On Monday, No. 3 Ohio State will face top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game: the biggest stage in college football.

The Ohio State football team might raise a curious question for those who don’t follow college football or follow it but otherwise live under a rock:

What are the stickers on the back of their helmets? What does a buckeye look like?

It appears that those questions have been asked enough for Ohio State to dedicate an entire page to the topic, and Sporting News is here to help those curious about the Buckeyes’ arboreal nickname: 

What is a buckeye?

According to Ohio State, a buckeye is a “small, shiny, dark brown nut with a light tan patch.” Buckeyes are derived from the official state tree of Ohio: the buckeye tree. Buckeyes have a reputation for bringing good luck when carried, according to tradition.

All parts of the buckeye tree, however, are “highly toxic” if consumed, resulting in symptoms such as “muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor.”.

Therefore, do not eat them.

As a resident of Ohio, a Buckeye is also referred to as a resident of the Midwest. According to Ohio State, the first person to be called a Buckeye in 1788 was 6-4 Col. Ebenezer Sproat:

Buckeye has been used as a nickname by Ohio State since when?

Newspapers have referred to the Ohio State football team as the Buckeyes since 1919, according to the 2001 book “The Official Ohio State Football Encyclopedia,” written by Ohio State football historian Jack Park. Despite the fact that the team was founded in 1890, the nickname wasn’t officially adopted until 1950.

On Ohio State’s helmets, what are the stickers that say?

When Ohio State plays, you may see stickers on the back of their helmets that depict buckeye leaves and are awarded to players for their outstanding performances.

According to a 2008 article from ESPN, the practice of placing stickers on helmets began in 1968 under Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes, at the suggestion of trainer Ernie Biggs. It is unclear when and why the practice began, but the prevailing theory is that Hayes and Biggs believed it would motivate players to play hard if they were rewarded for big plays.

Therefore, Georgia (dog bones), Clemson (paw prints), and Florida State (spears) followed suit.

What is Ohio State’s mascot?

The Buckeyes’ mascot, Brutus Buckeye, debuted three years prior to the buckeye sticker tradition, during the team’s homecoming game against Minnesota on Oct. 30, 1965.

The mascot was constructed entirely of papier mâché at the time, resembling a giant buckeye with a pair of legs. After the season, Ohio State ordered a fiberglass version of the costume due to the fact that the previous build had failed. That is Ohio State Buckeyes Jersey.In 1974, the university’s athletic spirit squad took responsibility for him after he was turned over to the Block “O” student organization, which was dedicated to school spirit.

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

After a fan submission contest, Ohio State selected the name “Brutus Buckeye” on Nov. 21, 1965.

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