College Football: 14 Fight Songs That Call Out Rivals

Amy DaughtersFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2011

College Football: 14 Fight Songs That Call Out Rivals

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 27:  Brandon Boykin #2 of the Georgia Bulldogs stiff arms Jerrard Tarrant #37 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on a return at Sanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    College football is often best defined by its long-lasting, hate-celebrating, hard-fought rivalries.

    Year in and year out these programs keep the eternal flame of hate burning wildly, fanning the fire into a blaze as game time approaches and then carefully preserving the sparks of disdain for the 12 long months until the two will meet again.

    But how can we gauge the hate betwixt two rivals?

    One obscure measure of the hatred might be found amid the words to a school’s sacred fight song.

    Yes, if the rival is mentioned among the words sung at every sporting event, the song passed from generation to generation of fans, it might represent an entirely newfound level of disgust.

    The following slideshow identifies 14 spirited fight songs that do more than offer a “rah rah” and a supportive “Go team!” to their athletic squads. These compositions go one step further and specifically call out, in verse, their most hated, heated rival(s).

    Oh the hate, oh the love, oh the passion...

Alabama Crimson Tide

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    ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Linebacker Dont'a Hightower #30 of the Alabama Crimson Tide intercepts a pass off the hands of wide receiver A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2008 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Doug Ben
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    “Yea Alabama”

    The opening lines:

    “Let the Sewanee Tiger scratch, Let the Yellow Jacket sting,
    Let the Georgia Bulldog bite,
    Alabama still is right!

    From the chorus:

    “Go teach the Bulldogs to behave,
    Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave!
    And if a man starts to weaken,
    That's a shame!
    For 'Bama's pluck and grit
    Have writ her name in crimson flame!”

    “Yea Alabama” was the winning entry in a 1926 contest held by the University of Alabama’s school newspaper (The Rammer Jammer) to concoct a school fight song. The competition came just after the Crimson Tide’s victory over Washington in the 1926 Rose Bowl.

    Alabama’s fight song specifically calls out Georgia, Georgia Tech and the “Sewanee” Tigers.

    At first glance it may seem that the” Tigers” are most logically from LSU, but in this case the song is actually referring to the University of the South or Sewanee Tigers from Sewanee, Tennessee. 

    The Tigers were a football powerhouse in the 1890s and were a charter member of the SEC (but they never won a conference game during their eight-year membership). The Tigers are now a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (D-III).

    Though Georgia seems a suitable foe to be called out, what of Georgia Tech, which is obviously a member of the ACC?

    Well, the Yellow Jackets were members of the SEC from 1933-1963 before becoming independent for four years and then joining the ACC. 

    The Crimson Tide are 36-25-4 all-time against Georgia, 28-21-3 against Georgia Tech and 17-10-3 against the Sewanee Tigers.

California Golden Bears

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    BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Tailback J.J. Arrington #30 of the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears carries the ball against the Stanford University Cardinal during the game at Memorial Stadium on November 20, 2004 in Berkeley, California.  Th
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    “Big C”

    “Golden Bear is ever watching
    Day by day he prowls
    And when he hears the tread
    Of lowly Stanford red
    From his lair he fiercely growls”

    “Fight for California” 

    Stanford's men will soon be routed
    By our dazzling 'C'
    And when we serpentine
    Their red will turn to green
    In our hour of victory!”

    “Big C” was composed by two members of the Cal class of 1914, while the lyrics for “Fight for California” were penned in 1909.

    Both songs specifically call out Cal’s traditional rival Stanford. Notably, Stanford students have a retort to “Fight for California” (the song’s opening line is “Our sturdy Golden Bear”), which is aptly entitled “The Dirty Golden Bear.”

    The Cal vs. Stanford game is referred to as “The Big Game,” and the rivalry (which is ranked among the top 10 in the nation) dates back to 1892.

    Cal is 44-51-10 all-time vs. Stanford.

Duke Blue Devils

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 07:  Damian Thornton #56 of the Duke Blue Devils goes after a dropped ball by Erik Highsmith #88 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by S
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    “Fight! Blue Devils, Fight!”

    “Fight, Fight Blue Devils,
    Fight for Duke and the Blue and White.
    March on through,
    For the touchdown's there for you
    Go get 'em
    Duke is out to win today
    Carolina
    goodnight
    So turn on the steam team
    Fight Blue Devils fight!”

    It’s not difficult to figure out the connection between Duke and in-state rival North Carolina. What is more interesting is that the word “touchdown” is included in the original lyrics to a fight song that seems (from a modern standpoint) to cheer on a basketball school (and herald an elite basketball rivalry).

    Though when sung at basketball games the word touchdown is replaced with “basket” or another suitable roundball reference, the original term is indeed “touchdown,” and the reference to Carolina was made in a gridiron context.

