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Fleetwood Mac Sparks One of College Football’s Weirdest Rivalries (video)

Stevie Nicks was a singer with Fleetwood Mac when they recorded the 1979 song 'Tusk,' at the center of a rivalry between USC and Alabama. (Photo: Getty)

Stevie Nicks was a singer with Fleetwood Mac when they recorded the 1979 song ‘Tusk,’ at the center of a rivalry between USC and Alabama. (Photo: Getty)

Fleetwood Mac, one of the ’70s biggest rock bands, is caught in the middle of one of college football’s weirdest rivalries. University of California and University of Alabama marching bands both claim its song, “Tusk,” as their “unofficial” fight song. Who’ll blink first?

The perennial college football powerhouses will play each other in their opening game this weekend, Sept. 3.

But much of the pre-game intrigue has centered on bragging rights to the Fleetwood Mac song.

An Alabama fan threw down the gauntlet with an Internet comment on SongFacts.com this week, according to The Los Angeles Times.

“The song ‘Tusk’,” he claimed, “is about the University of Alabama Football Team.”

To members of USC’s renowned marching band, those were fighting words for one very big reason.

Tthe USC band collaborated with Fleetwood Mac on the song and appears in the band’s music video.

The song was recorded in 1979 at Dodger Stadium. The Trojan marching band set a record for the highest number of musicians to perform on a rock-and-roll hit.

As a result, “Tusk” became enshrined in the band’s repertoire. It’s played at every game and on campus daily.

Alabama is one of just two other schools that play the song regularly. The band reportedly started playing it in 2007.

It caught on, because the title is short for the school’s hometown, Tuscaloosa. Also, the Crimson Tide’s mascot is an elephant named “Big Al.”

The song is usually played as its storied football team takes the field and can be heard on campus daily, according to the commenter, “James from Tuscaloosa.” He added:

“The ‘He’ in the song refers to Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant and the fact that he was the winningest coach in College Football history and refused to concede his title as such to anyone else. The song is played on the University of Alabama campus daily, and is part of the rich heritage of the Alabama Crimson Tide.”

Arkansas is the other school, according to The Times. Known as The Razorbacks after a particular breed of hog, its mascot is named “Tusk.”

Both bands will take the field at their home opener, (fortunately not at the same time) and both say they will play the song.

For the record, the song has nothing to do with Bear Bryant.

Check out the original video below and the USC band performing the song.

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