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The 50 Greatest College Football Fight Songs of All Time (With Video)

Michael PintoSenior Writer INovember 2, 2010

The 50 Greatest College Football Fight Songs of All Time (With Video)

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    Fight songs are among the oldest traditions of college football, and many of them have become tunes known to Americans across the country.

    You might not even know exactly what some of them are, but when you hear them, these fight songs are as familiar as music comes.

    Some of these fight songs are surrounded by rich history, others are modern and the rest fall somewhere in-between. But they're all great in their own way.

    Here are the top-50 college football fight songs of all-time, with audio files of course. 

50. Rice: "Rice Fight Song"

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    "Rice's Honor," written to the tune of "Our Director March," by Ben H. Mitchell in 1922, is often believed to be the Owl's fight song.

    But "Rice Fight Song" is the beat played by the Rice University Marching Owl Band or the MOB as it's also known as. Written and composed by Louis Gerard in 1940, the Rice Fight Song has been the school's official fight song for over 60 years. 

49. Oregon State: "Hail to Old OSU"

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    "Hail to Old OSU" was written by Harold L. Wilkins in 1914, though the lyrics have been altered slightly over the years.

    Originally composed for Oregon State College, the fight song was changed when the school became Oregon State University. Today, it's played at every football and basketball game. 

     


48. Washington State: "Washington State Fight Song"

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    "The Washington State Fight Song" is the official fight song of Washington State University, written by Zella Melcher and composed by Phyllis Sayles in 1919.

    The pair originally wrote the song while they were students at Washington State as part of a class project. 

47. Oregon: "Mighty Oregon"

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    "Mighty Oregon" has been the fight song of the University of Oregon since 1916, when the Director of Bands, Albert Perfect wrote the original version of the song with help from DeWitt Gilbert. 

    The song is today played at all home football and basketball games and even is used for special speakers on campus. 

46. Stanford: "Come Join the Band"

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    "Come Join The Band" remains the official fight song of Stanford, but today the Stanford Band plays "All Right Now," the 1970's hit from the British rock band Free. 

    "Come Join The Band," written in 1907 by Aurania Ellerbeck Rouverol is still a treasured part of school tradition, though it isn't played at football and basketball games with any frequency any more. 

45. Indiana: "Indiana, Our Indiana"

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    "Indiana, Our Indiana" was written by Russell P. Harker in 1912 when Harker was the Hoosiers band director. 

    Written to the tun of "The Viking March", which was composed by Karl King from the Barnum and Bailey Circus, the song was first performed as Indiana's fight song in a game against Northwestern in November  1912.

44. Northwestern: "Go U Northwestern"

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    Northwestern has several official school songs, but "Go U Northwestern" is the oldest of the group, dating back to 1912. 

    Written by Theodore Van Etten, who was a member of the Wildcat Marching Band at the time, the song has been performed at football games after scores for nearly 100 years. 

43. Mississippi State: "Hail State"

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    Outshined by Mississippi State's Famous Maroon Band which actually plays the fight song, "Hail State" was written and composed by Joseph Burleson Peavey in 1939. 

    Played at the start of each home game and after each time the Bulldogs score, there are several different versions played throughout games. 

42. Minnesota: "The Minnesota Rouser"

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    The Minnesota Daily and the Minneapolis Tribune held a contest in 1909 for a suitable replacement the Golden Gopher's original school song "Hail! Minnesota."

    Written by Floyd Hutsell, "The Minnesota Rouser" was originally titled "The U. of M. Rouser" but over time has simply been known as the "Minnesota Rouser." 

41. Florida State: "The Fight Song"

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    "The Fight Song" was written by Tommy Wright in 1950 when he was a professor at Florida State. While it has become one of the most popular tunes of the school, played at every football and basketball game, Wright maintains the sole rights to the song. 

    Wright gives FSU free use of the song in exchange for two free season tickets.

40. Kansas: "I'm a Jayhawk"

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    "I'm a Jayhawk" was composed by Georgia Bowles in 1912, but the lyrics are soon to be adjusted with Nebraska's move to the Big Ten and Colorado's move to the Pac-10. 

    The song has been updated in the past due to other conference realignments, though it has maintained the same feel since its inception. 

39. Missouri: "Missouri Fight Song"

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    "Missouri Fight Song" is actually a compilation of several school songs. There are many different combinations, but the most recognizable version utilizes all of the school's fight songs. 

