Texas 46, Texas A&M 15

From Midnight Yell Practice to the Twelfth Man to playing tonsil-hockey with your date after the football team scores, if Texas A&M is known for anything, it has to be all of those wacky traditions. Rhythmic chants and hokey rituals, which seem totally insignificant and superficial to most outsiders are the very backbone of a fanatical belief system so integral to university life that each member of the incoming Aggie class must attend a three day seminar called "Fish Camp" to get brought up to speed before starting classes. Make no mistake, these people are religious zealots—if A&M's mascot Reveille, a Collie who ranks as the highest member of their corps (ROTC), so much as takes a dump on the way to a game, the cadets will pick up the feces, parade it around and then give it a proper military burial at sea by flushing it down a commemorative toilet which deposits waste in a special septic tank under the Kyle Field scoreboard for good luck...okay, that may not be exactly accurate and a little extreme, but the point is Aggies hold steadfast to their traditions like Branch Davidians hold on to assault rifles and matches. And from what I can tell, it doesn't take much for the Aggies to start up a new tradition. So in honor of my visit to Aggieland (College Station, TX) last weekend, I'd like to indoctrinate you into three new Texas A&M traditions the Aggies themselves may not even be aware of...

THE 13TH MAN - I'm sure you're all familiar with the Twelfth Man tradition - a walk-on player from the student body is selected to participate on the kick-off team and symbolizes the readiness of all Aggies to support their team at all times. Like the Twelfth Man, the 13th Man also supports the Aggie football team with fervor and extreme prejudice, but in a sort of misguided way. The 13th Man is easy to recognize because he is often seen wearing three different shades of Maroon together and, when properly lubricated, talks more trash than any two actual A&M students put together. The irony of the 13th Man is that he didn't actually attend Texas A&M but he feels his backwoods, East Texas upbringing anoints him as an honorary Doctorate in Aggie Studies. Since he never actually attended Fish Camp, the 13th Man rarely fully grasps the true meaning of the traditions being displayed around him and frequently "whoops" at the wrong time and sways in the wrong direction. Moreover, the 13th Man has never actually been to Austin but considers it the gateway to hell. And though he has no clue as to who or what "Ole Varsity" is, he keeps an 18-volt cordless Circular in the back of his pick-up just in case he ever meets him and needs to saw his horns off. And though his acute dyslexia probably prevented him from finishing high school and attending A&M, the 13th Man is often credited with coming up with the saying: "Beat the hell out of T.U."

PAINTING OF THE OVERALLS - Aggies are sometimes called "Fighting Farmers" and since overalls are considered standard issue for all plowboys, I guess a couple of overzealous Aggies wanted a little extra mojo for Gameday, so they decided to put "war paint" on their dungarees. Think of it as Braveheart meets Green Acres. I know what you're thinking and no, this is not some new fashion fad from the FFA nor a fancy marketing ploy devised by those clever anorexics at Abercrombie to separate dumb coeds from Daddy's money. In fact, in this case, the bigger your ass is, the better, because that means you've got more canvas, or billboard space, on which to propagandize. Most Aggies paint their graduation date and some derogatory slur towards the Longhorns on their overalls, but really, the creative possibilities are endless. Anyone who graduated from Kindergarten or holds a masters degree from A&M in Color by Numbers can do it. The administration just asks that you color responsibly and reminds you to give the paint plenty of time to dry before coming to the game.

BUMPER STICKER BLACKOUT - There is no irrefutable data on the subject, but I'm quite sure Texas A&M leads the nation with the highest sticker to bumper ratio. No one, and I mean no one, puts more (or bigger) decals advertising their school on the back of their cars than the Aggies. Many of them even go as far as to place Longhorn stickers with the horns cut off on their back windshields. I imagine drivers from out of state must think they've rolled up on some animal sacrificing cult when passing through

College Station. As far as I know, vehicular sticker abuse is not against the law, but do you really need seven stickers to tell the world that "your daughter and your hegemony" go to A&M? Maybe on some level more stickers means more support in Aggieland, but I'm thinking the larger than life "ATM" Sticker (which doubles as an eye chart) is sufficient enough without having to add the "Gig'em" thumbs-up bumper sticker, 12th man mud flaps, Loyal to the Corps curb finders, and bonfire-replica dashboard air-freshener. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for school spirit, but if the only thing you can see in your rearview mirror is a Calvin and Hobbs diorama of Old Sarge urinating on a Bevo plush toy, you might want to consider getting a new hobby.

