and the second costume “Woody.” However, the third costume to be produced still needed a name. That summer, while at a cheerleading camp in Tennessee, Syracuse cheerleaders coined it “Otto.” Later that fall, Otto would become a household name and, in 1995, became the official school mascot by Chancellor Shaw.

If you’re looking to cheer alongside Otto the Orange at the next SU home game, you’re going to need to come prepared. Head over to Fanatics.com for all of your orange wants and needs! 

Sources

http://archives.syr.edu/history/founding_su.html

http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/syracuse/

http://archives.syr.edu/history/mascots.html

http://www.syracuse.com/orangesports/index.ssf/2004/05/origins_of_orange_colors_nicknames_and_mascots_of_syracuse_sports_over_the_years.html

Sports Traditions: Ohio State Dotting the “i”

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Timeless Traditions: Ohio State

Ohio State University’s “Pride of the Buckeyes,” a 225-piece all-brass-and-percussion band, has been a hallmark of the school since the late 1800s. The group has been the driving force behind several marching band innovations, such as animated formations and script-writing, throughout their storied existence.

But how does that explain their tradition of “dotting the ‘i’” as the band spells out the word “Ohio” before kickoff? We’ve uncovered the background of this famous college tradition (aptly called “Script Ohio”) so it makes more sense to the Buckeyes who go crazy for the ritual.

I Before E

In 1936, trumpet player John Brungart became the first member of the Pride of the Buckeyes to “dot the ‘i.’” However, at that time there was no additional showmanship required when playing this part. In wasn’t until 1938, when Glen Johnson arrived too early to his mark where he used up the additional measure by turning and bowing to the crowd. Thus, “dotting the ‘i’” (as Ohio State fans know it today) was born. This task is typically awarded to a fourth- or fifth-year sousaphone player, though a few former coaches and other famous individuals, such as comedian Bob Hope, have been extended the honor to be “‘i’-dotters.”

However, this exceptional band can’t be defined by just one tradition. They’ve proven an ability to put together an amazing half-time extravaganza enjoyed by college football fans and non-fans alike. The Pride of the Buckeyes’ performance from Oct. 26, 2013, entitled the “Hollywood Blockbuster Show,” has been viewed over 17 million times on YouTube. The band also had a tribute to Michael Jackson, also performed in 2013, which has been watched over 12 million times.

O-H-I … O!

Worth almost the price of admission by themselves, the Pride of the Buckeyes help add to the prestige that is the Ohio State University football program. Show your love for those “i”-dotting musicians, and those pretty good football players, by making sure you’re sporting the scarlet and gray on gameday. Head to Fantatics.com for the latest officially licensed merchandise and apparel.

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March Madness Final Four Fandom Visualized through Sales

Another year of March Madness has held the attention of the sporting world for weeks now. This weekend, as we turn to April, it narrows further and the end of this marathon tournament will come into view. The Final Four are ready to battle this Saturday. South Carolina and Gonzaga will face off first, followed by Oregon and North Carolina. The winners will face one another on Monday, April 3, for the National Championship. For students, alumni, and basketball fans of all stripes, it’s one of the best sports times of the year. Here at Fanatics, we’ve compiled the data and crunched the numbers to get an idea of where loyalty for the remaining four teams lies around the country by measuring which school was the top seller in merchandise sales by state.

Check out a map of our results below:

It comes as no surprise that each school carried their home state. But given that each team is close in proximity to one of the other remaining teams, there are some sharp dividing lines. The possibility of an all-west coast or all-Carolina championship must be tantalizing to fans on either side of the country.

The UNC Tarheels, one of basketball’s legendary programs and led by Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams, is seeking their sixth national championship and their third under Williams. They, unsurprisingly, would seem to have the edge among national fans. They carried 25 total states, including the vast majority of states east of the Mississippi. The 1 seed out of the South region, they are the favorites for many around the country.

One of the surprises of the tournament, the 7 seeded South Carolina Gamecocks took their home state, neighbors Georgia and Florida, as well as Maryland and Rhode Island. They are in their first Final Four in program history. From last week to this week, sales for South Carolina merchandise is up over 600% as fans have bought into the belief that this Cinderella run can end in the ultimate prize under the leadership of coach Frank Martin.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs were the top seller in 11 states, good for second in total states carried. They took their home state of Washington as well as the big sky states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Despite being a 1 seed in the tournament and entering the weekend with still only one loss on the season, Gonzaga the biggest jump in merchandise sales from last week to this one with sales up over 800% as Bulldogs fans hope longtime coach Mark Few can lead the team to glory in their first Final Four appearance.

The Oregon Ducks, the 3 seed out of the Midwest region, handily beat their region’s top seeded team, the perennially dangerous Kansas Jayhawks, to advance to their first Final Four since 1939 and second overall. They carried their home state and neighboring giant California, as well as Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, and, miles and miles away, the states of Maine and Hawaii.

Whoever you’re rooting for, remember that Fanatics has you covered with all of the top Final Four gear you’ll find online.

 

Best Places to Watch The Final Four

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The Gonzaga Bulldogs, North Carolina Tar Heels, South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Oregon Ducks stand alone in the Final Four of the 2017 NCAA March Madness Tournament. With each school looking to punch their ticket to the big dance, college basketball fans around the country are about to be treated to some exciting matchups.

