THE? Ohio State University

Because we are in the dumbest timeline, it is only natural that Ohio State wants to trademark the word "the" in "TheA Ohio State University". While not wanting to get into the intricacies of trademark law, but while definitely wanting to avoid doing any semblance of real work, I was curious as to whether OSU even had title to the "THE". Despite being a law-taking guy, my interest was not whether OSU owned "THE" in the legal sense, but whether aOSU deserved the "THE" by the only metric that mattered: winning it on the field. It's one thing to claim the "THE", it's another entirely to have actually earned it. So the question remains, does Ohio State University have the "THE"?

Fortunately, the internet provides a vast amount of resources for the determined and inquisitive person who also shuns his actual employment, and I was able to unearth "the" true history of the "THE". Relying on the truly awesome database that is the J. Howell Historical Scores website, I painstakingly traced the ownership of the "THE" to determine whether it truly resided in Columbus, and thus whether OSU had the "right" to trademark "THE".

There are actually two separate iterations of the "THE". The first begins in 1904 with Ohio State's inaugural season of college football. But the antecedents go back to 1878 when the Ohio legislature approved an act changing the name of Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College to "THE Ohio State University", because even 150 years ago people in Ohio were putting on airs about their trumped-up trade school. When THE Ohio State University Buckeyes took the field, they apparently did not care about protecting this housethe "THE", as they would surrender the "THE" in only OSU's fifth game on Oct. 15, 1904. Making things even worse, the team that laid claim to "THE" by right of conquest was none other than That Team Up North, who beat beat the Buckeyes 31-6. The "THE" would weave in and out of the hands of teams, mostly among schools that would become the Ivy League, with only a brief return to Columbus, before going defunct on Nov. 8, 1924 when Syracuse lost the traveling "THE" to West Virginia Wesleyan by a score of 3-7. Finding records for Wesleyan is impossible, so I consider their winning it the end of the first iteration of the "THE".

In the years after 1878, the "THE" was gradually dropped from usage by Ohio State University, so that by 1924, Ohio State University was more commonly referred to as "OSU". "OSU" would grow in stature and become the de facto, if not de jure, shorthand/reference for the Columbus school such that by 1986, the board of trustees at Ohio State decided a return to the schools roots was needed. Needing to differentiate themselves from the Oklahoma and Oregon States of the world (who were probably far more relevant than the OSU in 1986), the "THE" was reintroduced as the official definite article of "Ohio State University". Thus, the second iteration of the "THE" was born and began anew with the 1986 football season.

In what can only be described as perfect karmic justice, aOSU promptly lost the "THE" in the very first game of the 1986 season, falling to Alabama in the Kick-Off Classic 8/27/86 by a score of 10-6. Over the ensuing 32 years, the "THE" has bounced in and out of the hands of many different teams, almost exclusively in what are now P5 teams, and was retained by OSU on numerous separate occasions. After spending most of the past decade in the hands of various Big XII teams, the "THE" returned to the B1G on 9/8/18 when PSU defeated Pitt, 51-6. PSU would promptly surrender the "THE" to its original owner on 9/29, only for an OSU to lose the "THE" to Purdue when the Boilers beat the Buckeyes 49-20 on 10/20. (Did you know that OSU got boatraced by Purdue 49-20? Many people forget that). Unfortunately, Purdue would promptly drop the "THE" to MSU two games later, only for MSU to almost immediately hand it back to OSU on 11/10. With that victory, THE Ohio State University laid claim to the second iteration of the traveling "THE".

Thus, dear readers, one can clearly see that by right of conquest, and possibly by right of a watery tart throwing swords (records on this are murky), Ohio State University does indeed own title to the "THE" and has the right to trademark "THE".*

*At least until August 31st when they will inevitably cough it up by losing to Florida Atlantic.