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"What do you mean you're here for the game?! We all came to hear the marching band's rendition of Living Like a Refugee! Killer tuba solo." These bands were chosen based on factors such as marching tradition, reputation, excitement, fan support, intensity, exposure, marching style, musicality, and enthusiasm by band members and staff. Used with permission from CollegeSports-Fans.com.

List produced by the Experts

  • 1. Ohio University (Athens, OH): The Most Exciting Band in the Land, Ohio University Marching 110 Located just 90 minutes or so east of Ohio State University sits Athens, Ohio, and the picturesque campus of Ohio University, home to the self-proclaimed "Most Exciting Band in the Land," the Ohio University Marching 110. The OUMB has a rich tradition dating back to 1923, but the Marching 110 was born in 1967 when Gene Thrailkill took over as band director and turned the band into the high-energy dance band that it is today. The Marching 110's shows change at every home game and traditionally include standard marching and playing as well as a "dance chart" that typically a contemporary rock, pop, or R&B tune which features an extensive drum break in the middle featuring a dance routine performed by the band. The Marching 110 has toured the United States and abroad under the direction of Dr. Richard Suk, most recently performing in Dublin, Ireland, and Rome, Italy in the spring of 2013. The band's moniker to be "Better Than The Best Ever" was even adopted by the University in 2012 as their theme for that year's Homecoming Celebration to honor former director Ronald P. Socciarelli who passed away in February of the same year. As a salute to the deep traditions and friendships forged within the organization, over 600 alumni returned that October to march with the current band (now approaching 250 members in size) creating one of the most impressive sights ever seen on a football field. Yes, connect me!
  • 2. Ohio State University — Columbus (Columbus, OH): The Best Damn Band in the Land TBDBITL. Those seven letters have represented the cream of the crop in collegiate marching bands for over 100 years. Formed in 1878 the Ohio State University Marching Band has become one of the most widely recognizable bands in the country, largely in part to their famous "Script Ohio" performed at every pregame performance, and "Hang On Sloopy," which has become the official state song of Ohio. Despite a controversial move to fire band director Jonathan Waters prior to the start of the 2014 football season, TBDBITL continues to dazzle audiences throughout the country and proved that they will not miss a beat, debuting a show celebrating the music of television at the start of the current football season. Gaining entry to the prestigious organization is a difficult process, and auditions are long and hard, making the lucky 225 who are chosen to be members of TBDBITL some of the most envied musicians in all of college bands. The OSU band combined a military-style uniform with a chair-step marching style and highly complex drill moves to create a show that is both very entertaining, and extremely precise in nature. In 2013 the band wowed crowds with a tribute to Michael Jackson that featured the group "moonwalking" in unison in the formation of the late King of Pop. The band also performed a show in which they paid tribute to Hollywood and created both a flying Superman and a walking T-Rex on the field. Both performances garnered millions of hits on YouTube and have perhaps turned another generation onto the rich traditions of one of the most hard-working bands in the country. Yes, connect me!
  • 3. University of Michigan — Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI): Michigan Marching Band The Michigan Marching Band has the distinction of being able to perform one of the most, if not the most widely recognizable fight songs in all of the country at every Michigan football game. Rich in tradition, the Michigan Marching Band was actually the first to perform the traditional "Script Ohio" for which their primary rival, The Ohio State University Marching Band, is known for. Their signature high-energy performances are highlighted by the traditional back-bend of their drum major and the playing of "The Victors." In a tradition dating back to 1985, the Otis Redding hit "Can't Turn You Loose" is played once per season in a special formation which brings the crowd to their feet every time.
  • 4. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA): The Spirit of Troy, The USC Trojan Marching Band There isn't much that the self-proclaimed "Greatest Marching Band in the History of the Universe" hasn't done, and it is because of that that the band has not received any ridicule for making such a ridiculously pompous proclamation. Besides being featured on Jeopardy a number of times, the Trojan Marching Band is the only collegiate marching band to hold two Platinum Albums certified by the RIAA, and has performed with numerous rock artists such as Fleetwood Mac (with whom they were awarded the platinum albums for "Tusk" and "The Dance"), Radiohead and The Offspring, and R&B and hip-hop acts such as Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Outkast, and George Clinton. The band has even appeared as other marching bands in movies, playing the role of Alabama's band in Forest Gump and the Rydell High School band in Grease 2. Beyond the national stage, the band still faithfully performs at every USC home game and their high-energy and sprit-driven performances get the mighty Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum up and moving every time they hit the field.
