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Saturday, September 17, 2016

MOB Mentality

They went there.

Rice's Marching Owl Band is a scramble band. Most are familiar with Stanford, the only such example from the Power Five, with Cal having changed its ways a half century ago and the Virginia Pep Band being banned from athletic events back in 2003. Such bands remain popular in the Ivy League, and their MO across the board is to provide social commentary and poke fun at the opposing team or area. Oh, and sometimes play some music. Tonight, as Baylor played at Rice, the MOB made clear references to the ongoing scandal at Baylor, which identified a massive university failure to appropriately address sexual assault and uncovered wrongdoing within the football program which, among other things, cost former head coach Art Briles his job. While many would consider referencing such a serious situation with frivolity in a halftime show in poor taste, the MOB went right after it, with on field formations giving nods to (Title) IX and (ousted Baylor president and chancellor Kenneth) Star(r).

Years ago, when it was improbable but still mathematically possible that Penn State and Stanford would meet in a bowl shortly after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, I wondered aloud: If the two were to meet, would the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band go there? While we never learned that specific answer, Rice may have shown us tonight that there's nothing off limits.
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