    Most fans are familiar with the tune that combines "Every True Son," "Mizzou Cheer" and "Fight Tiger" all in a row, though "Fight Tiger" is often used on its own.

38. Mississippi: "Forward Rebels"

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    Also known as "Rebel March," "Forward Rebels" is the official fight song of the University of Mississippi and is best known for the performances by "The Pride of the South" marching band at all school sporting events. 

    Though "Dixie" is a fan favorite as well, and arguably more popular among many fans and alumni, it is the unofficial fight song and not played after scores. 

37. Syracuse: "Down, Down the Field Goes Old Syracuse"

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    Composed by Harold Lewis in 1915, "Down, Down The Field Goes Old Syracuse," is often referred to as "Down the Field."

    It has been the school fight song since 1915, commonly played after the Orange score at all of their sporting events.

36. Illinois: "Oskee Wow Wow"

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    "Oskee Wow Wow" is the official fight song of the University of Illinois since 1911 and while "Illinois Loyalty," the school's alma mater is better known, "Oskee Wow Wow" was composed to rouse crowds like "Illinois Loyalty" could not. 

    Written and composed by Howard Green and Harold Hill, who where Illinois students at the time, "Oskee Wow Wow" has been played at school sporting events as the official fight song for nearly 100 years, though there are several versions played today. 


35. Arizona State: "Maroon and Gold"

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    Felix E. McKernan, who was the director of Arizona State's Sun Devil Marching Band, composed "Maroon & Gold" in 1948. 

    Though the current version is very different from the original written by McKernan, "Maroon & Gold" has been the official fight for over 50 years. 

34. Louisiana State: "Fight for L.S.U."

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    "Fight for L.S.U." is played frequently at Louisiana State football games but most notably when the team enters the field during pregame ceremonies. 

    The song is not often played in its entirety, with the band only playing the introduction, a single strain and the coda most of the time it is performed. 

33. Army: "On Brave Old Army Team"

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    Lieutenant Egner wrote "On Brave Old Army Team" in 1910 after supposedly drawing inspiration from valorus actions of the Cadet football team. 

    According to the legends behind the composition of the song, Egner conceived the tune while walking home and wrote it down on his shirt cuff. 

32. Duke: "Fight! Blue Devils Fight!"

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    Along with "Blue and White," "Fight! Blue Devils, Fight!" is one of the two official fight songs of Duke University. 

    "Fight! Blue Devils, Fight!" is the more popular of the two and was composed by J.F. Hewitt with the lyrics written by Douglas Ballin. 

31. West Virginia: "Hail, West Virginia"

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    "Hail, West Virgina" was composed by a pair of West Virginia alumni, Earl Miller and Ed McWhorther, in 1915.

    While the composition is the official fight song of of WVU, the second verse of the song is typically performed by the Mountaineer Marching band as part of the pregame performance at football games. 

30. California: "Fight for California"

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    "Fight For California" was originally composed as a march, taken from the final strain of the "Light Out March" written by Earl Elleson McCoy in 1906. 

    Robert N. Fitch wrote the lyrics for the song in the 1910's, and shortly after, "Fight For California" was adopted as the University of California, Berkeley's official fight song. 

29. South Carolina: "The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way"

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    Also known as "Step to the Rear," which is the original version of the song, "The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way" was taken from the Broadway musical How Now, Dow Jones in 1968. 

    James Pritchard obtained the band arrangement from "Step to the Rear" and Paul Dietzel, the Gamecocks football coach at the time, later wrote the lyrics of "The Fighting Gamecocks" to accompany it as the school's official fight song. 

28. Purdue: "Hail Purdue!"

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    "Hail Purdue!", Purdue University's fight song since 1913, was originally known as "Purdue War Song," but got its current name shortly after. 

    With lyrics written by James Morrison to the tune composed by Edward Wotawa, the song was dedicated to the Varsity Glee Club. 

27. Nebraska: "Dear Old Nebraska U"

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    While the song is commonly referred to as "There is No Place Like Nebraska," Nebraska's official fight song is actually named "Dear Old Nebraska U." 

    Written and composed by Harry Pecha in 1924, it is played by the Cornhusker Marching Band primarily at football games, though it is one of four Nebraska fight songs. 

26. Iowa: "Iowa Fight Song"

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    Much like at Nebraska, Iowa has several fight songs to chose from. We give you "On Iowa" over "The Iowa Fight Song" and "Roll Along Iowa."