  • 5. The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX): The Showband of the Southwest, The University of Texas Longhorn Band The Longhorn Band is one of the largest college marching bands in the country at more than 350 members strong. The band is also one of the oldest in the country, founded in 1900. The Longhorn Band performs a new show for each of their home football games throughout the season and is unique in that it prepares both "traditional" shows featuring signature music and drill, and "nontraditional" shows that feature contemporary music and a modern marching style. Other traditions include the band's famous "Script Texas"; "Big Bertha," the world's largest bass drum; and the "Wall to Wall" formation that features the band encompassing the entire football field from end-zone to end-zone and sideline to sideline. Besides a performance at Super Bowl VIII in Houston, Texas, the band has had the honor of performing at the presidential inaugurations of Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Regan, George H.W. Bush, and both inauguration ceremonies for George W. Bush. Yes, connect me!
  • 6. Jackson State University (Jackson, MS): The Sonic Boom of the South Perhaps best known for their fast-paced "Tiger Run On" entrance, the Sonic Boom of the South is a high-energy show band which has been showcased throughout the country. Much like Southern, Jackson State uses flashy horn moves and high-step marching combined with a Motown playing-style and high-energy dance-moves which gets audiences out of their seats and dancing along with every performance. The band has been showcased at many NFL football events and was even featured in EA Sports "NCAA Football 2005" video game, providing the theme music for the opening segment. The Sonic Boom of the South's performances are often so entertaining, that they draw standing ovations from rival schools as well as their home crowd.
  • 7. University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (Champaign, IL): Marching Illini One of the largest collegiate marching bands in the country at more than 350 members, the Marching Illini perform in a more conservative style than some of their Big Ten counterparts, but that doesn't make their performances any less entertaining. Along with their intricate performances at all Illinois home games, the band traditionally travels to other Big Ten schools each year, and performs an annual indoor concert at the Assembly Hall on campus featuring lighting effects, individual section performances, and even comedic routines.
  • 8. Texas A&M University — College Station (College Station, TX): Fightin' Texas Aggie Band While not as flashy as Southern or Tennessee, Texas A&M is still a mighty impressive marching unit and is the largest military-style marching band in the world. At over 400 members strong, the band is actually a military unit, operating as part of the Corps of Cadets and is run in military fashion with band members eating meals and boarding together. This helps to create a strong bond amongst its members and gives the group a unique espirit de corps. The Fightin' Aggie Band combines highly technical marching maneuvers with traditional-style music, a combination that has landed them several invitations to perform at national parades and other high-profile events such as presidential and gubernatorial inauguration ceremonies.
  • 9. University of Tennessee at Knoxville (Knoxville, TN): Tennessee Pride of the Southland Band One of the nation's oldest continuous band programs, the Tennessee Pride continues to be one of the most impressive bands in the United States. The band's rendition of "Rocky Top" has become a State Song and their "Power T" formation during the pre-game performance makes the band easily as recognizable as their highly successful football program. The band has performed at Presidential Inaugurations and traveled to Ireland to perform in the Saint Patrick's Day parade in 2007.
  • 10. Southern University and A&M College (Baton Rouge, LA): Southern University Human Jukebox One of the best recognized and most renowned marching bands in the country, Southern University's Human Jukebox is a high-energy dance band that showcases high-step marching routines combined with flashy horn flares and snappy turns which create an instant frenzy at any of their performances. Combine those elements with a modern selection of music and you have an instant hit with any crowd. The band receives national recognition annually during the Southern vs. Grambling football game which is broadcast on national television including the infamous "Battle of the Bands" between Southern and Grambling. The Human Jukebox has been invited to perform in the annual Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California, Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies, and has been the halftime entertainment for four Super Bowls.
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Source: The Best College Marching Bands, 2014. CollegeSports-Fans.com. View original here. Used with permission.

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