Saturdays would not be the same without a marching band filling the ears of college football fans with their blaring trumpets, pounding drums, and clashing of various cymbals.
Whether you are a diehard fan or just a casual viewer, witnessing these college students perform songs that were written several decades ago and playing them, not only with deep passion, but with the sense that it is a rite of passage to being a true student, can be quite the sight.
While almost every school has a fight song, unless you went to that school or followed them for several years, getting fired up to another school’s fight song is not something that will strike the fancy of the masses.
However, there are a handful of college football fight songs that have the ability to make even the most distant fans hum a few bars or even pump that person up to take the moment by the horns and seize the day.
There are also those fight songs that when you hear them, it makes you think of the plethora of times that you had to suffer through every note while your hated rival stomped all over your heart. These songs have a way of standing out in our minds despite the disgust that accompanies it.
Determining a top ten list of fight songs is probably the most biased list one can write. Depending on where you grew up, your musical taste, which college you went to, and/or which team you choose to play with on EA’s NCAA Football, the melody of certain fight songs might rank higher on your favorites’ list then the guy sitting in the cubical a few rows down.
Therefore, in compiling this list, I put together the top ten fight songs that have struck a chord with me through the years, slightly persuaded by teams that get more national exposure (aka BCS Schools) and by a few songs that I have had the pleasure of seeing in person.
The experiences of witnessing these marching bands play their fight songs live definitely left an everlasting impression on my memory and thus make my list.
Here are My Top Ten College Football Fight Songs.
The creation of “Yea, Alabama” came shortly after Alabama’s 1926 Rose Bowl victory, in which a contest was held by a student newspaper to compose the best fight song.
Ethelred Lundy Sukes, the editor of the paper at the time, won the contest with “Yea, Alabama” and it was adopted as the Alabama’s fight song shortly after.
The song exploded across the nation in the late 20’s and early 30’s and is now synonymous with Alabama Football.
A fast tempo version of ”Taps," “Texas Fight” was written by Colonel Walter S. Hunnicutt in response to “Farmers Fight," a song used by Texas A&M that sent some uncomplimentary words towards the University of Texas.
“Texas Fight” was introduced in 1952 and has become UT’s official fight song ever since.
Although Georgia’s official fight song is “Hail to Georgia”, the SEC knows that the Bulldogs will blare “Glory, Glory” after every touchdown and field goal.
Played at UGA football games since the late 19th Century, “Glory, Glory” is an upbeat ditty that leaves you feeling like you have accomplished the loftiest of goals.
“Fight On, State” is a jovial fight song played by the Penn State Blue Band.
The fun part of this song is that it plays around the touchdown and extra point. Once a touchdown is scored the band plays the song once all the way through.
They then start the song again, but then slow it down to a quick stop for the extra point...once the extra point is made, the band continues right on beat to finish the song.
“Tiger Rag” was originally recorded in 1917 by the Orginal Dixieland Jass Band but wasn’t adopted by Clemson as a fight song until 1942.
Seeing “Tiger Rag” played in person a couple years ago at Memorial Stadium produced a unique feeling that I had never felt at a football game before. It gave me a great understanding of the deep rooted passion that the South has towards college football and it sent chills tingling down my spine.
As a way to increase excitement at Ohio State rallies, William A Dougherty, Jr. wrote “(Fight the Team) Across the Field” in 1915, making it the oldest song still currently preformed by the Buckeyes’ marching band.
One of several fight songs that Ohio State University uses, “(Fight the Team) Across the Field” was first used in a game against Illinois, and although it is not played after scores, it is an affixed number of the band every Saturday.
Georgia Tech’s well-known fight song,” Ramblin’ Wreck” was composed by Charles Ives in 1895, loosely based on “Son of a Gamboiler”.
The fight song gained a ton of traction over the years, even to the point where it was sung on the Ed Sullivan Show and reached an audience of about 30 million.
A trip down to Southern California to watch a game will ingrain “Fight On” so deep into your brain that it will slowly creep onto to your tongue somewhere back up the 101 on the ride home. Through the years, Pac-10 fans have learned to loath this song but I have to admit it’s pretty catchy.
“Fight on” was composed by Milo Sweet and the lyrics were written by Sweet and Glen Grant in 1922 and is hard to miss during USC’s several nationally televised games a year.
As a Michigan fan, this song has been close to my heart for several decades. Composed by Louis Elbel in 1898, it did not become Michigan’s official fight song until early in the 1900s.
“The Victors” is instantly recognized by most college football fans across the nation and is a staple on any top fight song list.
“The Notre Dame Victory March” was written by two brothers who were Notre Dame Graduates. The song first appeared in the 1920s and is possibly the most recognizable college fight song in the United States.