Home to the Ohio State Buckeyes since 1922, the stadium known far and wide as "The Horseshoe" has long been considered one of the most impressive stadiums in American sports. But with the Buckeyes enjoying a golden age under the leadership of coach Jim Tressel, Ohio Stadium has also become one of the most intimidating venues in the nation. And even many Buckeye fans would probably admit that wasn't always the case.
Ohio Stadium was designed by architect Howard Dwight Smith and completed in 1922 at a cost of $1.3 million. The stadium hosted its first game, against Ohio Wesleyan, on Oct. 7 of that year. It was dedicated two weeks later, against -- who else? -- the Michigan Wolverines.
Originally built to hold just over 66,000 fans, Ohio Stadium today holds a whopping 102,329. That makes it the third largest stadium in all of college football--as well as the third-largest in the Big Ten, behind both Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan and Beaver Stadium at Penn State.
Ohio State led the nation in attendance every year between 1958 and 1971 and hasn't finished lower than fourth in total attendance since 1949. On Sept. 12, 2009, 106,033 fans--the largest crowd ever at Ohio Stadium-- saw Buckeyes fall to USC, 18-15.
The stadium has undergone a series of upgrades over the past century. Artificial turf was added in 1970; twenty years later, the fake turf was replaced with natural grass. A massive renovation was launched in 1999 and completed three years later. The renovation helped improve the gameday experience at Ohio Stadium, with the most notable improvement coming in the area of stadium acoustics. For years critics had complained that, while undeniably huge, Ohio Stadium was also surprisingly quiet. That's no longer the case, as by lowering the field engineers were able to better trap the sound inside the 'Shoe.