    Duke is 36-57-4 all-time versus North Carolina in football.

Georgetown Hoyas

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    “There Goes Old Georgetown”

    “We've heard those loyal fellows up at Yale
    Brag and boast about their 'Boola-Boola'
    We've heard the Navy yell, we've listened to Cornell
    We've heard the sons of Harvard tell
    How Crimson lines could hold them
    'Choo! Choo! Rah! Rah!', dear to Holy Cross
    The proud old Princeton tiger is never at a loss
    But the yell of all the yells,
    The yell that wins the day
    Is the 'HOYA, HOYA SAXA!' of the dear old Blue and Gray.”

    The Georgetown fight song is a unique mixture of three of the Hoyas' older spirit songs that dated from 1913-30.

    “There Goes Old Georgetown” takes the prize for calling out the most opponents in a single song.

    Yale, Navy, Cornell, Harvard, Holy Cross and Princeton are not only called out in this extraordinary tune, but as well, sometimes not so subtly, these institutions’ own fight songs are mocked within the confines of the Georgetown song.

    All six of the schools mentioned in the tune were rivals of the Hoyas during the first part of the 20th century.

    Georgetown is 0-4-0 all time versus Yale, 4-13-2 against Navy, 1-2-0 versus Cornell, 8-15-0 versus Holy Cross and 0-5-0 all time against the Princeton Tigers; the Hoyas have never faced Harvard in football.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 28:  Stephen Hill #5 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is tackled by Demarcus Dobbs #58 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    “Up With the White and Gold”  

    “So then it's up with the White and Gold
    Down with the Red and the Black
    Georgia Tech is out for a victory
    We'll drop our battle axe on Georgia's head, CHOP!
    When we meet her our team will surely beat her
    Down on the old farm there'll be no sound
    Till our bow wows rip through the air
    When the battle is over Georgia's team will be found
    With the Yellow Jackets swarming around.”

    “Ramblin’ Wreck”  

    “Oh, if I had a daughter, sir, I'd dress her in White and Gold,
    And put her on the campus, to cheer the brave and bold.
    But if I had a son, sir, I'll tell you what he'd do.
    He would yell, "To Hell with Georgia," like his daddy used to do.”

    Now, the folks down at Georgia Tech are flat-out serious about their ill feelings about their in-state rival Georgia, and as a college football fan you simply have to respect that kind of hate.

    “Ramblin’ Wreck” was first published at Georgia Tech in 1908, when it was printed in the school yearbook (Blueprint). Its origins are from the 1890s, and the song was purportedly first used (at Tech) before a baseball game vs. Georgia.

    Interestingly, variations of the song were also supposedly used earlier at other institutions, including Dickinson College in Pennsylvania (1850s), the Colorado School of Mines (1870s) and Ohio State University (early 1890s).

    “Up With the White and Gold” is traditionally played directly after a touchdown and followed by “Ramblin’ Wreck” after the PAT.

    The Yellow Jackets are 39-61-5 all time versus the Georgia Bulldogs.

Illinois Fighting Illini

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    “Oskee Wow Wow”

    “Old Princeton yells her Tiger,
    Wisconsin
    her Varsity,
    And they give the same old RAH! RAH! RAH!
    For each university,
    But the yell that always thrills me,
    And fills my heart with joy,
    Is the good old Oskee-wow-wow
    That they yell at Illinois.”

    And another verse found after the chorus:

    Teddy Roosevelt may be famous,
    And his name you often hear,
    But it's heroes on the football field
    Each college man holds dear.
    We think with pride of Roberts,
    Artie Hall and Heavy, too.
    Oskee-wow-wow for the wearers
    Of the Orange and the Blue!”

    “Oskee Wow Wow” was written in 1911 by two Illinois students and replaced its predecessor “Illinois Loyalty,” which is still used as the school’s alma mater.

    Illinois’ fight song specifically names Princeton and Wisconsin, both seemingly from a fight song or school spirit standpoint.

    The mention of the Badgers seems sensible, as both Illinois and Wisconsin are longtime members of the Big Ten conference and therefore met early and often upon the gridiron.

    But what of the suggestion of “Old Princeton?”

    Interestingly, Princeton and Illinois have never met on a football field, but the Illini are 6-1 all-time vs. the Tigers in basketball. However, that series did not even began until the two first met in 1939 (some 28 years after the song was penned).

    The reference to Princeton in the fight song must purely be due to the fact that the Tigers were such a dominant football force in the early part of the 20th century. “Oskee Wow Wow” was written in 1911, and Princeton won the national championship in football that same year (additionally, the Tigers won it all in 1903, 1906, 1920 and 1922).

    Of note, Illinois has the only fight song that specifically calls out a President of the United States. 

