Band on the Run in Rice University's MOB "Checks" Out SMU with Witty Halftime Skit in Houston Classics

Band on the Run in Rice University's MOB "Checks" Out SMU with Witty Halftime Skit in Houston ClassicsSource: The Rice Thresher Official Website
Maddie Taylor Hartley
Published on November 27, 2023

Rice University's irreverent "Marching" Owl Band, affectionately dubbed The MOB, made waves yet again with a cheeky halftime spectacle that sent jabs flying at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs. A student donned in a suit and fedora handed over a mock check of $0 to a man sporting a rubber horse helmet, riffing on SMU's forfeit of nine years' worth of TV revenue in a bid to join a Power Five athletic conference as detailed in a report by the Houston Chronicle.

Their latest target was not just SMU but the tune of their own university, known for unfurling large donation checks during homecoming games. According to the Houston Chronicle, one SMU graduate, Ryan Alexander, took the gag in stride, saying, "Nothing that we couldn't handle," and adding, “All is fair in love and football, right?”

In the storied tradition of The MOB, this incident is but a recent note in an ongoing symphony of irreverence and spectacle. They’ve run the gamut from Python-esque plays to politically charged performances. A particular script this season included the incisive humor The MOB is known for, described as a series of "bangers" by MOBster Ethan Goore, and also captured by The Rice Thresher. The group eschews the militaristic precision typical of their peers for a more chaotic display that nonetheless conveys sharp social commentary.

The eccentric ensemble boasts members ranging from 12 to 68 years of age, illustrating their all-are-welcome philosophy, as noted by The Rice Thresher in a recent article. This diverse age range and instrumental variety, including everything from tubas to kazoos and even toy French horns, is a testament to the band’s unique spirit. The Rice Thresher details a rich history that includes an unexpected start for one John “Grungy” Gladu, the MOB’s longest-tenured member, who, despite not having been a Rice student, found a lifelong community within this quirky gathering.