Big Ten Countdown: 42 - Ohio State's first National Title and Bacon

In 1942, Ohio State won it's first national title. The Buckeye's actually lost to Wisconsin that year, but were fortunate enough to get back to #1 by the end of the year.  Wisconsin had a loss to Iowa and a tie. At the end of the year the Big Ten had 3 teams in the Top 10, #1 OSU, #3 Wisconsin, and #9 Michigan.

The 1942 Ohio State Buckeyes football team was led by WB Les Horvath and QB/Captain George Lynn. they were the first national title team in Ohio State football history. They were coached by Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown. Because the Big Ten Conference did not let its teams participate in any game except for the Rose Bowl, the Buckeyes were given the title by the press. The Buckeyes outscored their opponents by an average score of 34-11 by scoring a total 337 and 114 for opponents.

The Buckeyes only loss was to the Wisconsin Badgers in what many now refer to as "The Bad Water Game" where half of the Buckeye players contracted an intestinal disorder after drinking from an unsanitary drinking fountain on the train to Madison. The Buckeyes were defeated by the Badgers who were led by Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch. However, the Badgers had a loss and a tie giving Ohio State a shot at a Big Ten Championship giving Paul Brown his second in his second year at Ohio State.

Horvath then led the Bucks to three scores through the air to upset Michigan and win their first league championship in three years and their sixth in thirty years since joining the Western Conference in 1913.

Top ranked Boston College lost its season ending game, giving Ohio State their first consensus football National Championship. Ohio State had been awarded a National Championship via the Dunkel System in 1933, with Michigan, Princeton and Southern California also being given titles by different ranking systems.

Before there was a Paul Bunyan's Axe, there was a Slab of Bacon. This was the original trophy that Minnesota and Wisconsin played for and would be played for for the last time in 1943. It was decided that during WWII, the trophy should be put on hiatus out of respect for the service men. At this point, the trophy went missing until 1994. Apparently it was hidden in a storage closet at Camp Randall.

The discovery coincides with Wisconsin becoming good at football again and is attributed to the Badgers exercising some demons created by the person who kept it hidden for 50 years. (Actually I made that up, but it sounds reasonable.) The scores from all the games between 1930 through 1970 were etched on the back. Whomever was doing this must have passed away around 1971 and no one knew of the secret.

The Slab of Bacon is a simple trophy that will display a "W" or an "M" depending on how you orient it. The SoB currently resides in Wisconsin and has been retired as a traveling trophy. And no, the SoB is not Bret Bielema even though gopher fans were pretty pissed at him running up the score last year.

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