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B1G Ten Ballin': The Gridiron Squad

WNUR columnist Greg Mroz is back with Volume 11 of his weekly column, “B1G Ten Ballin’.” This week, Greg looks at Big Ten fight songs in an effort to determine which is the most intimidating.

Volume 11: How Much Fight Is In Our Song

As someone who grew up on the west coast, I was a huge Stanford Cardinal fan, but moreover, I was brought up to hate the most evil and diabolical school of all. That my friends is the University of Southern California. No matter what, I always found joy in seeing the men of troy fall off their horse, and to this day I still love it when they lose. I had never in my life though ever seen USC play in person, but that all changed when I made the journey down to Stanford to watch the then number 2 ranked USC take on the Cardinal. The game was amazing, as Stanford dominated the 2nd half and won by a final of 21-14. Yet, when I entered the stadium a half hour before game time, I was overwhelmed by a force, a force so loud, so powerful, and so aggravating that I could not take my eyes and ears off of it. It was the USC marching band playing their fight song, which is notoriously one of the most annoying pieces of music ever composed. I understood though why USC was so intimidating. Their fight song could scare opponents away. Now granted, its just a song (and the only one the USC band ever plays) but a fight song can say a lot about your team. Lets take a look at the fight songs of the Big Ten Conference and see which song brings the most fear into the hearts of opponents.

Illinois: Oskee Wow-Wow. I like fast paced music, and Oskee Wow-Wow fits that bill. Yet Illinois’ fight song really has no depth or charm to it. It gets people bright and cheery, but it doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of opponents. Oskee Wow-Wow also has a part to it that slows down and it is in my heart that I believe a fight song should never have any slow parts to it. That being said, Oskee Wow-Wow is one of the Big Ten’s best fight songs.

Indiana: Indiana Fight. This is not a long fight song, but it gets the job done. While IU football has never been anything to cheer about, Indiana has maybe one of the best marching bands I have ever heard. They are known as the Marching Hundred and they make anything sound good. The lyric at the end “For The Glory of Old IU” is just something that resonates pride. Indiana Fight is too short, which is why even though it’s a good song, its not one of the elite of the Big Ten.

Iowa: Iowa Fight Song. Ok, first of all, they were too lazy to name it. Second of all, it is way too repetitive. They say the words fight, cheer, and Iowa way too much. It is a loud fight song, and don’t get me wrong, I like loud. The Hawkeyes just don’t have a very deep and intriguing song.

Minnesota: Minnesota Rouser: This is a very catchy fight song that will strike fear into the hearts of opponents. I do not understand what Ski-U-Mah is, but I leave a more enriched and enlightened human being after having listened to Minnesota Rouser. The spell out at the end of the song sends chills down your spine. Isn’t that what a fight song is supposed to do? The Gophers have had this song for a long time, and there is no reason to ever deviate from Minnesota Rouser. One of the best in the Big Ten.

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers have two fight songs, “Hail Varsity” and “There is No Place Like Nebraska” both of which can be played at either time. “Hail Varsity” is too high pitched for my liking, which is why I will side with “There is No Place Like Nebraska” as the best of the two. Both have a good beat and the lyrics work well. They just are nothing special though.

Michigan State: The MSU Fight Song. This is a fight song that tells a story about the glory of Michigan State. The beat is great and the lyrics really do tell a story. It is a very intellectual fight song, which bodes well for you if you are trying to outsmart your opponent. Sparty does it right, and while I am no MSU fan, I do like their song.

Purdue: Hail Purdue. Hail Purdue is a song that seems conflicted. Part of it wants to be fast and part of it wants to be slow, and the mixing of the two just doesn’t flow well. Hail Purdue is frankly just not enjoyable to listen to, which is why I feel bad for Purdue students because they have to listen to that crap whenever Purdue scores, which these days is not that much.

Penn State: Fight On, State. This song sounds way too much like something you would hear on Broadway. This is more of a song you would ask your girl to dance to then you would hear at a football game. Its just not a very intimidating song, plain and simple.

Wisconsin: On Wisconsin. This is another song that is less than impressive. There are not nearly enough drums in this song and there are way too many horns and flutes and whatnot. Like the previous two, this is hard to like as well.

Ohio State: Across The Field. This song is fast paced, catchy, and just holds confidence. I have never liked Ohio State but I have always liked their fight song. It is to me one of the noblest fight songs in all of college football, and based upon the program, I would rank it inside my top 3 fight songs in the nation.

The number one and number two fight songs you might ask? Well Go U Northwestern is there, but our noble and prideful fight song is number 2 on my list, next to what I believe is the best fight song in college football, Michigan’s “The Victors”. Once you have heard Michigan’s fight song, nothing else will ever come close to what that sounds like. So fight on all ye young ones! We love our football, but we like our band music too.

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