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Friday, November 18, 2005

The Best Damn Copycats in the Land!

Now, we all know how those Bucks just love their band. When they're not throwing things or spitting at ours, they're praising theirs. Hell, they're so proud of these folks, they call the OSU squad, ahem, "The Best Damn Band in the Land."

But let's take a closer look, shall we? I think you'll find it's hard to call yourselves the "best" when you're not even the most original and stole the thing you're most known for. Let's start with their uniforms, shall we?

Here they are, the "the OSU" marching band. Look at those uniforms, huh? Woo eee! Clean, crisp...

...Sporting those distinctive red and black hats with the red patches near the shoulders.

What style, what class...hey, what the f*ck? I've seen that look before. Is it just me or do they bear a striking resemblance to the guy standing outside the mall ringing the bell:

Yes, apparently the Best Damn Band in the Central Ohio Region Not Counting Most High Schools obviously got their fashion sense from the Salvation Army Band. Unless of course they're one and the same. Sort of like Clark Kent and Superman. I mean, has anybody every seen the BDBCORNCMHS and the SAB in the same place at the same time? I dunno. Looks to me like they're forming a "Script O" around the little red bucket below:

Speaking of which...

Now let's talk about the thing the Best Damn Salvation Army Band in the Land claims to be known for -- "Script Ohio." Yes, it truly is one of the great traditions in all of college football: When these young musicians, after putting in hours at the mall helping raise money for the poor, prove they know how to spell four-letter words then honor the fattest guy on the squad by letting him run out and dot the "i", usually getting it right on his very first try.

In fact, here is a picture of the very first time the Buckeyes ever performed "Script Ohio," way back in 1936. Impressive, huh? Only problem is...

...That's four years AFTER the University of Michigan marching band did the first "Script Ohio" in the 'Shoe in 1932! (picture below). Even worse, the OSU band director in '36 was also present at the '32 game but claimed he got the idea somewhere else! Yeah, riiiiight. This guy is the Scooter Libby of band directors!
Sad to say, looks like the thing tOSU band is best at is copying the originality of the Wolverines.

Gee, I wonder how Buckeye fans feel, knowing their band is "best" known for something they copied off Michigan? But then again, maybe trying to be like us is a good thing. Heck, maybe someday their fans will copy our class and bring that back to Columbus as well. But I doubt it.


M82 said...

I was a member of the MMB (Michigan Marching Band) for 4 years "back when". At that time, the top 3 bands in the country were considered to be:

1. Michigan
2. USC
3. Ohio State

In that order.

Don't know how they stack up nowadays, but I remember that everyone in the MMB knew the true origin story of "Script Ohio".

It gave us something to chuckle about whenever we saw it.


33Buckeye said...

1. "Considered... in that order"? By whom? By the MMB? Gee, there's a surprise...
2. And FYI: Anyone who follows TBDBITL knows that your band "created" the formation - it was a tribute to Ohio - a truly nice gesture. However, what you guys ALWAYS fail to mention is that your band formed the word INTACT - I can only imagine that the MMB couldn't figure out how to "write" it out in a marching formation.
3. BTW: You guys know a little about thieving yourselves: where did the idea for those ugly hats you're so proud of come from?
Go Bucks!

Yost said...

Regarding our "hats," 33...

They were brought over by Coach Fritz Crisler when he came to Michigan in '38 from Princeton where he had first used them.

So I wouldn't say we stole them. I mean, it's not like the OSU band director was the U-M band director before he got to Columbus and brought the idea with him. The thing that kills me is that -- on the OSU website link in the post -- the '36 OSU band director flat out lies about where he got the idea. That's what is so funny to me.

Either way, I respect your post, 33. Thanks for your comments.

Go Blue!

PS Hey, M82, how 'bout a little research to prove your point re: band rankings.

M82 said...

My freshman year in the MMB was 1978 (hence the "M82" moniker, referring to my graduation year). It was George Cavender's last year as conductor - and the year of the "phantom touchdown" at the Rose Bowl (for which the Band had a uniquely unobstructed view, seated as we were in folding chairs on the field directly to the side of the endzone where the touchdown... uh, didn't occur). Agony aside, this was also the year some national publication (no, I don't remember which one it was; no, it wasn't the Detroit News or Free Press; yes, it might have been Sports Illustrated or even Time; and no, I couldn't find it online) ran one of those "wrap up the year" columns for which the category "Best Marching Band" had only one word in it: "Michigan". We were pretty proud of that.

