I'm an editor and therefore predisposed to paying entirely too much attention to capitalization, so my apologies in advance: In recent years we've moved from "the Ohio State game" or simply "the game" to "The Game." I find this vaguely annoying. It was called "the game" because nothing more needed to be said. It didn't have a goofy name because it didn't need one. But by capitalizing it, we've given it a goofy name.
I'm pretty sure this got started in the media buildup to the 2003 OSU game (the 100th meeting). A lot of reporters who hadn't paid particularly close attention previously thought it was interesting there was no dopey nickname and wrote about that. There was another surge in 2006, when I began noticing national writers beginning to capitalize "The Game" (especially in the context of debating the merits of a rematch in the national title game). In the years since, and especially in all the discussion surrounding potential divisional alignments, the capitalized form has trickled down to local media to the fans themselves and, apparently, has become the preferred format. Here on the message board it's by far the most common format. In NCAA 11, it's even called "Michigan vs. Ohio State in The Game." Just a few years ago, "Michigan vs. Ohio State" would've been sufficient to indicate that this is A Very Important Event.
At this rate, we're about two seasons from celebrating the fact that there's no trophy by creating The Non-Trophy Trophy.
Get off my lawn and all that, but nicknames are created for marketing purposes, and the OSU game needs no such help. Also, we shouldn't be taking our parlance from national media. We know more about the rivalry than they do.
I don't intend for this to attack anyone who prefers "The Game." Just making an observation and stating a preference. Feel free to disagree.