15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (2023)

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CFB 24/7's "15 for '15" series rolls on with best fight songs. What's "best" in any type of music is extremely subjective, and we get that every fan's favorite fight song is the fight song of their favorite team. Still, these are easily identifiable even if you don't like the school involved.

» Podcast: DDFP talks best college fight songs

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (1)

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15. Wisconsin

The song: "On, Wisconsin!"
The lowdown: A mighty interesting back story, as it was written in 1909 as "Minnesota, Minnesota" because that school was sponsoring a contest looking for a new fight song. But it never was entered, and the lyrics were rewritten to spotlight Wisconsin instead. (With a different set of lyrics, it also is the official state song of Wisconsin.) Random fact: There was a version of the tune done by the Percy Faith orchestra in 1958 on an album called "Touchdown!" The album of college fight songs also includes versions of the tunes ranked 10th, seventh, sixth, fifth, third, second and first on our list. (For those who are so inclined, the album is available on CD.)

Morry Gash/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (2)

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14. Ohio State

The song: "Buckeye Battle Cry"
The lowdown: The song was written (by an Ohio University alum!) and entered in a contest in 1919, when Ohio State was looking for a new fight song. "Buckeye Battle Cry" won, and it is heard every time the Buckeyes score a TD. It includes the line "Eleven warriors, brave and bold," and perhaps the best Ohio State-centric website is called Elevenwarriors.com.

Jay LaPrete/Associated Press/AP2010

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (3)

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13. Georgia

The song: "Glory, Glory"
The lowdown: The song is sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and the school says a version of the tune was sung at games as far back as the 1890s. The current version of the song was arranged in 1915 by renowned pianist Hugh Hodgson; he later became a music professor at Georgia, and the university's school of music and its main concert hall are named in his honor.

John Bazemore/Associated Press

(Video) Top 15 College Football Fight Songs!
15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (4)

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12. Texas A&M

The song: "Aggie War Hymn"
The lowdown: As the story goes, an Aggies alum who was serving in France during World War I wrote the lyrics while in a foxhole; he called it "Good-bye to Texas University." The tune later was entered in a 1920 contest to pick a school fight song, and it won. To say this tune is sung with enthusiasm at A&M games is an understatement: At one point during the song, Aggies fans put their arms over their neighbors' shoulders and move back and forth in a sawing motion, meant to convey they are sawing off the horns of the Texas mascot; in the past, the upper west deck at Kyle Field actually swayed during that portion of the song, but a renovation of the stadium means that no longer will happen.

David J. Phillip/Associated Press/AP2010

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (5)

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11. Air Force

The song: "The Air Force Song"
The lowdown: The song was written in 1938, when the now-defunct Liberty magazine sponsored a contest looking for an official song for the Army Air Corps (the early name of the Air Force). The winner was chosen not by the magazine's editors, but rather by a group of Army Air Corps wives. The first line is a classic: "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder."

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (6)

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10. Alabama

The song: "Yea, Alabama"
The lowdown: The song was written in 1926 by an engineering student after the student newspaper said the school needed a fight song (the winner, incidentally, also happened to be the editor of the student newspaper, so ...). Interestingly, the song references two at-the-time rivals (Georgia Tech and Sewanee) that no longer are rivals. The song was used as the theme music for "The Bear Bryant Show." (Those who lived in ACC country in the early 1970s should recognize the tune, as a slowed-down version of the song was used in Pilot Life ads that aired during ACC basketball telecasts.)

Dave Martin/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (7)

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(Video) 15 Best College Football Fight Songs

9. Texas

The song: "Texas Fight"
The lowdown: The song was written "in an attempt to counteract" the songs and cheers of Texas A&M, the composer of "Texas Fight" has said. The music used in the first verse of "Texas Fight" is a speeded-up version of "Taps," which is played at dusk and at military funerals.

