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What is a buckeye? Explaining Ohio State’s nickname, helmet stickers & mascot

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What is a buckeye? Explaining Ohio State's nickname, helmet stickers & mascot

No. 3 Ohio State will conclude its season on Monday with a matchup against top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game: the biggest stage available to the sport in 2020.

For those who don’t follow college football — or who do follow college football but otherwise live under a rock — Ohio State might raise a curious question:

What are the stickers on the back of their helmets? And, to further that question: What exactly is a buckeye?

Those questions have apparently been asked enough for Ohio State University to dedicate an entire page to the query. Sporting News is here to help anyone with a curiosity in the Buckeyes’ arboreal nickname, too:

MORE: Alabama-Ohio State odds, predictions, betting trends

What is a buckeye?

A buckeye has two meanings, one of which derives from the other: A buckeye, per Ohio State, is described as a “small, shiny, dark brown nut with a light tan patch.” Said nut comes from the official state tree of Ohio: the buckeye tree. Per tradition, buckeyes are supposed to bring good luck when carried.

According to the USDA, however, every part of the buckeye tree — its leaves, bark and fruit — are “highly toxic” if ingested, resulting in symptoms of “muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor.”

So: Don’t eat them.

The second meaning for buckeye is a resident of the state of Ohio. According to Ohio State, the first person to be called a Buckeye was 6-4 Col. Ebenezer Sproat, in 1788 — 15 years before Ohio legally became the 17th state in the United States:

“Col. Ebenezer Sproat, a 6-4 man of large girth and swashbuckling mannerisms, led the legal delegation at the first court session of the Northwest Territory in Marietta. The Indians in attendance greeted him with shouts of ‘Hetuck, Hetuck’ (the Indian word for buckeye), it is said because they were impressed by his stature and manner. He proudly carried the Buckeye nickname for the rest of his life and it gradually spread to his companions and to other local settlers. By the 1830s, writers were commonly referring to locals as ‘Buckeyes.'”

When did Ohio State adopt the Buckeye nickname?

According to the 2001 book “The Official Ohio State Football Encyclopedia,” authored by Ohio State football historian Jack Park, newspapers have referred to the team as the Buckeyes since at least 1919. The team did not officially adopt the nickname, however, until 1950 — 60 years after the team’s first season in 1890.

What are the stickers on the back of Ohio State’s helmets?

Sharp-eyed viewers may see stickers on the back of Ohio State’s helmets when they play. Those stickers depict buckeye leaves and are awarded to players for exceptional play.

(Getty Images)

Per a 2008 article from ESPN, the practice of placing stickers on the back of helmets began in 1968 under Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes, at the suggestion of trainer Ernie Biggs. The exact reason for why the practice began has been lost to time, but the prevailing theory is that Hayes and Biggs thought that if players were rewarded for big plays, it would encourage them to play harder.

And so, the tradition stuck, inspiring similar practices by Georgia (dog bones), Clemson (paw prints) and Florida State (spears).

What is Ohio State’s mascot?

Ohio State’s mascot — the aptly named Brutus Buckeye — actually predates the buckeye sticker tradition. Per Ohio State, he debuted three years prior on Oct. 30, 1965, as part of the team’s homecoming game against Minnesota (an 11-10 Buckeyes win).

At the time, the mascot was constructed entirely of papier-mâché and resembled a giant buckeye with a pair of legs. Later that season, Ohio State ordered a fiberglass version of the costume, as the prior build was not durable. Following the season, he was turned over to the Block “O” student organization, which was dedicated to school spirit. The organization managed him until 1974, when he came under the jurisdiction of the university’s athletic spirit squad.

As for Brutus Buckeye’s origins, he apparently was the result of Ray Bourhis and other members of the student organization “Ohio Staters Inc.” According to the university, Bourhis and his fellow students persuaded the athletic council to adopt the buckeye as Ohio State’s mascot, though a buck deer was also considered (live mascots were common at the time).

Ohio State settled on the name “Brutus Buckeye” on Nov. 21, 1965, after Kerry Reed submitted the winning name in a fan submission contest.

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NFL odds, lines, point spreads: Updated betting information for picking NFC, AFC championship games

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NFL odds, lines, point spreads: Updated betting information for picking NFC, AFC championship games

There are only two 2021 playoff games left before the big on Feb. 7, Super Bowl 55. Both the NFC and AFC championship games will be decided on Sunday.

Tom Brady’s No. 5 seed Buccaneers travel to take on Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 seed Packers in Lambeau Field in the first contest (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox). Then it’s Josh Allen’s No. 2 seed Bills playing at Patrick Mahomes’ No. 1 seed Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium (6:40 p.m. ET, CBS).