    Written by W.R. Law in 1919, "On Iowa" is the oldest of the three and holds more historical significance than the others. 

25. Brigham Young: "The Cougar Fight Song"

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    Brigham Young's "The Cougar Fight Song" goes by several names, from "The Cougar Song" to "Rise and Shout, The Cougars Are Out."

    Composed by Clyde D. Sandgren in the 1940's, Sandgren filed a copyright for the song in 1947, giving permission only to the school to use it. "The Cougar Fight Song" is officially dedicated to all BYU students who served in WWII. 

24. Harvard: "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard"

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    Harvard has several fight songs, but "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard" is the most-frequently performed of the group and the preferred fight tune of the football team.  

    Written by A. Putnam in 1918, the song is performed at all school sporting events, but is probably most famous for its performance by the marching band in Harvard Square one night in the fall each year. 

23. Florida: "The Orange and the Blue"

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    The official fight song of the University of Florida, "Orange and Blue" is played often at all Gators sporting events. 

    The song is almost exclusively performed by The Pride of the Sunshine marching band, but only rarely do they play any part of the tune other than the chorus. 

22. Oklahoma: "Boomer Sooner"

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    "Boomer Sooner" isn't just the official mascot of the University of Oklahoma, it's the name of the school's official fight song as well. 

    Written in 1905 by Arthur M. Alden, the tune was taken from "Boola Boola," Yale's fight song, and "I'm a Tar Heel Born," the fight song from UNC. 

21. Miami: "Hail to the Spirit of Miami U"

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    "Hail to the Spirit of Miami" is one of the oldest traditions at the University of Miami.

    Dale Clark wrote the lyrics to the song in 1929, and a year later, Ted Kennedy added music to accompany it. 

20. Auburn: "War Eagle"

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    "War Eagle" is a proper fight song in that it is played before and after games, as well as after every Auburn field goal or touchdown; "Glory, Glory, to Ole Auburn" is played after extra points. 

    Written by Robert Allen and Al Stillman in 1954 and 1955, "War Eagle" replaced "The Auburn Victory March" as the school's fight song shortly after its composition. 

19. Arkansas: "Arkansas Fight"

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    Arkansas' two fight songs were written by William Paisley in 1929 and 1931 but were replaced by "Arkansas Fight" in the 1970's. 

    Joel T. Leach's wrote "Arkansas Fight" in the early 1970's, and it was soon adopted by the University as the school's official fight song. 

18. UCLA: "Sons of Westwood"

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    "Sons of Westwood" is somewhat of a controversial fight song as it was originally taken from an arrangement of "Big C," a fight song for UC Berkeley and UC Davis. 

    Kelley James, the associate director of the UCLA Marching Band wrote the arrangement for a halftime show performed by the combined bands of UCLA, UC Davis and Cal and then later adopted the song as UCLA's official fight song.

17. Michigan State: "Michigan State University Fight Song"

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    Written and composed in 1915 but not copyrighted until 1919, the "Michigan State Fight Song" is the official fight song of Michigan State University. 

    Francis Irving Lankey and Arthur Sales created the song by combining the lyrics with the melody from the hymn "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus."

16. Georgia: "Glory, Glory to Ole GA"

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    "Glory, Glory To Ole' GA" is not actually the fight song for the University of Georgia, but it's one of the most well-known college football songs in the nation.

    While the official UGA fight song is "Hail to Georgia," "Glory, Glory" has been sung at football games as early as the 1890s and has been performed in its current form since 1915. 

15. Penn State: 'Fight On, State"

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    Joe Sanunders composed "Fight On, State" in 1915 specifically to be played after a touchdown. It is played through its entirety, then slows down, stops and resumes once the extra point is kicked. 

    A shortened version of the song was written in 1968 known as "New Fight On, State" and is played without the traditional slow down and pause. 

14. Clemson: "Tiger Rag"

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    Tiger Rag was a very popular tune written in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jass Band and has been adopted by several schools since then. 

    The Clemson version of Tiger Rag, also known as 'The Song That Shakes The Southland" has been the Tigers fight song since 1942 and is performed at every Clemson sporting event. 

13. Texas: "Texas Fight"

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    While "The Eyes of Texas" is the most well-known song from the University of Texas, "Texas Fight" is the school's official fight song. 

