Posted by Walter
Welcome to traditions week here at the 323. This week is dedicated to the things that make college football great. It's about your fight song, or you mascot or all the other little things, big and small, that make college football different from professional sports. Different from pretty much anything else in the american sports universe. College football is in your blood. It's not a sport for passive viewers, but for people who love tradition, and rivalry, and a sense of community and history in sports. This week at the 323 is about all those things. We hope you enjoy.
1) Boomer Sooner - University of Oklahoma
The fight song to end all fight songs. Short, simple, and damn if it doesn't get you fired up. The entire lyrics are made up of about 10 different words, but I'll be damned if I don't get goosebumps listening to the line: "I'm a Sooner born and bred, and when I die I'll be a Sooner dead!" Now those are some loyal fans.
2) The Eyes of Texas - The University of Texas
Although not technically the Longhorns' fight song (it's actually their alma mater), it is frequently played at football games by the marching band and serves the same purpose. The song has become such a strong intimidator for the Longhorns that the great Bear Bryant used to refuse to bring his players out onto the field until the Longhorn band had finished playing the Eyes of Texas.
3) The Victors - The University of Michigan
You simply cannot have a list of great fight songs without The Victors. Often considered the most famous fight song of all time, my favorite anecdote about The Victors is that former President Gerald Ford (an all-american center for the Wolverines) often had the Naval Band play the song prior to state events in lieu of Hail to the Chief. In fact, that alone is enough to push this song way up this list.
4) Fight On - The University of Southern California
My favorite lyrics of any fight song, (how can you not love the opening line: "Fight on for ol' SC. Our men fight on, for victory."), played by the best named band in all of college football (The Spirit of Troy). This song has been so inspirational that the United States actually used it to fire up combat bound troops during World War II. It was close between "Fight On" and "The Victors" but having been at the Rose Bowl rooting hard for Michigan, Frazier refused to let USC triumph in this arena. Also, "The Victors" is the one song that virtually everyone knows the lyrics to.
5) Notre Dame Victory March - The University of Notre Dame
Hand in hand with The Victors as the most famous college fight song, the Notre Dame Victory March stands alone as the most copied and referenced fight song of all time. I mean who doesn't think of movies like Rudy and Airplane when they hear this song?
6) Rocky Top - The University of Tennessee
Another song that is not technically an official fight song, but like The Eyes of Texas it is so closely associated with the school that the distinction is irrelevant. Rocky Top is also the official state song of Tennessee, and has been covered by famous musicians like Phish and Dolly Parton. Still, my favorite version is sung by the crowd and Neyland Stadium.
7) The Aggie War Hymn - Texas A & M University
Just take a listen and tell me this isn't one of the top 10 fight songs in the country!
8) Hail West Virginia - The University of West Virginia
While this song is not nearly as well known as some of the others on this list, that has nothing to do with the song itself, and everything to do with the Mountaineers lack of football tradition. With Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense on board to stay, here's to hoping we hear a lot more of this outstanding fight song (especially after touchdowns!).
9) For Boston - Boston College
OK, clearly a little favoritism is in play here, but I actually do think that this is the most underrated fight song in the country. Also, it gets bonus points for being the only fight song to be covered by a major Punk Rock band (the Dropkick Murphys performed just an awesome version of this song on their third studio album).
10) Anchors Aweigh - The United States Naval Academy
The first time this song was played was at the 1906 Army-Navy football game. Perhaps not so coincidentally, that game was the first time Navy ever won the matchup (which they did 10-0). Clearly one of the most well known tunes of all time, the lyrics have been rewritten several times, but the song remains an all time classic.
Special Mention -
The University of Virginia - The Cavalier Song and Good Old Song
Frazier wouldn't be a real Hoo if he didn't shout out his beloved alma mater here. The Cavalier Song is the fight song played when the team comes storming onto the field. Good Old Song is the alma mater played after every Virginia score (not enough these days) and game. Yes, it's to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne" but it's a great song, and the mellow mood gives way to the rousing "wahoowa" cheer at the end. (Oh, and for the love of god, listen to the Pep Band version. Even with all Groh's mediocrity and his failure to meet expectations, it's his killing of the fun, rowdy, good-times Pep Band for a stodgy, unoriginal and boring Marching Band that has been his biggest catastrophe.) Go Hoos!