I know the above is weak since I can't cite the source. So rather than spend the whole day cyber-digging for it online, I'll just refer to the official website of the MMB, which had the following bullet point in their "History" section:

"On January 1, 1983, the Michigan Marching Band became the first recipient of the Louis Sudler National Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy. The Sudler Trophy is awarded annually to a college marching band of particular excellence. The trophy was the idea of Louis Sudler, a Chicago realtor and vice-chairman of the John Phillip Sousa Foundation. The selection of the Michigan Band as the first recipient was made through a ballot sent to 700 college marching band directors, as well as sportswriters and television commentators. The final selection was made by a panel of twenty marching band directors from around the country."

I guess that'll do.


mayday said...

m82's description of the end-of-the-year wrap-up sounds like the Sporting News, which I used to pore over as a kid like it was the Rosetta Stone. His era was before I could read, though. TSN tended to run neat previews and wrap-ups with a lot of interesting features like that. Frankly, I haven't seen them on the newsstand in so long, I wonder if they even publish the weekly edition anymore. They might just do the glossy preview mags and the radio network.

I know Cavender was considered one of the great marching band directors in the country. Frankly, now that I'm a law student, I'm disappointed to report that the band seems to have taken a step back since my high school and early college years.

Admittedly, by the time I was an upperclassman in college I didn't pay much attention to the band when I attended games, so I can't speculate on what happened. Probably a gradual thing.

But while I may have suggested in friendly exchanges with other student bodies that our band was the best in the mid-90s, I wouldn't
make that argument today. I'm not sure who is, I'm not even sure who the contenders are. All I know is, while I cringe to admit it, I thought Notre Dame's band sounded distinctly crisper and clearer this year than we did.

Anecdote from bygone days: at the Rose Bowl in '97, the Michigan student section got restless with struggling to hear the Washington State band. I don't think any of us would have known what the songs were if not for the announcer. The chant went up "HIGH SCHOOL BAND, clap clap clapclapclap." Kind of mean, but at least I can testify the students still took great pride in the Michigan band back then.

Yost said...

I think that award you referenced, M, will suffice.

Mayday, the TSN/Rosetta Stone ref had me howling. I used to do the same thing.

Jeremy said...

33buckeye, yeah we all heard it, that's the standard retort. Shut the hell up. You're claiming to have invented the Eiffel Tower when all you did was add some light bulbs.

Bands sound "crisper" or "clearer" because they either play easier arrangements of songs than we do, or use flip folders on the field (like Notre Dame), or both.

USC is a bunch of assholes.

Mayday, it is your job as a graduate to complain that the band was better back in your day. I haven't met anyone who has ever been in the band and thought otherwise.

tbdbitlalum said...

As a former member of the OSU marching band I would just like to add that OSU did not steal the "Script Ohio" formation. Following the game where Michigan debuted the formation, the Michigan band director presented the charts for the formation to the OSU band director. I am not sure why Weigel claimed he got the idea from somewhere else, maybe he was referring to the idea for the OSU band to actually do it. However, the official history book of the OSUMB does show that Michigan came up with it.
The OSU band has always had great respect for the Michigan band, even if we don't necessarily like to admit it.

M82 said...

tbdbitlalum, it was nice to see a civil post on this topic, so I'll let you in on what is probably not that big of a secret: The MMB always had great respect for the OSU band as well.

The biggest difference between the two bands used to be that OSU was "all brass" while Michigan had large woodwind sections (sax, clarinet, piccolo). This gave the bands two very different sounds.

However, I've always thought that tOSU's traditional pregame (the true measure of a college marching band) was one of the best in the country.

Of course, I DO think there's one that's better, but I'm admittedly biased.

"Sing to the colors that float in the light, hurrah for the Yellow and Blue",


mayday said...

Hahahaha, yes, i sound like i'm already doing interviews from the old folks home, e.g. for the PBS documentary. Never been in a band, so I don't know diddly about "what it takes" to be excellent -- it is entirely possible that the band is simply doing harder arrangments these days than they used to and my funk/rock-befuzzed ears can't tell.

They certainly have more of a burden in terms of comedic stunts and theatrics to incorporate than they used to. The Monty Python routine this year was an epic mind$#@%.