Based on tight game spreads, these penultimate matchups were meant to be. Based on recent play and some current injuries, the on-paper pregame advantages are pretty much down to the natural edges that come with home fields. Both Green Bay and Kansas City will have limited attendance of fans to try to help the teams advance against much tougher opponents from the divisional round.

Here’s the betting information you need to know for the two games plus a selection of best bets for the weekend. For more expert NFL predictions, check out Sporting News’ picks straight up and against the spread for Buccaneers vs. Packers and Bills vs. Chiefs:

MORE NFL PLAYOFFS:
AFC & NFC bracket | TV schedule | Super Bowl picks

NFL odds for conference championship games games

Below are the latest NFC and AFC championship game odds, including point spreads, money lines and over-under totals for every game, according to the DraftKings sportsbook:

Last updated: Sunday, Jan. 24

NFL conference championship game point spreads

Game Spread
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers GB -3.5
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs KC -3.5

NFL conference championship game money lines

Game Moneyline
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers TB +155, GB -180
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs BUF +145 KC -167

NFL conference championship game over/unders

Game Over/Under
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers 51.5
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs 54.5

NFL best bets for conference championship games

1. Buccaneers +3.5

The Buccaneers are a good bet to win straight up in another road upset but that extra half-point makes them really attractive even as potential losers. The game figures to be very close and come down to the final possession for either team.

2. Buccaneers at Packers OVER 52

There’s just too much offensively available for both teams and there should be strong belief that both Brady and Rodgers perform at a high level to facilitate frequent scoring. Notably, the number went up from 51.5 later in the week.

3. Chiefs -3.5

This consistent number was clearly based on the iffy injury status of Mahomes, but he has been cleared to play. The Chiefs are simply better than the Bills in many areas with him and deserve more respect than the natural home-field advantage. Jump on a line that suggests the Chiefs and Bills are even on a neutral field.

4. Bills at Chiefs UNDER 54

The Chiefs will be playing another grinding game with rushing and defensive success regardless of Mahomes playing. Allen really had trouble with the Chiefs’ pressure and coverage the first time and the Bills don’t run well.

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Coach K belittles Duke student reporter instead of examining own flailing team

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Coach K belittles Duke student reporter instead of examining own flailing team

Maybe what Mike Krzyzewski didn’t like was the challenge to his authority by a journalist.

Because he shouldn’t have been upset about the question, which was absolutely fair under the circumstances. And he shouldn’t have cared about the age of Duke Chronicle reporter Jake Piazza, who as an independent scribe had every right to be there. So perhaps when he unleashed his snark-filled response to the student reporter Saturday night after Duke lost 70-65 to Louisville and fell to 5-5 this season, he was just upset someone would confront his failure so directly.

It’s a mindset found consistently in the college ranks, where the heads of basketball and football programs double as university deities in many parts of the country.

“I’m just curious as to what the next step forward is for the team as you guys move into another week of basketball,” the reporter asked Coach K on a virtual news conference not long after Duke had turned the ball over 15 times while dishing just seven assists.

Not the most incisive query, to be sure, but one worth putting forward as Duke continues its worst start to a season in decades.

It was enough for Krzyzewski to dig in.

“Why don’t we just evaluate this game?” Krzyzewski said. “I’m not into what our next step forward is right now. We just finished a hard-fought game. What’s your major? What’s your major at Duke? What’s your hardest class?”

When the reporter answered that he was an economics major, Krzyzewski continued, “OK, say you just had the toughest econ test in the world, and when you walked out, somebody asked you, ‘What’s your next step?’ You see what I mean? Do you have some empathy? Just give us time to evaluate this game and we’ll figure it out, just like we always try to do.”

MORE: Auburn’s Sharife Cooper on an outrageous five-game streak

Coaches say far worse things to young interviewers — hazing rituals often target the most anxious and inexperienced questioners. It doubles as a sort of “test” from coach to reporter.

But what’s the point of the intimidation tactic? Why do the very people tasked with guiding the lives of teenage athletes — and who work those players as if they were paid pros — think it’s reasonable to belittle journalists of any stripe?

In the end, the exchange between Coach K and the Duke Chronicle reporter probably served as a different type of learning experience than intended. Rather than discourage tough questions, Krzyzewski shattered the illusion of his own infallibility. Now the writer knows the people he covers are not worth the pedestal many place them on, and that when he touches a nerve with a probe, it’s a sign he might be on the right track.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know how Duke plans to avoid its first NCAA Tournament miss since 1995.

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Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 live fight updates, results, highlights from UFC 257

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Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 live fight updates, results, highlights from UFC 257

The highly anticipated return of Conor McGregor is set to take place Saturday night (Sunday morning local time) when the former two-division champion meets old rival Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

A lot has changed since McGregor stopped Poirier in the first round more than six years ago at UFC 178. McGregor became the biggest star in the UFC while also becoming the first fighter to hold world titles in two divisions simultaneously. Poirier, meanwhile, built himself back up with marquee wins over Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Dan Hooker and Justin Gaethje while also claiming the interim UFC lightweight title.

