College Football 2011: Ohio State and the 25 Best Damn Bands in the Land
What gets fans more amped up for game time than the martial airs of the marching band?
While some of these groups are from well-known schools, some credit was given to smaller schools with incredible bands.
So whether you enjoy the cutting edge swagger of the drumline, or the traditional strains of marching tunes, you will find the band for you within these pages.
25. UConn Marching Band
Sometimes the bands from way up north can be forgotten.
But seriously, who wants to play a tuba when it's 35 degrees outside?
Give a little credit.
The UConn band has been around forever, but the Huskies joined the FBS in 2003, so they are just becoming acquainted with the national stage.
And they play well with others.
This video is from a performance by the band featuring members of the West Virginia Band as well.
24. Purdue All-American Marching Band
Purdue mixes the same elements of modern flair with traditional style that Michigan does, but they have several other claims to fame.
Besides being the first band to break from the block into another formation, Purdue was also to play the opposing team's fight song and carry the conference team's colors.
On top of that, it is Purdue, not Texas, that can lay claim to the world's biggest bass drum...
23. Michigan Marching Band
John Philips Sousa said their fight song was the best, and he was definitely the expert on marching music.
The MMB blends the elements of the modern drumline with the tradition of a more staid, refined marching band.
Before the start of each home game, the MMB parades down Hoover and Greene streets, and stops to play "The Victors" in the midst of tailgaters.
They then proceed on into the biggest college football venue in the U. S., to greet those in attendance with the venerable strains of "Varsity," "The Victors" and "Let's Go Blue."
22. "The Marching Southerners"
The Jacksonville State University Band is actually officially "The Southerners," while their dancing counterparts are known as "The Marching Ballerinas."
Their unique departure from block formations and precision marching makes them stand out from most other groups visually, while their orchestral sound is different than what most bands perform.
21. Cal Band
Cal has one of the few student-run bands in the country, but that does not detract from the quality of their play.
From their Friday night performances at Sproul Plaza, to their performances after the game, home game weekends are packed full of band actions.
The band has played many great pieces, but the ones they play the most are "Big C" and "Hail to California."
With their unique, high-stepping style and great tradition, the Cal band makes this top 25 list easily.
20. North Carolina A&T "Marching Machine"
Their chair-stepping style and blue and gold swagger earn A&T a place on this list.
From being scheduled to take part in the Macy's Day parade in 2012, to playing at A&T football games, this band has the sound and moves to get you out of your seat.
This statement from their website describes them best:
Marching orders have been given and once the Machine has been released, there is no going back. The Marching Aggies are a well oiled and refined mechanism that is fueled and ready for the task ahead. Every member has a piece of the machine in them, making for an enthusiastic display of Aggie Pride with each performance. Not just men, but a machine... is coming to a stadium near you. Engine revamped and prepared to roll over anything in the way. Armed with musicianship, talent, and showmanship, get ready to meet the evolution of the Machine.
19. Stanford University Marching Band
Although actually a "scatter" band, this student-run group makes news all the time.
From making fun of nuns at Notre Dame, to being banned from the state of Oregon for eleven years, to a spoof of LeBron James at the 2011 Orange Bowl, the "Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band" leads the world in controversial moves by band members.
While you may not agree with the antics, and sometimes the disrespectful nature of their behavior, you have to give them points for fresh, new shows...
Creativity counts, right?
18. SCSU "Marching 101"
Just watch the video.
This group can hang with anyone, any day, in any competition.
17. University of Georgia Marching Band
The Redcoat Marching Band became the first SEC school to win the Sudler Trophy back in 2000, and they also claim the honor of first marching band to tour the country of China.
Of note is the fact that in its 106 year history, it is reported to have only had eight directors.
16. Southern University "Human Jukebox"
The Grambling vs. Southern annual meeting is the best place to catch this group in action, but they are a great act anytime.
To their credit, when the band was involved in a brawl with members of the Prairie View A&M Band, the Southern Band honored the two-game suspension that was handed down.
Come on, any band that has the chops to brawl for their school should make this list.
15. Wisconsin Marching Band
There is just nothing quite like the "5th Quarter."
While the Badger band performs all through gameday, win or lose, after the game, they perform on the field.
Staples such as "On Wisconsin," "Varsity" and "You've Said It All," and fun pieces such as "Space Badgers" and the "Chicken Dance" entertain fans and visitors alike after each game.
14. The "Marching Yellow Jackets"
The "Ramblin' Wreck" leads the band onto the field, and the fun starts.
