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Top 10 Marching Bands


Via js42 on flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamess/46009279

Over my years of being a fanatic of marching bands I have seen multiple variations from university to university. From LSU to Michigan, Miami to Miami, and so on, I will go through what I believe are the 10 best FBS collegiate marching bands. Each of these bands will be scored on a three way system of Pregame, Formations, and Sound. Without further adieu, let us begin!


Number 10: University of South Carolina’s Mighty Sound of the Southeast
Pregame: 7
Formations: 7
Sound: 7

Starting very strong, our first band on the list is the Mighty Sound of the Southeast! As the name eludes, their sound is phenomenal and their formations are also fun to watch. Their pregame, while a bit basic, has a few memorable moments such as the “Carolina” spell out and the palm tree formation which is just an amazing touch to their state flag. The only things I dislike are the uniforms which I feel don’t mesh well with the main colors of the university being Black and Garnet, but other than that they are a very worthy contender for the 10 spot on this list!


Number 9: Western Michigan University’s Bronco Marching Band
Pregame: 7.5
Formations: 7
Sound: 7.5

Next up on this list, formed in 1915, the Bronco Marching Band! While Western Michigan may have a turbulent football team, one thing is for certain and it’s that they have one hell of a band. Lighting up every Tuesday night football game at Waldo, they have the power and presence of a university band with three times the money and notoriety. Their pregame combines multiple traditional pieces and elements together, culminating in the playing of the famous Glenn Miller hit, I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo. Even after covid hitting the university extra hard, the Bronco Marching Band has been able to produce a monster sound year after year!


Number 8: Oregon State University’s Spirit and Sound of OSU
Pregame: 7.5
Formations: 7.5
Sound: 7.5

Oregon State, having the oldest marching band in the PAC-12 conference along with one of the oldest bands in the nation certainly doesn’t disappoint at all. Their pregame is very much a constant tradition that hasn’t really changed since they were Oregon Agricultural College. While their fight song may have been poached by Louisiana Tech and Eastern Michigan, you can definitely tell by just the sheer amount of power from the Spirit and Sound of OSU that you are listening to the original copy. Even though they may be in a bit of limbo going between stadiums because of Reser Stadium’s renovations, you can tell that the band hasn’t slowed down in the slightest.


Number 7: Purdue University’s All American Marching Band
Pregame: 7.5
Formations: 7.5
Sound: 8

Owner of the one and only, World's Largest Drum, the All American Marching Band has been a staple of the Big 10 along with being an originator for many traditions that we see in modern bands today. Ever seen a band with flags for all their conference members? Started at Purdue! Like hearing a band playing the visiting teams fight song? Started at Purdue! Heck, Purdue made the first ever contemporary marching band formation with the Block “P”! Without the AAMB we wouldn’t have many staple traditions that multiple modern bands carry on today and they are able to carry on their legacy wonderfully.


Number 6: Notre Dame’s Band of the Fighting Irish
Pregame: 8
Formations: 7.5
Sound: 8

Next up, the oldest marching band in America as a whole, the Band of the Fighting Irish, has been around longer than some universities on this list! With one of the most recognizable fight songs, their pregame is one of the most consistent and unchanged. Whether you love or hate the university itself, you cannot deny just how powerful of a tone the Band of the Fighting Irish has along with the many amazing formations that they form on their pregame and halftime spectaculars.


Number 5: The University Of California Cal Band
Pregame: 8.5
Formations:7.5
Sound: 8

One of the smaller bands on this list, the Cal Band goes to show how even if you’re a smaller band, you can have a powerful sound that overpowers bands much larger than your own. With their smaller band, it’s amazing to see just how they can make formations so large and sound so powerful. What astounds me is just how much they are able to do whilst being all completely student run! They have always been a staple of California and even when they can’t bring their full marching band to games, they still find a way to go to each and every game with their voluntary pep band, the Straw Hat Band! Just goes to show all the dedication of their organization to cheer on their team, even when their team is losing.


Number 4: THE University of Michigan, Michigan Marching Band
Pregame: 7
Formations: 8.5
Sound: 9

The Michigan Marching Band has always been a staple of the University of Michigan and in turn has been one of the most notable and iconic bands in the nation. With their iconic catchphrase of “Baaaaaand Take the Field!” you will always be able to know what band you are listening to before they even step foot on that field. They have always had one of the best sounds from any band along with one of the best drumlines as well. It’s hard to overpower the insane noise of the Big House is a very difficult thing to do, but the Michigan Marching Band has been able to consistently do so every weekend, even overpowering other crowds in visiting stadiums!


Number 3: Auburn University’s Auburn Band
Pregame: 8
Formations: 8.5
Sound: 9

The Auburn band has been a staple of the university along with just having an amazing presence. Similar to how the Michigan Marching band has its catchphrase, the Auburn band has the ability to make a crowd roar just by playing the beginning notes of its fanfare. With the sheer power of the band’s low brass section, it's easy to see how the Auburn band is a step above the rest of the bands in the state of Alabama and the SEC! Even in opposing venues you can tell just how much louder the Auburn band is compared to the home bands, which is rather difficult in the SEC.



Number 2: Michigan State University’s Spartan Marching Band
Pregame: 9
Formations: 9
Sound: 9.5

The state of Michigan really knows how to have amazing bands, but the best of them has to be the Spartan Marching Band! From the moment you see them marching to the Woodshed you can tell that there’s something different about them. They’re intense, they’re angry, and they’re most certainly gonna intimidate the heck out of almost every other fanbase! The intensity doesn’t stop at all once they get into the stadium themselves, it only gets more intense. They have the power to make any stadium their own. Even when their team is losing, you’d never be able to tell by listening to the band itself with how much energy they have every single night! There is just one band that I know of, that is just that tiny bit better than the Spartan Marching Band…



Number 1: Florida State University’s Marching Chiefs
Pregame: 9
Formations: 9.5
Sound: 10

The Marching Chiefs have it all, the formations, the uniforms, the pregame, and most certainly, the sound quality. They have consistently been one of the most powerful bands in the land, going back to when they were founded in 1939! With their 407 members, they’ve shown how you can explode with power over and over and be an integral part of the university as a whole for decades, and that’s in part due to one of the best pieces ever made for the band, the War Chant. Every single person in Bobby Bowden joins the band in singing/playing the War Chant which you can’t get anywhere else. Other programs from college to NFL may try to imitate it, but you can never replace the power of the Florida State University Marching Chiefs!

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