Oh, and I almost forgot, here's one more tradition the Aggies ought to get used to for a while...

TEXAS 46 - A&M 15

The Longhorns fourth straight win over the Aggies has been somewhat downplayed because A&M has been struggling the past few years and most Texas fans have had their minds on other rivals, namely the Sooners. And while I'm not claiming the four-game winning streak to be the crowning achievement of Mack Brown's tenure down in Austin, I don't think it should be historically acknowledged as a mere footnote. It wasn't too long ago that A&M was beating the Horns on a pretty consistent basis and beating them badly. From 1985 through 1994, the Aggies took nine of ten games from the Horns. The overall series is still heavily in the Longhorns favor, but that was a pretty tough decade to get through and not one I'll soon forget.

As for last Saturday's game at Kyle Field, all I can say is I'm happy with the win but not that impressed with Texas' overall effort. Rivalry game or not, that game should have never been in doubt. Even the Aggies sitting around me were surprised to see A&M in the game until midway through the third quarter. Yes, the Horns pulled away and yes, Benson had a huge day amassing over 280 yards rushing, but wouldn't you like to see Vince throw a few more passes and bring a little more balance to this offense. It's naïve to think that Texas can run the zone read play 30 times against the top teams in the country. Heck, it barely worked against Tech. If Davis is going to go to the trouble of establishing the running game, either out of the "I" or the "Pro set" formations, he might as well mix in a little play action. It's not like Texas is hurting at receiver. If the Longhorns are ever going to learn how to beat OU, they might as well start by cutting their teeth on some other Top 10 competition and there's no better time to start than with the upcoming bowl game. But before we can talk potential opponents, we've got to figure out where we're going. Is it going to be the...


Can you believe it has come to this: Texas fans must root for Oklahoma to win another Big XII Championship in order to go to a BCS bowl. That's like hoping your good-looking, kiss-ass coworker hooks up with the hot chick in logistics so the frumpy girl in accounting will give you a chance. The very idea makes me sick, and yet we have no choice. If K-State wins, and it's not out of the question (see Texas/Nebraska circa 1996), Texas will most likely end up in San Antonio (thus the reference to Fiesta Texas above for those of you playing at home). The Cotton and Holiday Bowls don't want us because we've been there so often in the past five years streets have been named for Mack Brown outside the stadiums. Plus, the Alamo Bowl chairman would give his left testicle for Texas to accept an invite because of its close proximity to San Antonio and almost automatic pay day from the large Longhorn fan base which will begrudgingly follow. So what's it going to be, Fiesta Texas or Fiesta Bowl? For that capricious prognostication, I give you the...


Next time on Survivor - BCS, a member of the Sooner tribe is unexpectedly voted off and while Mike Stoops goes home to Arizona, his brother Bob sticks around to kick sand in Bill Snyder's face at the reward challenge. Meanwhile, Mack Brown plays apologizes for not winning any big challenges and forms alliances with both the Fiesta Bowl and the Rose Bowl reps. At the immunity challenge, Nick Saban of the LSU tribe outlasts Mark Richt and eliminating his tribe Georgia thus sending them to the Outcast Bowl. With Richt out of the way, Mack uses his awesome recruiting skills to convince Fiesta boy to write the biggest threat to the BCS, LSU's name, down at the tribal council so Texas can stick around another week and go smell the Roses with Lloyd Car and Michigan. The


Walking across the campus on the way to Kyle Field...

13TH MAN: "Hey T-Sip, you lost or somethin'? Austin's that-a-way."

54b: "Uh, thanks. By the way, is this the parking lot where that Aggie was arrested for, um, how should I put this, polishing his sword?"


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