8 powerhouse college football programs with elite marching bands

 

Since 1936, the Associated Press has ranked college football programs across the country. Recently, the AP released a list of the top 25 teams over the last 80 years. Analysts created the list by taking into account the number of times a team made the weekly top-25 AP poll as well as the amount of No. 1 rankings and AP Championships. Around the same time, USA Today compiled a list of the 10 best bands in college football.

Although some college football fans may want to make for the restrooms or concession stands during halftime, it's often a good idea to remain in your seat for the show. In fact, some of the best college football programs feature the best marching bands at halftime. Here are eight universities with dominant football teams and talented marching bands:

1. USC
Although Los Angeles doesn't always have an NFL team, football has always had a home at the University of Southern California. The Coliseum in downtown L.A. has been the home stadium of both tremendous football teams and outstanding marching bands. The Trojans have won AP Championships 5 times already, and the program has been one of the best in recent years. During Pete Carroll's time as head coach, the team earned the No. 1 ranking 42 times. Known as the Spirit of Troy, the marching band is no slouch either. It has performed in films and with rock bands, and has even been featured along actor and comedian, Will Ferrell.

2. Ohio State University

"OSU's marching band dots the 'i' in Ohio."

As Buckeye fans will be the first to tell you, there is a reason that the school is known as "The Ohio State University." In addition to a football program that has earned the No. 1 spot in the AP's top-25 of all time poll, the university boasts one of best bands in college football. Over the years, different band members have performed choreography where "Ohio" is spelled out in script and OSU's marching band dots the "i" in Ohio. In 2011, they put on a show called "The Best Damn Band in the Land's Michael Jackson" halftime tribute. Since then, the video has been viewed on YouTube more than 11 million times.

3. Penn State
Despite all of the recent controversy at Penn State University, Happy Valley is home to a top football program as well as an outstanding band. Although the marching band was formed back in 1899, the "Blue Band" wasn't always completely blue. According to the university, most of the band members actually wore brown marching band uniforms. The blue uniforms were reserved for the members of the traveling marching band.

4. Michigan
When head coach Bo Schembechler was at the helm of the Wolverines' program in the 1970s, the team was the the first to make the AP poll for an entire decade. In recent years, the University of Michigan has accounted for plenty of NFL prospects as well. While there are many ex-Michigan football players on NFL rosters, the university is home to one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history – Tom Brady. In a 2014 show known as "PixMob," the Michigan band used LED lights to create visually captivating special effects.

Both the football team and marching band are talented at the University of Michigan.Both the football team and marching band are talented at the University of Michigan.

5. Alabama
If you've been paying attention to college football in recent years, you have probably noticed that head coach Nick Saban has helped the University of Alabama become a dominant power in college football again. Although Heisman trophy winners and national championships have resided at Alabama lately, this is nothing new for the Tide. Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant is considered by some to be the best college football coach in history. The band, known as the "Million Dollar Band," earned its nickname after suffering a loss to Georgia Tech, according to the University of Alabama. 

6. Texas
Natives of the Lone Star State will be the first to tell you that everything is bigger in the Texas. That holds true for both the University football team and the marching band. While the Longhorn football team was making more than 99 percent of AP college football polls in the 2000s, the marching band was busy playing in Super Bowl shows and at former President George W. Bush's Inaugural parade. Even if marching band members aren't on the field during gameplay, they still do their part to help the team. According to the University, the band hits cowbells during the game to distract opponents.

7. Texas A & M
USA Today's rankings of the best bands in college football awarded the top spot to Texas A & M. With over 300 members in its marching band, Texas A & M provides people in the audience with a one-of-a-kind show. The choreography features military formations and movements ranging from parade flag routines to a drumline battle of epic proportions.  

8. University of Tennessee
Just as Peyton Manning was one of the greatest leaders on the field for Tennessee, they had a great leader of the halftime shows. The late W. J. Julian was considered a top-tier marching band director. Starting from when he took over as head of the University of Tennessee's marching band in 1961, Julian transformed it into the Pride of the Southland. Although it has long been a popular song in the Volunteer State, the marching band helped "Rocky Top" become somewhat of an anthem for the university,