Jeremy said...

Likewise, tbidbitlalum. Part of the bitterness of this rivalry is admitting how good the OSU marching band is. There's respect on both sides of the ball (er... instrument?).

Anonymous said...

A couple of points.

While we all recognize that the MMB and OSUMB are two of the best and most traditional bands in College football, there are a couple of falsehoods being propogated on this site.

First, the OSUMB was given the moniker The Best Damn Band in the Land by a reporter for the Los Angeles Times at the 1955 Rose Bowl, not by ourselves. Just as anyone would, we decided that was a fine statement and hung on to it. I am sure if anyone said something that nice about MMB, you would be all over it as well, as M82 pointed out. Our true nickname is "The Pride of the Buckeyes".

Second, nobody EVER claimed we did Script Ohio first as a formation, what MMB did was nice and it was simply a scatter drill into that formation, just like any other. What the dear writer is completely missing, and therefore illustrating his ignorance via his profanity, is that OSUMB MARCHES into the formation via a "follow the leader" drill. This is a move that anyone who has MB experience will tell you is by far the most difficult as spacing must be perfectly maintained throughout the entire drill, otherwise crossovers are a mess and the drill will not end throughout the script at the same time. BTW, most Sousaphone players I saw dot the 'i' were far from the fattest guy in the band and were usually in pretty darn good shape. Come to a rehearsal sometime.

Third, the only reason to chuckle is based upon the fact that you only had half the story and did not desire to understand it all.


Jeremy said...

We know exactly what the difference is, and we don't care. It's just great to point it out and see how defensive Buckeye fans get. Every single time.

Anonymous said...

Tressel 4
carr 1

6-5 nebraska?? wow.

MBand said...

The only thing I had trouble understanding about the whole script ohio thing, is why osu fans always insist on cheering for ohio and not ohio state. I'm sure the bobcats appreciate the respect, but come on, atleast cheer for your team. This also goes along with the whole oh-io cheer.

Yost said...


Anonymous said...


Yost said...

Uh, dude, you're on a sports blog with a comedic bent. We're not denegrating anybody other than,naturally, Tosu fans.

However, you almost did make me see your point b/c you typed it in all caps which always makes it more meaningful.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am a UF graduate, and our band "The Pride of the Sunshine" sucks donkey balls.


Washington State fans would laugh at our band.

It's so bad it makes FSU's band look good.

However, if want to know which band is the best in the land, look no further than 1-AA Florida A&M University. I can't even describe it, you would have to see it for yourselves. I saw them play live once, they came to Gator Growl (UF homecoming) and blew the place away.

Anonymous said...

There's no question that the best marching bands in the land belong to the historically black colleges. I'm a little shocked that people would even think that schools like Ohio State and Michigan would evn think they were better than Grambling, Florida A&m, Southern and Morgan State. Just take a look at the steps and the moves and the sounds of Black college bands and you will be blown away. Hands down it's the black college bands.

Anonymous said...

Michigan fans are getting very obsessive about everything OSU these days! Let me guess. You didn't spend as much time obsessing about the Buckeyes in the 90's when UM was dominating Cooper.

As for the bands... Who cares! Both cool. Block M moving down the field=Very Cool. Script Ohio=Very Cool.

I think the credit for Script Ohio should be whoever invented cursive writing. Ohio State invented national championships for Big Ten teams in the 21st Century.

Anonymous said...

I'm an OSU fan, and I have to admit there's tons of funny stuff here. But this bit missed the mark. It was as off the mark as that Michigan player's laugh-out-loud, missed dunk against South Carolina in the Not In Tournament basketball tournament. Staring at his hands???? Hahahaha! Now that's comedy!

Anonymous said...

Poor ignorant scUM fans. Here are the facts:
1) U of M was the first to form the Ohio on the field, but it was NOT in script formation (i.e. "follow the leader"). they went straight to the formation...not SCRIPT Ohio.
2) TBDBITL was the first to form the Block "M" on the field and was soon followed by the school up north.
3) As for the sudler trophy, the facts previously mentioned are not correct. While UM was the first to receive the trophy, it was voted on COMPLETELY by media and coaches (professionals in the field). OSU was the first band to be given the award by those in the field of music.
These are the FACTS...enjoy.
Oh yeah, don't look now but Teddy G. is still running!

Yost said...

