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Scouting the Opponent: The History Behind "Hotty Toddy"

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Mississippi has long been cheering their "Hotty Toddy" chant at Rebel sporting events.

The Rebels' full chant goes like this:

"Are you ready?

Hell yea!

Damn Right!

Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty,

Who the hell are we? Hey!

Flim Flam, Bim Bam, Ole Miss By Damn!"

Here's a video of the chant with Gary Glitter's "Hey Song":

So now we know about their famous chant, but where did this famous college tradition originate? It depends on who you ask.

Some consider the title "Hotty Toddy" originated from the "Highty Tighties", the nickname of the Virginia Tech Regimental Band. Virginia history states that the band invented the chant when they resided in Division E, the fifth stairwell of VT's Lane Hall.

Their chant went like this:

"Highty Tighty, Christ Almighty, who the hell are we?                                                                                                      Riff ramm, g-dd--n, we're from Division E!"

But Ole Miss fans deem their chant to be original and unrelated. To them, it is considered to be connected with old military marching chants. WWII vets returned to school and adopted a variation of an old military chant for Ole Miss football; the chant stuck, and it's been cheered by the Rebel fanbase ever since.

Here is such a military chant, reenacted in the first episode of the T.V. show "Band of Brothers":


No one exactly knows when "Highty Tighty" was changed to "Hotty Toddy", but many consider the student body to be at least partly responsible. According to Hottytoddy.com, the change was made because of "the association of cheers with a warm alcoholic drink, often a nightcap."

The cheer was first documented in the university's student newspaper "The Mississippian" back in November of 1926:

"Heighty! Tighty! Gosh A Mighty!
Who in the h--l are we?
Rim! Ram! Flim! Flam!
Ole Miss, By D--n."

And in 1931, Ole Miss music professor Aileen H. Tye wrote a song entitled "Ole Miss", also referred to as the "Ole Miss Song". Its chorus starts with these lyrics:

"Hi-ty Ti-ty Gosh a'mighty
Who the heck are we?
Oh, we come from Mississippi
From Mississippi, 'Ole Miss.'"
See those full lyrics here.

The song's cheer was later adapted by the University of Alabama in the early 1980's. Their "Rammer Jammer" chant was created when Ole Miss band director James Ferguson became the band director of Alabama's Million Dollar Band.

To Ole Miss fans, "Hotty Toddy" is much more than a chant; it is a greeting; it is a response; it is a joyous proclamation of school pride. So when you Cowboy fans hear the Rebels' cheer, because you will hear it a lot, take a second and appreciate its history.

Plus, if you think you'll be annoyed, imagine how they'll feel when they wonder why everyone is waving after an OSU score.

Every school has their own special traditions that they hold near and dear. We have our waving song and our trilogy, and they have "Hotty Toddy". Tradition is one of the best parts of college football, and Ole Miss' are no different.

Special thanks to Red Cup Rebellion for their help!