From their great tradition of "RAT" caps, to "Tech Tower," this band performs with high energy and precision found in few others.
Plus, the vitriolic hatred of in-state rival Georgia only adds to the already extremely high energy during their annual bout.
13. West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band
The "Pride of West Virginia" starts every home game with the drumline entering the stadium and performing the "Boogie" cadence.
From the outline of the state to "Flying WV," the concentric circles and the playing of "Simple Gifts," this group is stellar in every aspect and absolutely deserves a spot on this list.
12. "Pride of the Southland"
Any band that plays "Rocky Top" 50 times on game day deserves some credit.
But seriously, you would be hard pressed to find a group that brings more to the table.
For the record, "Down the Field" is actually Tennessee's fight song, and is an incredible piece to hear.
The Pride's Flower, Star and Circle Drills are all marvels of complex band formations.
11. Fightin' Texas Aggie Band
This band not only plays together, they eat and live together as a military unit.
Claiming to be the largest military band in the world, the band has 400-plus members.
As a military band, they play only traditional marches, but this does nothing to detract from the complexity of their maneuvers or the quality of their performance.
10."Pride of the Mountains" Marching Band
This energetic group from Western Carolina are absolutely thrilling to watch.
What they sometimes lack in precision lines and perfect timing, they make up for with their exuberance and innovations.
One of their great traditions is having the band lay down all instruments just prior to the singing of the national anthem, to sing the Alma Mater.
9. LSU "Golden Band from Tigerland"
LSU has one of the greatest night game experiences in the country.
Couple that with the "Tiger Band," and you have a rockin' experience.
Throw in the "Golden Girls," the color-guard and "Fight for LSU" and you have a recipe for greatness.
8. Florida A&M "Marching 100"
FAMU has a claim to fame.
And not only can they blow the roof out with performances, check out this motto created by the revered late Dr. William Foster.
- Highest Quality of CHARACTER
- Achievement in ACADEMICS
- Attainment in LEADERSHIP
- Perfection in MUSICIANSHIP
- Precision in MARCHING
- Dedication to SERVICE
7. The Band of the Fighting Irish
Outside of the long history and tradition of this group (they have been around since 1846), Notre Dame has some great gameday traditions to go with solid play and marching steps.
The spelling of "Irish" before the game and the monogram "ND" at halftime are particularly impressive, while hearing "Victory Clog" and "Victory March" after every touchdown can be infectious.
Also of note, the band is led by the "Irish Guard," a group of precision marchers, made even more impressive by their height, each one is required to be at least 6'2".
6. Jackson State "Sonic Boom of the South"
Even with the suspensions of band members for hazing incidents, Jackson State's marching band remains one of the most innovative, cutting edge groups in the country.
"Get Ready" is the band's theme song, while "Tiger Run-On" is a fast paced number that always brings fans to their feet.
5. USC "Spirit of Troy"
Confidence is something they do not lack...
The band, self-labeled "The Greatest Marching Band in the History of the Universe," has a certain panache and flair that many don't bring to the table.
A part of this band has performed at every USC game, home or away, since 1987.
And if you have a thing for guys wearing armor and riding a horse, they have one of those who travels with the team as well...
4. University of Texas Marching Band
While Purdue has the world's largest bass drum, Texas probably has the most famous.
"Big Bertha" rolls out with the band just prior to every home game.
To top it all off, there is not much in this world that can inspire like hearing "The Eyes of Texas."
3. Ohio University "Marching 110"
These people are good...
Their unique style and intense beats are found few other places in the country, while their penchant for stirring up fans of a less-than-mediocre football team is admirable.
From "Funk," "Jimbo" and "Two Bucks" on the drumline to "Cheer" and "Light Up" by the entire band, this is one group that keeps the crowd pumped up.
2. Ohio State Marching Band
Script Ohio is a flawless act played out to perfection by the participants of this band.
While they have not changed much over the last fifty or so years, the band still remains an influence on marching bands across the country, and possibly the best band in the Big Ten.
On top of all that, "TBDBITL" (The Best Damn Band in the Land) is one of the few remaining all-brass and percussion bands in the country.
At least the drum major has not sold band equipment for tattoos...we think.
What? Tressel lied about that too?!
Where does it stop?
1. University of North Texas "Green Brigade"
They may have an unfair advantage, but the Green Brigade is great when it comes to musical acumen.
UNT is home to the largest school of music in the country, and it is obvious when the band plays.
Their rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" is a must see.