Lists

Ranking the Best and Worst Big 12 Fight Songs

When it comes to fight songs, the Big 12 lacks an undisputed classic. There is no nationally recognized rival to the instantly familiar and rousing battle cries of Notre Dame, Michigan or the Naval Academy.

And before we start ranking these songs, we will caveat this by admitting that, as a fourth-generation Longhorn (albeit the first to flunk out and never return), our judgment is potentially clouded by fan bias on three songs: Oklahoma's "Boomer Sooner," A&M's "Aggie War Hymn" and "Texas Fight."

With that out of the way, here we go:

The Worst

Easily Kansas State's "Wildcat Victory." Its melody is predictable and generic, and a full 20 percent of the lyrics are variations of the word "fight." As a quasi-official song, K-State's band also plays "Wabash Cannonball," which is a fantastic song to begin with. What's more, K-State's band has a cool arrangement, on which the band's drum section really shines. If the Wildcats wanted emulate their 1990s football team and vault from the cellar to the summit, they should come up with some new words and adopt "Wabash Cannonball" as their official fight song.

You Be the Judge

We'll give it up for Oklahoma's "Boomer Sooner." It's catchy, but so is swine flu. Plus, it's a Frankenstein monster of a fight song. Parts of it were salvaged from Yale's "Boola Boola," and others from North Carolina's "I'm a Tarheel Born." But yeah, even as a Longhorn, we catch ourselves humming it from time to time. Then we go take a shower...

The "Aggie War Hymn" is also a recycled melody, this one from the ragtime hit "Goodbye My Coney Island Baby." There's a certain majesty to its languid pace. There, we said something unqualifiedly nice about it. To tell the truth, it might just be the best in theconference, but our ancestors would stop protecting me if I committed that to print.

"Texas Fight" is "Taps" sped up. we didn't know that until about two years ago, and we didn't know until a few minutes ago that it was written as a response to an Aggie anthem called "Farmers Fight," which also recycled "Taps." At any rate, we still love this song. It's as catchy as "Boomer Sooner," only not evil.

Better Ones

We like Tech and Oklahoma State for acknowledging regionalism. Tech's "Matador Song" has a bit of a Spanish tinge which goes well with the flying tortillas in the Lubbock night, while the Cowboys' "Ride 'Em Cowboy" sounds like a stampede of brass, woodwinds and percussion.

The Best

Maybe because we were pretty unfamiliar with it, we're going with Kansas's "I'm a Jayhawk." It's a great slice of homespun Americana: The melody - especially the chorus -- reminds us of Stephen Collins Foster, the composer was a guy by the name of Dumpy Bowles and the lyrics insult seven other colleges when they are not waxing impressively arcane. Indeed, apparently they are now so strange nobody sings them - instead, Jayhawk fans clap along. Cool as it is, their cross-state rivals have a pop song as their No. 2: Maybe the Jayhawks could adopt "Carry On Wayward Son" from that other Kansas band as their No. 2...

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John Nova Lomax
Contact: John Nova Lomax