LM Otero/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (8)

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8. Tennessee

The song: "Rocky Top"
The lowdown: Attend any football game at Tennessee, and chances are you'll leave Neyland Stadium hating this song; to say it is played incessantly is like saying there is oxygen all around. Still, chances are you'll find yourself humming the tune a few hours later -- and maybe even a few weeks later. That's not surprising, considering the songwriters involved: the husband-wife team of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. Among their hits: "Love Hurts," "Bye Bye Love", "All I Have to Do is Dream" and "Wake Up, Little Susie." The story goes that it took the Bryants all of 10 minutes to write "Rocky Top" in 1967; the UT band began playing it in 1972 -- and we don't think they've ever stopped.

Wade Payne/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (9)

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7. Army

The song: "On, Brave Old Army Team"
The lowdown: The song was written in 1927 by Lt. Philip Egner, who oversaw the band and was a music teacher at the U.S. Military Academy; Egner was a composer of some renown. (The song title also was the title of a 1996 book that delved into a cheating scandal at the school in 1951 in which 83 cadets -- the majority of them football players -- were expelled.)

Hans Pennink/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (10)

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6. Georgia Tech

The song: "Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech"
The lowdown: The tune is appropriated from a Scottish drinking song (the song includes the line "like all the jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear"), and these particular lyrics first appeared in the 1908 Georgia Tech yearbook. As far as we can tell, it is the only fight song ever sung as a duo by leaders of the United States and Soviet Union (Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev warbled it during a 1959 summit meeting).

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (11)

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5. Navy

(Video) TOP 15 College Football Fight Songs!

The song: "Anchors Aweigh"
The lowdown: The song was written in 1906 by a Navy lieutenant who also oversaw the Naval Academy's band. Way cool is that the first time it was unveiled by the band was at the Army-Navy game that fall. And, yes, the lyrics do reference Army. (The song was used in the 1945 movie "Anchors Aweigh," a musical starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra that was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.)

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (12)

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4. Oklahoma

The song: "Boomer Sooner"
The lowdown: The lyrics were written in 1905 and applied to the Yale fight song. The lyrics are nothing special: If you can say "Boomer Sooner" seven times, you basically have recited the entire first verse. But the simple lyrics combined with the music make for a good combination -- and one you'll hear, oh, about 70 times at a typical Sooners home game.

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press/AP2010

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (13)

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3. USC

The song: "Fight On"
The lowdown: Here's another fight song that was written as part of a contest; it was composed in 1922 by a USC dental student. The USC band wears distinctive uniforms, and when they crank up "Fight On," it's quite a sight -- and sound. USC's athletic department website says that during World War II, American forces attacked an island in the Pacific held by the Japanese: "As the Americans stormed the beach, 'Fight On' blared from the deck of one of the transports. The U.S. men let out a tremendous roar and eventually won the island." Hey, nothing the Trojans do on the field can top that.

Ben Liebenberg/NFL

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (14)

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2. Michigan

The song: "The Victors"
The lowdown: The song was written in 1898 by a Michigan music major after the Wolverines upset then-rival Chicago. It first was played in public in 1899, by noted composer/conductor John Philip Sousa's band; Michigan's athletic department website says Sousa called it the "best college march ever written." The song was played during the funeral procession for former President Gerald Ford, who played football at Michigan in the 1930s.

Tony Ding/Associated Press

15 for '15: College football's best fight songs (15)

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1. Notre Dame

The song: "Victory March"
The lowdown: The song was composed in 1908 by two brothers who had attended Notre Dame. Michael Shea became a priest in New York; his brother, John, who played baseball at Notre Dame, became a state senator in Massachusetts. The song was performed in public for the first time on Easter Sunday in 1909, in the school's administration building. The song is used to good effect in the 1940 movie, "Knute Rockne, All American." In the film, right after Rockne gives the "Win one for the Gipper" speech, the song begins. Admit it: Even if you're not a Notre Dame fan, that moment always gets you.

(Video) Top 25 College Football Fight Songs - All Sports Central

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