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HOT TAKE TUESDAY: Actually, USF’s Fight Song Is #Bad

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It’s so, so bad. Impossibly bad. Inconceivably bad.

Cincinnati v South Florida

(Before I get started, this is a hot take, but it is absolutely not a HOT take. I’m not going in on the Herd of Thunder or anyone who has ever been in it. I was in my high school marching band, and I could have joined HOT at the very beginning. But I was way too lazy. I wanted to be a regular fan at football games and tailgate and act like an idiot. Also I didn’t ever want to wear all that polyester again. You all have my eternal respect.)

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I have to get this off my chest. USF has a supremely awful fight song.

The lyrics are just terrible. You can tell they were written back when USF didn't play sports at all. "USF Bulls are we"? What the hell is that? I have a feeling the opening words used to be "Golden Brahmans are we," but either way it's a cringe-inducing line. No one's ever going to want to learn the words, let alone sing it in public, with an opener like that.

The rest of the words are lame too. "Our beacon lighted and noble to see"? To who? For what? How does this inspire us to win a football game? This line doesn't even make sense. How can something be noble to see?

"We hold our standard upright and free"? For the 99.999% of people who don't know what a standard is here, it's a ceremonial flag. You know what else holds our standard upright and free? A flagpole. Pointless line. And you could have called it a banner and saved a lot of confusion.

"We will win the victory?" You can't win a victory! THOSE ARE SYNONYMS YO.

So the words are trash. What about the music?

Sorry to say, also trash.

The music didn't used to be this bad. Before USF had a football team, the song was a straight-ahead march meant to be played as fast as possible, with trombone smears and a wild bass line. It was slightly raunchy and it had some ooom-pa in it, like a demented German drinking song. I enjoyed it very much.

Then the Herd of Thunder debuted. Obviously they couldn't go out there and sound like the house band at a burlesque theater, so the fight song had to be rearranged. They surely meant to just clean it up, but they gave it a lobotomy instead.

I'm going to get all music theory nerd on you here for a minute. Think of all the classic fight songs in college sports, or all the fight songs that are musically interesting. What makes the songs so memorable?

  • They all have strong melodies and countermelodies.
  • There are funky chord progressions.
  • The song carries all the way through, with no gaps.

USF's fight song doesn't have any of these. There’s no countermelody at all. You can see the next chord coming a mile away. And there are some flourishes in our fight song, but no one can ever hear the woodwinds playing them, so they might as well not even be there.

Now compare the USF fight song to some other fight songs you hear often. Florida's fight song has all three.

FSU's fight song almost has all three. Just needs a little more countermelody.

Miami's fight song has two out of three.

Even C.'s fight song, which is basically a ripoff of the second part of Sousa's Liberty Bell March, nearly hits all three.

When you listen to the rest of USF's stand music, the fight song's badness is inexplicable. The Bull (or "Number 8" for us old-timers) is fantastic. It blows the fight song out of the water.

The alma mater is another great song. Get a choir in and it sounds even better.

Even though we don't hear it often, the March Victorious is good too. (Apparently no one records it often, either. This is the best I could find.)

But the USF fight song is the worst, and short of tearing it down and starting all over again, which will never happen, it will always be that way.