Good to see we didn't strike a nerve, Anon.

Sideshownixon said...

I know this is late to this, but... you guys realize you are arguing about bands!


Dan said...

Go ahead and make comments about how hard it might be to spell a four letter word....seems to me that is still a little tougher than block M which is only 1 letter.

Anonymous said...

Michigan is to this day the only college band to perform at the Super Bowl (XVI in Detroit).

Then again, looking at the average SB Halftime show quality, maybe we should keep that one to ourselves.

Anonymous said...

The fact still remains that the MMB did it first....and OSU copied it, even if they did get the formations from the MMB. If they were truly tbdbitl, they would have had the smarts to figure it out by themselves...but they didn't.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4/26:

Another FACT you seem to have neglected:

The Sudler can only be awarded one time to any marching band, regardless of who votes on it, so even if they wanted to, the music professionals you're so proud of couldn't have awarded it to the MMB again (which I'm sure they would have).

9 days until Armageddon...

Dan said...

UM perfoming at the Super Bowl made sense only because it was in the state of Michigan. As far as anonymous stating again that UM first perfomed script Ohio, no one discounts that fact. But read the previous posts. They did it out of a simple formation, NOT the current follow the leader marching formation that TBDBITL, the Pride Of the Buckeyes uses. 7 more days until O.S.U. secures the bid to Arizona!

Anonymous said...

Ok you big U of M band geeks, when was the last time that College Game Day on ESPN did a story on a Saturday that pertained to the Michigan Band?? Never. But for TBDBITL they ran one around three weeks ago. Losers. Tressel owns your ass.

Anonymous said...

its ok um fans, if they wont give our band respect maybe they'll give our team respect when we kick thier asses on saturday at 330, then again maybe not...tOSU=NO CLASS...all we hope is theyll shut up for a few days


Anonymous said...

First off...Learn to spell...thier? THEIR..second, let's kick game day off with a couple OSU/UM jokes. Why do trees in Toledo lean towards the north? Because Michigan sucks...what is the first thing a UM grad says on his first day at work? Hi, welcome to McDonald's...

Anonymous said...

Like the Michigan jokes. Here's a few more.

What does a scUM graduate call a TOSU graduate at their first day on the job? BOSS.

Why did Forrest Gump choose Alabama over scUM? HE WANTED AN ACADEMIC CHALLENGE.

Why couldn't DNA research experts mate pigs with scUM cheerleaders? THERE ARE SOME THINGS EVEN A PIG WON'T DO.

How was Lloyd Carr cured of his fears of inferiority when compared to Jim Tressel? HIS PSYCHIATRIST REASSURED HIM HE REALLY WAS INFERIOR.

What's the best form of birth control for scUM coeds? NUDITY.

Why do scUM graduates place their diplomas on their windshields? SO THEY'LL BE ELIGIBLE FOR HANDICAPPED PARKING.

Anonymous said...

First off, condolences on the loss of a true legend Bo Schembechler. Then on to the OSU-UM rematch debate. Personally I think both sides might have a valid arguement. The no people say Michigan had their chance against OSU and lost. Additionally had it not been for the three turnovers the game would not have been close. However turnovers are a part of any football game and a lot of that in this particular game was due to UM's great defense. On the pro rematch side of the arguement, it was a GOOD,close game. I don't know if I would like the idea of having to play Michigan twice in the same season. That would be a tough bill for anyone. On the other hand, all of the other contenders have lost at least one game. Why should Michigan be penalized because their one loss came on the last game on their schedule?

Anonymous said...

fuck all you fucking RED NEKS

Anonymous said...

There was a kid from my high school that was "recruited" by tosu and recieved scolarship money to play in their band. he played there one year, and left. yeah he probably didn't like the style, but also because he was getting out of shape, he was intoroduced to drinking and gained a lot of weight. he left tosu and went to north texas, which, in my mind, is arguably one of the best marching bands of all time. marching bands started in louisiana for funeral marches (don't tell me i am wrong, i am a music major) so the schools from the south take a great deal of pride in their bands. i go to University of toledo (i know, our band sounds high school too) but one measure of how good a band is also how much the stands get into it. then, i would have to say that Ohio university has one of the best bands (they also created the diamond ohio formation that tosu "stole") they never play to the home side, only to the student section, they know that the visiting fans don't give a shit, but the students do. as far as drumlines are concerned, michigan state has the best hands down. while having one hell of a band, the drumline is made up of many DCI and WGI drummers from across the nation. in my mind, most marching bands are incredible, but UM has chuck ricotta (perc tech for phantom regiment, who consistently gets best overall percussion evey year) and erin rigleman (sp?), so they win.