In fact, in the teams’ home cities – Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Eugene, Oregon; and Spokane, Washington – ardent supporters are ready to gather with fellow students, faculty, staff, and alumni to cheer on their teams from afar. Here are just a few of the places the most excited fans will be this weekend to wear their colors with pride, cheer on their teams, and consume delicious bites and brews.

Charlotte, North Carolina – University of North Carolina

Picasso’s Sports Cafe

DUCK FUKE 🐑🏀

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Plenty of happy Tar Heels fans have made Picasso’s their preferred watering hole, and with a killer wings and tots combo, who can blame them?

Priorities!! #Chicken and #Algebra

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Draught

If you want some fantastic food options, like a pork belly taco, at a place that’s been excited about March Madness since there were 64 teams, Draught in Charlotte should be right up your alley.

Spokane, Washington – Gonzaga University

EPIC at Northern Quest Resort & Casino

Home for the next 3 days… 🏀🍀🎲🍺🙏#staycation

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While it’s connected to the Northern Quest Resort & Casino, EPIC offers ginormous video displays and several different types of foods to satiate any fan, such as Kobe meatloaf and a burger named Gut Buster.

Jack & Dan’s Bar and Grill

@ anyone who thought Gonzaga wouldn't even beat Northwestern 💃🏼🏀🎉 #BetterEliteThanSweet #tbt

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Locals love Jack and Dan’s, and you’ll find an incredible Bloody Mary to enjoy during the game. You may need the whole first half to finish one!

Columbia, South Carolina – University of South Carolina

Tin Roof

Gamecocks flock to the Tin Roof for good times with great friends and delectable offerings, such as brisket cheddar mac & cheese.

GAMECOCKS ARE FINAL FOUR BOUND!! ❤️🐔🏀

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Yesterdays Restaurant & Tavern

Happy Pi(e) day! Have you tried our Apple Pie? #3.14

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It’s not all about the main course when selecting a place to watch the game – sometimes it should be about the dessert. Yesterdays boasts an amazing apple pie that looks like it should have won a blue ribbon prize at a state fair.

And now they only say Congratulations 🏀🐔 #eliteeight #gococks

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Eugene, Oregon – University of Oregon

The Bier Stein

Here’s a place that offers more than just wings for game time; they even have offerings for those with different diets. Yes, that includes some delicious-looking vegan nachos.

Bill & Tim’s Barbeque & Tap House

If you’re looking to stock up your house for a watch party, you’ll want to grab your food from Bill & Tim’s Barbeque & Tap House. They offer up some excellent barbeque for the discerning carnivore.

Awesome #bbq lunch in #Eugene #Oregon. #tourlife #promolife #travel

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Bite-Sized Buckets

Whether you’re getting barbeque or comfort food, there are plenty of options to select from when it comes to planning your game day. What doesn’t need a second thought? Determining where to buy that next jersey or sports accessory for your school. Fanatics is the best place for officially licensed NCAA Men’s College Basketball merchandise.

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The University of North Carolina Mascot: Rameses the Ram

Go Tar Heels!

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prides itself on being the first state school to open in the nation. After being chartered in 1789, the university opened its doors to the first class of students in 1795. UNC was the only institution to award specialized degrees to the rising generation of the 18th century.

The university is widely known for its unusual nickname – the Tar Heels. According to UNC officials, the school’s nickname (which also applies to all North Carolina citizens) can be traced back to two stories. First dating back to the Revolutionary War, it was logged that North Carolinians would place tar in the rivers to immobilize British troops. The second story stems from the Civil War era when soldiers threatened retreating comrades with sticking tar on their boots – forcing them to stay in battle.

No matter the story behind the moniker, students and faculty alike represent their nickname with pride. There to spread this pride is team mascot Rameses the Ram, a rapturous ram that hypes up Tar Heel fanatics at major sporting events on campus.

Rameses the Ram

While the use of a ram for a mascot may seem unusual for a team nicknamed the “Tar Heels,” #TarHeelNation nevertheless views the four-legged headbutter as their glorious mascot. The ram came into play in 1924 after head cheerleader Vic Huggins had decided the university needed a mascot to represent the face of UNC. During the search for a new symbol, Huggins recalled the school’s 1922 football squad, which achieved a 9-1 record that season. Star fullback Jack Merritt was frequently referred to as the “Battering Ram” for his aggressive play style. This unique title caught Huggins attention and influenced the cheerleader to order UNC’s first mascot from Texas for a mere $25!

The first Rameses was present for the UNC-VMI game in 1924 – a time when the football program was in a slump – and was credited with the team’s victory due to his presence. Since then, a long line of rams (all known as Rameses) has witnessed Tar Heel games near and afar.

Serving as a primary source of luck, Rameses has traveled from New York to Jacksonville for many Tar Heel showdowns, including the Carolina-Notre Dame game in 1949 and multiple appearances in Carolina’s Gator Bowl games.

U-N-C!

North Carolina Tar Heels Midnight Mascot T-Shirt – Black

North Carolinians, if you’re looking to support the UNC squad alongside Rameses the Ram like a true Tar Heel, you must look the part. Make your way over to Fanatics.com to explore a wide variety of light blue and white merchandise and fan gear.

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