    Written by Walter S. Hunnicutt and James E. King, it is sung to a fast tempo version of Taps, mostly after touchdowns and extra points and was meant to be a response to Texas A&M's "Farmers Fight."

12. Tennessee: "Rocky Top"

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    "Rocky Top" isn't the official Tennessee school song, but you'd never know that based on the way it's played nearly nonstop anywhere and everywhere on campus.

    Vols love it, and opposing fans hate it—the perfect school song. Boudleaux and Felice Bryant wrote 'Rocky Top" in 1967, and the University of Tennessee was granted perpetual rights to play the song in the 1970s.

11. Alabama: "Yea, Alabama"

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    "Yea, Alabama" was written after Alabama's victory over Washington in the 1926 Rose Bowl when The Rammer-Jammer held a contest for the composition of a fight song.

    Ethelred Lundy Sykes, the editor of the Rammer-Jammer, composed "Yea, Alabama," the winning song that has been Alabama's fight song ever since.  

10. Boston College: "For Boston"

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    "For Boston" holds a special place in college football lore as it is not only the traditional fight song of Boston College, it's considered to be the original fight song.

    Written and composed by T.J. Hurley in 1885, while the song has been altered over the years, it has remained relatively the same since its original conception. 

9. Wisconsin: "On, Wisconsin!"

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    One of the most popular fight songs in the country, Wisconsin's "On, Wisconsin" has over 2,500 variations from other schools around the country.

    Composed by William T. Purdy in 1909, the song was originally made for the University of Minnesota, but Carl Beck, a Wisconsin alum, convinced Purdy to withdraw the song from consideration at Minnesota and instead allow the Badgers to use it. 

8. Georgia Tech: "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck From Georgia Tech"

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    "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck From Georgia Tech" has a deep history rooted well beyond college football. Based on "Son of a Gambolier" by Charles Ives' 1895 song who's lyrics are based on an English drinking song of the same name, it has been part of Georgia Tech since 1908. 

    Played after every Georgia Tech score, it is arguably most famous for being sung by Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev in the 1959 Kitchen Debate. 

7. Ohio State: "Buckeye Battle Cry"

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    While "(Fight The Team) Across the Field" is Ohio State's oldest fight song, "Buckeye Battle Cry" is the most famous.

    Composed by Frank Crumit in 1919, "Buckeye Battle Cry" is played after every Ohio State score as well as during the conclusion of the marching band's performance of "Script Ohio."

6. Kentucky: "On, On, U. of K."

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    "On, On, U of K" is often believed to be the fight song of the University of Kentucky basketball team, but the song was actually specifically composed for the football program. 

    While Kentucky hasn't had too much success on the football field, the song is one of the most well-known fight songs in the nation and a favorite of college football fans. 

5. Texas A&M: "Aggie War Hymn"

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    Originally composed by J.V. Wilson under the title "Good-bye to Texas University," the song was adopted by the University in its current state in 1920.

    The song was slightly altered and submitted for a competition by a group of Yell Leaders. USA Today named it the No. 1 college football fight song in the nation in 1997.

4. Washington: "Bow Down to Washington"

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    One of the most critically-aclaimed fight songs in the country, "Bow Down to Washington" was described by the San Diego Journal as "the greatest college fight song." 

    Written by Lester Wilson in 1915, the song was originally composed for a competition to find a new song for the University of Washington. 

3. USC: "Fight On"

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    Mile Sweet composed "Fight On!" in 1922 while he was a student as USC. Originally the song was intended for a Trojan Spirit Contest, but it has since become the trademark of one of college football's premier programs.

    The fight song is considered by most West Coast fans to be the best in the country, but of course, the rivalry of Michigan-Notre Dame takes center stage here. 

2. Notre Dame: "Notre Dame Victory March"

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    Notre Dame's "Victory March" is one of the most recognizable fight songs in the country and was created to rival Michigan's "The Victors."

    The song was written by Michael and John Shea in 1908 but did not debut at Notre Dame athletic events until 1919. Since then, it has become a treasured part of college football. 

1. Michigan: "The Victors"

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    Described by many as the greatest college fight song ever written, Michigan's "The Victors" was composed in 1898 by Louis Elbel in celebration of Michigan's championship.

    The song did not make its first appearance at games until the early 1900s but quickly thereafter became an integral part of Michigan tradition. The song is sung in praise of the smallest to greatest victories.

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