MORE: McGregor poised to become the best version of himself after finding calm amid chaos

Aside from their accomplishments, both McGregor and Poirier have seen their lives change outside the Octagon. Both have become fathers and are now fighting for more than just themselves. 

Unlike their first meeting, there has been no bad blood; McGregor appears to have put his controversial past behind him and will enter the Octagon as a competitor who has seemingly found a new reason for fighting. Poirier made the mistake of allowing McGregor to get into his head before their first fight; this time, a seasoned and mature fighter will stand across the cage from the sport’s biggest star as he attempts to stake his claim as the best lightweight in the world 

There is a lot at stake in this fight as Khabib Nurmagomedov remains retired. The winner will certainly be near the front of the line for a title opportunity while the loser will fall to the back of the pack.

The co-main event features another pair of lightweights who are jockeying for position in the title picture. Michael Chandler will make his UFC debut against the battle-tested Dan Hooker. Chandler arrives after a stint in Bellator, where he is widely recognized as one of the greatest fighters ever in that organization. Can he prove that he’s worthy of having his name among the best in the UFC, too, or will Hooker turn back the challenge?  

Sporting News is tracking live fight updates and highlights from Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2. Follow below for complete results from UFC 257’s main event and undercard.

MORE: Save over 30% when you buy UFC 257 and an ESPN+ Annual Plan for only $89.98

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier live updates, highlights from UFC 257

9:41 p.m.: The final fight on the televised prelims is up next and takes place under curious circumstances. Matt Frevola takes on Arman Tsarukyan in a catchweight bout. Frevola was originally set to take on Ottman Azaitar until Azaitar was removed from the card, and the UFC, for violating COVID-19 safety protocols after attempting to sneak a teammate into his hotel room in Abu Dhabi. It was absurd and cost Azaitar his UFC career. Fortunately for Frevola, Tsarukyan needed an opponent after Nasrat Haqparast was removed due to illness. And here we are. 

9:37 p.m.: Brad Tavares earned a decision over Antonio Carlos Junior in middleweight action. The takedown defense from Tavares was impressive as he prevented “Shoeface” from bringing the fight to the canvas. He also showcased some solid counterstriking. That performance is a start for Tavares as he attempts to work his way up the middleweight ladder.  

9:01 p.m.: Just when you thought we were heading to another decision, Pena managed to get McMann’s back in the final round and cinch in a rear-naked choke to earn the submission victory. It’s a win that Pena needed to end a skid as she tries to work her way back into title contention. The best part was that Pena called out Amanda Nunes and accused the champion of “ducking” her. Interesting. 

 

 

8:45 p.m.: Welcome to Sporting News’ coverage of UFC 257: McGregor vs. Poirier 2. As we continue through the prelims, we have had a stretch of three consecutive decisions. Sara McMann and Julianna Pena are up now. Will this fight also be decided by the judges or will Pena or McMann take it out of their hands. 

McGregor vs. Poirier 2 start time

  • Early prelims: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Prelims: 8 p.m. ET
  • Main card: 10 p.m. ET
  • Live stream: ESPN+

The main card of UFC 257 is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET, following the early prelims (6:30 p.m. ET) and preliminaries (8 p.m. ET).

How to watch McGregor vs. Poirier 2 on PPV

  • UFC 257 early prelims TV channel: ESPN+, UFC FIght Pass
  • UFC 257 prelims TV channel: ESPN+, ESPN 2
  • UFC 257 main card channel: ESPN+ (pay-per-view)

The early prelims and preliminaries at UFC 257 are free to watch on ESPN+ for those who are already subscribed to the streaming service. The pay-per-view portion (i.e., the main card) can be purchased for $69.99. New subscribers can pay a bundle price of $89.99, which includes the fight and an annual subscription to ESPN+.

Click here to learn about the different pricing and bundling options with the ESPN+ platform.

UFC 257 fight card

Main card

  • Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier; lightweights
  • Dan Hooker vs. Michael Chandler; lightweights 
  • Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood; women’s flyweights 
  • Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas; women’s strawweights 
  • Andrew Sanchez vs. Makhmud Muradov; middleweights 

Prelims

  • Matt Frevola vs. Arman Tsarukyan; catchweight (157 pounds)
  • Brad Tavares def. Antonio Carlos Junior via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28) 
  • Julianna Pena def. Sara McMann via 3rd round submission (3:39)
  • Marcin Prachnio def. Khalil Rountree Jr. via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28)

Early prelims

  • Movsar Evloev def. Nik Lentz via split decision (29-28, 29-28 & 28-29)
  • Amir Albazi def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28)

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