Anonymous said...

OSU's band is called the best damn band in the land for a reason...

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the OSU marching band, and I have great respect for the Michigan band. They have a great sound. But, because I am a member, I do need to say just a few things. Michigan MADE the word Ohio in cursive, Ohio state WROTE the word Ohio in cursive. The latter is the one that became famous, so who cares where it came from? Ohio State fans love it, and michigan fans love their block M, that's all that really matters is it not? And the other thing, there was a mention of cheering for Ohio, instead of Ohio State? That's like saying that cheering for michigans block M is really cheering for michigan state, or any other word with an m in it, so it really is not a valid argument. And the diamond Ohio? It is proven fact that OSU created the diamond Ohio, and OU just uses it, and made it theirs. Who cares? If you'd like to argue that bit on diamond Ohio, please contact TBDBITL alumni club, and they will be glad to provide you with photographic evidence of a diamond ohio being laid out on a planning board around 20 years before OU's first time putting it on the field. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

In response to the comment about a friend getting scholarship money to march in the band: impossible. The band is completely selected through auditions, which take place long after scholarships through the school are awarded. This friend may have recieved money from the school of music to be a music major, but not for the marching band. And started to gain weight? While still in the marching band? Alternate?

klingerman.3 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The use of the Sudler trophy to prove which band is better is an absolute joke. Take into account such fine bands as Auburn, Indiana, Northwestern, WVU, Texas Tech, and Penn State have won it. Are these schools that you would merit as the best bands in the country?

Scene and said...

If you're going to start talking about copycats then come up with some cheers of your own people. I mean come on...everyone knows that it's great to be a Florida Gator! It seems as though everytime I have to enter your shitty stadium (that somehow manages to cram in more seats every year when the people of Michigan are not getting any smaller) I hear that cheer over and over again..only it goes "it's great to be a Michigan Wolverine." Who are you....Purdue...stealing the "We are Penn State?"

Brian said...

honestly, who gives a shit who came up with everything. what matters is the quality of the marching and musicianship. quite honestly, I think somebody's just jealous cause their own band doesn't generate as much fame as their own. get over it, you pussies.

Anonymous said...

The UM is #1 when it comes to crying about somthing stupid (like who came up with script ohio) 1. we wouldent be fighting about it if you guys just never did it in the first place. and 2. yuor just mad that THE OSUMB is better than the maize and blue band or whatever you idiots call it.I LOVE the Ohio State Michigan rivalry, but Michigan fans talk to much shit, you dont even have room to talk because OHIO STATE has beatin Michigan 4 years in a row.
so grow some ball hair and stop bitchin because THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY is better than the university of michigan.
and p.s GO BUCKEYES!!!!!

Kelly said...

I would like to defend the OSUMB uniforms which you have clearly belittled in this article. The OSU Marching Band started as a ROTC Band & has used the same basic uniform, & adapted it. One of the original band directors was a Navy Captain & he used that uniform for the directors & it stayed after he left. He was also the reason we play Navy Hymn at our Skull Sessions. Lets think for a second. Maybe the reason the Salvation Army Band is so similar is because they are attempting to respect the US Military as well. Maybe you should think twice about insulting a uniform who's beginnings came from people who served & died for this country.

jeffgoblue said...

I was a member of the Michigan Marching Band (MMB) 89-92. The story of the "first" Script Ohio is definitely one of those things that's a part of MMB lore.

But it should be noted that the '32 MMB merely made the Ohio formation. The 1936 Ohio St. band premiered the actual cursive writing drill and dotting of the I that we see today. OSU deserves all the credit for that.

Of course, that never stopped Michigan from poking a little good-natured fun at the Buckeyes. Sometime in the 70's under George Cavender, the MMB marched to a script "State" formation while playing the OSU fight song. The announcer's script went something along the lines of "We taught you how to spell Ohio, now we'll teach you how to spell State!" And the T was crossed by the whole tuba section. I thought story was apocryphal until I actually saw the drill sheets for that show in the MMB archives.