13 Best College Fight Songs

13 Best College Fight Songs

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College football is the perfect venue for giving students reason to cheer on behalf of their university. Basketball, although popular, cannot rival a stadium packed with 50,000 or more screaming fans cheering on the home team.

Easily one of the most recognizable fight or victory songs is the Notre Dame Victory March. That tune has been around for more than a century, becoming nationally known in the 1940 Hollywood classic, “Knute Rockne, All American.” As the “win one for the Gipper” speech drew to an end, the Victory March swells and the rest is history.[1]

The Victory March is one of several Notre Dame fight songs and has itself been updated and shortened slightly and is now 57 seconds long. Four seconds may have been trimmed from the original, but the song remains basically the same.[2]

Hundreds of schools have their fight and/or victory songs, but time and room limits our list to what just may be the 13 best songs out there.

1. United States Naval Academy — Navy has learned how to win again, therefore “Anchors Aweigh” is played much more frequently these days. Like the Notre Dame tune, the Midshipmen song is recognized and has a century of history behind it, a tune first played publicly at the 1906 Army-Navy game.[3]

2. Yale — There was a time when the schools now comprising the Ivy League played for the national championship. Harvard v. Yale is a class match up (The Game), one that hasn’t diminished through the years despite the refocus of college athletics on the Ivy level. Yale’s “Down the Field” is played at the end of every game while “Bulldog” is played following a Yale touchdown.

3. USC — The University of Southern California uses “Tribute to Troy,” but also makes use of catchy modern terms including “Tusk” and “All Right Now” to stir up the fans. UCLA fans, eat your hearts out!

4. Memphis — The school’s fight song is known to fans, but “Eye of the Tiger” is recognized widely, a 1982 “Survivor” chart topper. Sometimes the classics get usurped by the contemporaries.

5. Rutgers — “On the Banks of the Old Raritan” may just be the oldest song of its kind, written in 1876, seven years after Rutgers met Princeton in the first ever college football game. However, “The Bells Must Ring” seems favored as the song to encourage the Scarlet Knights in battle.

6. Florida State — Some schools know how to stir up the crowds and the Florida State Seminoles are no exception. “War Chant” gets the crowd “chopping” and is meant to strike fear into FSU opponents. With more than 400 members, the FSU Marching Chiefs is the largest collegiate band in the world.

7. Nebraska — “Mr. Touchdown USA” may seem to be the Cornhusker fight song, but that’s because you’ll hear it played frequently as Nebraska puts up 50 points or more against an opponent. “There Is No Place Like Nebraska” is the tune unique to this Big 12 turned Big Ten (Twelve) school.

8. United States Military Academy — Like Navy, Army has a rich football tradition. This year, they’re in every game and may go bowling for the first time in ages. “On, Brave Old Army Team” celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2010, cheering on the black, gray and gold to victory.[4]

9. Alabama — Besides the alma mater tune, you’ll hear the Crimson Tide “Million Dollar Band” play “Rammer Jammer (Hey Vols)” when they take on Tennessee. “Yea, Alabama” is the official fight song while “Sweet Home Alabama” is left to being played over the PA.

10. Michigan — Okay, “The Victors” is easily one of the most recognized fight songs in all of college football, a majestic tribute to one of the most victorious gridiron programs. Written in 1898, the song has been shaking The Big House and striking fear into opponents since.[5]

11. United States Air Force Academy — No surprise that “Into the Wild Blue Yonder” is the Air Force tune, titled as “The Army Air Corps” when it came out in 1939. The song’s official name is “The U.S. Air Force,” but you’ll be forgiven if you’re hung up on the yonder thing as I am.[6]

12. Boston College — Some credit Boston College with starting the parade of fight songs, though Rutgers faithful will contend otherwise. In any case, the Eagles’ “For Boston” has been around since 1885 and is worthy of a mention.

13. Bowling Green — This “other” school from the state of Ohio officially uses “Forward Falcons,” but when it comes to stirring up the crowd, “Aye Ziggy Zoomba” is a classic. Play it fast and you’ll get the fans (or the band) to pass out. Fun stuff!

Did your school miss our “Fab 13” list? If so, feel free to add your information or comments.

References

[1] American Rhetoric: Knute Rockne: All American (MP3 speech)

[2] University of Notre Dame: Notre Dame Victory March

[3] The US Navy: Anchors Aweigh

[4] WestPoint.org: On, Brave Old Army Team

[5] The Michigan Daily: “The Victors!” turns 100 years old

[6] Hill Air Force Base: History of the U.S. Air Force Song

Resources

Fight Music: NCAA College Football Fight Songs Music

Photo Credit: Gerald G

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