    “Oskee Wow Wow” does so in the now rarely used second verse when it specifically names Teddy Roosevelt and holds him inferior to the Illini gridiron heroes. Good stuff. The song was written just after Roosevelt left office in March of 1909.

    The Illini are 36-34-7 all time versus Wisconsin.

Kansas Jayhawks

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: The Nebraska Cornhusker defense swarms James Sims #29 of the Kansas Jayhawks during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Kansas 20-3. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    “I’m a Jayhawk”

    “Talk about the Sooners, the Cowboys and the Buffs,
    Talk about the Tiger and his tail,
    Talk about the Wildcat, and those Cornhuskin' boys,
    But I'm the bird to make 'em weep and wail.

    'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay, Jayhawk
    Up at Lawrence on the Kaw
    'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay, Jayhawk
    With a sis-boom, hip hoorah.
    Got a bill that's big enough to twist the Tiger's tail.
    Husk some corn and listen to the Cornhusker's wail.
    'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay, Jayhawk,
    Riding on a Kansas Gale.”

    Though the song was original written and composed in 1912, the above lyrics reflect the 1958 version of the Jayhawks fight song that obviously calls out fellow members of the now defunct Big 8 conference (which flourished from 1907-96).

    The Big 8 ran through a few names and combinations of members in its 89-year run, but it settled on the modern “Big 8” in 1958. All of the Jayhawks' in-conference foes are called out in the fight song with the exception of the Iowa State Cyclones.

    The song was transformed again as recently as 2010 to account for the exit of Nebraska and Colorado from the Big 12 and now includes (in the first verse) the Texas A&M Aggies in place of the Buffaloes and the Baylor Bears in place of the Cornhuskers. In verse two the song now incorporates the Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech Red Raiders.

    However, still no Iowa State Cyclones.

    Interestingly, the actual lyrics are rarely sung by the student body, which instead has a scripted set of claps that go along with the song.

    Kansas is 27-68-6 versus Oklahoma, 29-29-3 against Oklahoma State, 55-55-9 versus Missouri, 25-42-3 versus Colorado, 65-38-5 against in-state rival Kansas State and 23-91-3 all-time versus Nebraska.

Navy Rams/Midshipmen

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    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 11: Quarterback Trent Steelman #8 of the Army Black Knights is tackled during the game against the Navy Midshipmen on December 11, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    “Anchors Aweigh”

    “Stand Navy down the field,
    Sails set to the sky,
    We'll never change our course,
    So Army you steer shy - y - y - y
    Roll up the score Navy,
    Anchors Aweigh,
    Stand Navy down the field,
    And SINK the Army, SINK the Army grey!
    N...A...V...Y...Gooooo Navy!”

    Army versus Navy is another obvious rivalry, and really it’s no surprise that Navy calls out Army in its gridiron battle cry.

    The above is verse one of the original lyrics from the original 1906 fight song. It was first played at the Army-Navy game the same year and has been revised several times over the years.

    Navy is currently 55-49-7 versus Army.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 22: A general view of the North Carolina State Wolfpack lining up against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the game at Kenan Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    "The Red and White from State"

    “We're the Red and White from State
    And we know we are the best.
    A hand behind our back,
    We can take on all the rest.
    Come over the hill, Caroline.
    Devils
    and Deacs stand in line.
    The Red and White from N.C. State.
    Go State!”

    Though this song is popular and played at many NC State sporting events, it is not the official fight song of North Carolina State. The aptly titled “NC State Song” is the official song and was written in 1926.

    “The Red and White from State” calls out ACC and in-state rivals North Carolina (Caroline), Duke (Devils) and Wake Forest (Deacs).

    The Wolfpack is 31-63-6 versus North Carolina, 36-40-5 against Duke and 62-36-6 all-time versus Wake Forest.

Texas Longhorns

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    COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 26:  Right tackle Lee Grimes #74 of the Texas A&M Aggies confronts defensive end Sergio Kindle #2 of the Texas Longhorns in the first half at Kyle Field on November 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. The Longhorns defeated
    Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images

    “Texas Fight”

    “Texas Fight! Texas Fight!
    And it's goodbye to A & M.
    Texas Fight! Texas Fight!
    And we'll put over one more win.
    Texas Fight! Texas Fight!
    For it's Texas that we love best.
    Hail, Hail, the gang's all here,
    And it's goodbye to all the rest!”

    “Texas Fight” was actually written in response to the Longhorns' arch rival Texas A&M Aggies “Farmers Fight” song, which was sung to the tune of “Taps” (oft used in military funerals).

    “Texas Fight” is also sung to the tune of “Taps” but in a more upbeat, march-like fashion. 

    The words listed above represent the first verse of the song and very clearly and directly call out the Aggies and basically mock A&M's fight song.

    Texas is 75-37-5 all-time versus Texas A&M.

Texas A&M Aggies

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    AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Stephen McGee #7 of the Texas A&M Aggies throws against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium November 27, 2008 in Austin, Texas.  Texas won 49-9.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    “The Aggie War Hymn”

    “Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck!
    Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck!
    Good-bye to Texas University
    So long to the Orange and the White
    Good luck to the dear old Texas Aggies
    They are the boys that show the real old fight
    "The eyes of Texas are upon you..."
    That is the song they sing so well
    So good-bye to Texas University
    We're going to beat you all to—
    Chig-gar-roo-gar-rem
    Chig-gar-roo-gar-rem
    Rough Tough! Real Stuff! Texas A & M!

    Saw Varsity's horns off!
    Saw Varsity's horns off!
    Saw Varsity's horns off!
    SHORT! Ay!

    Varsity's horns are sawed off!
    Varsity's horns are sawed off!
    Varsity's horns are sawed off!
    SHORT! Ayyyyyy!”

    Officially adopted as the Texas A&M fight song in 1920, the “Aggie War Hymn” is actually a combination of several Aggie yells melded into a song.

    The “War Hymn” would seem to be the most completely dedicated to the idea of victory over a single opponent in all of fight song lore. Regardless, it was ranked the No. 1 college fight song by USA Today in 1997.

    For all the focus on beating the Longhorns, the Aggies are 37-75-5 all-time against Texas.

UCLA Bruins

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    PASADENA, CA - DECEMBER 04:  Malcolm Smith #6 of the USC Trojans tackles Nelson Rosario #83 of the UCLA Bruins during the first half at the Rose Bowl on December 4, 2010 in Pasadena, California. USC defeated UCLA 28-14.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    “Sons of Westwood”

    “We are Sons of Westwood
    And we hail to Blue and Gold
    True to thee our hearts will be
    Our love will not grow old,
    FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
    Bruins roam the hills of Westwood
    By the blue Pacific shores
    And if we chance to see
    A man from USC
    Every Bruin starts to roar.
    U...C...L...A...
    UCLA, fight, fight, fight!”

    “The Sons of Westwood” borrows its tune from Cal’s “Big C,” which was composed in 1913.

    Understandably, the unauthorized loan of its fight song tune miffed Cal’s musical and athletic community, and after a heated battle (in 1969) the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress ruled that “Big C” had never been copyrighted and so was property of the public domain.

    While “Sons of Westwood” is indeed the official fight song of UCLA, it is not played after a Bruin touchdown but instead is dialed up after a successful play. “The Mighty Bruins” is played after a score.

    Despite all the controversy with Cal, “Sons of Westwood” specifically calls out crosstown rival USC.

    UCLA is 28-45-7 all-time against USC.

Virginia Tech Hokies

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    “VPI Victory March”

    “You have seen the Hoyas tumble,
    You have made the Indians cry,
    And you know the Army mule
    Once took a kick at V. P. I.
    Worthy teams from Lexington
    Have fought with all their might;
    But now it's time to show the world
    That VPI can fight.”

    The “VPI Victory March,” composed in 1943, is traditionally played after the official Virginia Tech fight song, which is entitled “Tech Triumph.”

    The acronym “VPI” refers to “Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,” which is Virginia Tech’s full name.

    It is fairly easy to surmise that two of the teams referenced in the song are the Georgetown Hoyas and the Army Black Knights. Less obvious are the “Indians” and the team from “Lexington.”

    The “Indians” are more than likely the Catawba College Indians from Salisbury, North Carolina, who the Hokies faced regularly in the early 1940s before much of college football took a couple of years off for WWII.

    Though it might seem that the team “from Lexington” is Kentucky, it is in fact the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) that hails from Lexington, Virginia. VMI was also once a regular opponent of Virginia Tech.

    The “Victory March” was revised in 2000 to recognize Virginia Tech’s more modern rivals.

    The Hokies are 4-4-0 all-time versus Georgetown, 1-5-0 against Army, 49-25-5 versus VMI and 3-0-0 against Catawba.

Yale Bulldogs

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    CAMBRIDGE, MA - NOVEMBER 20:  Chuks Obi #97 of the Harvard Crimson tackles Alex Thomas #41 of the Yale Bulldogs on November 20, 2010 at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Harvard defeated Yale 28-21.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    “Down the Field”

    March, march on down the field,
    Fighting for Eli.
    Break through that crimson line,
    Their strength to defy.
    We'll give a long cheer for Eli's men.
    We're here to win again.
    Harvard's
    team may fight to the end,
    But Yale will win!”

    “Down the Field” is the official fight song of the Yale Bulldogs and predictably calls out Yale’s traditional rival Harvard.

    The Harvard-Yale rivalry began in 1875 and is the second oldest continuing rivalry after Princeton-Yale, which dates back to 1873.

    Yale leads the all-time series 65-54-8.