Thursday September 6, 2012 An introduction to Texas A&M and the answer to 'what exactly is an Aggie, anyway?'
Updated: 5:02pm, September 6
Updated: 5:02pm, September 6
For Florida fans on their way to College Station, Texas, for Saturday’s Gators-Aggies game, you better get used to that word.
When Texas A&M officially joined the SEC earlier this year, the school sent out information folders on some of its famous traditions to the rest of the league’s member schools.
It was the Aggies’ way of saying Howdy. The quick-facts guide addressed howdy’s ties with the school:
“Howdy” is the official greeting of Texas A&M. Students greeting one another, and especially visitors, with a “howdy” has earned the university a reputation as one of the friendliest campuses in the world.
The guess here is that on Saturday at Kyle Field, the “howdy folks” probably won’t be nearly as friendly to those in orange and blue. They’re in the SEC now for goodness sakes. It’s also Texas A&M’s first SEC game, increasing the buzz around only the third meeting between the Gators and Aggies.
Neither of the previous two meetings took place in College Station. The Gators hosted the Aggies the first time they met, a 42-6 Florida victory on Oct. 13, 1962. The next time they played was in the Sun Bowl in El Paso in 1977, a 37-14 Texas A&M win.
Since it has been a while since the teams met – long before the undergrads at either school were born – here is a primer on Texas A&M for Florida fans:
The Aggies have The 12th Man, yell leaders, The Midnight Yell, their famous “gig ‘em” expression, the Corps of Cadets and of course, Reveille, known as the first lady of Aggieland.
Reveille first came to campus in 1931 when a group of cadets found a stray dog on the road. The current Reveille – known as Reveille VIII – is a full-bodied collie and the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets. If you see her walking around campus on Saturday, you can just say “howdy Miss Rev.”
WHERE IS COLLEGE STATION?
The town where Texas A&M is located is about 90 miles northwest of Houston. The town has an outgoing mayor in Nancy Berry. You may remember her from this video message to Gators coach Will Muschamp over the summer:
WHAT IS AN AGGIE, ANYWAY?
Let me check in that quick-facts folder again. Hey, we’re in luck.
Simply put, an Aggie is a student at Texas A&M. Originally, the letters “A” and “M” stood for “Agricultural” and “Mechanical,” so this is how the term Aggie came to be.
There you go Gators.
If you have time in College Station and like to read or like to look at presidential history, the A&M campus has a place just for you: The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
The museum opened in 2007 and is in honor of U.S. President No. 41: George H.W. Bush.
The Florida campus is known for its collection of tall, spider-legged live oak trees. The A&M campus has a famous oak tree where many Aggies get swept up in love and propose.
As you can see, it’s a beautiful tree, so please folks, keep Harvey Updike away when Alabama visits.
The tree is one of the first ever planted on Texas A&M’s campus.
Before he became a legend at Alabama, Bear Bryant coached at Texas A&M. His time in College Station is the stuff of legend, especially a grueling training camp before the 1954 season.
They even made a movie about it a few years ago called “The Junction Boys.” No word if the Bear ever hung out under the Century Tree.
THE CURRENT COACH
Aggies first-year coach Kevin Sumlin replaces Mike Sherman and arrives after five seasons at Houston. While Gators coach Will Muschamp made his name as a defensive wizard, Sumlin’s Houston teams were known for their offensive prowess.
The Cougars led the nation last season in total offense (599.1 yards per game) and points scored (49.3 per game).
The home of the Aggies has a reputation as one of the best venues in college football. Texas A&M averaged 87,183 fans per game last season, ranked 10th in the country.
The biggest crowd in Kyle Field history was for Texas A&M’s 9-6 win over Nebraska in 2010. The game is the only one in school history to surpass 90,000 fans when 90,079 showed up.
Current Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican presidential candidate prior to leaving the race earlier this year, is an A&M alum. Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak attended A&M, as did former major-leaguer Chuck Knoblauch. Another former Alabama coach, Gene Stallings, played at A&M for Bryant.
Meanwhile, former A&M President Robert Gates served as Secretary of Defense under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Surely someone from the SEC office checked out local eateries in College State prior to granting Texas A&M admission. No SEC town is complete without at least a few favorite hangouts for pre-game chow.
A few miles outside College Station is Sodolak’s Original Country Inn. They serve Texas-sized steaks and burgers. But there’s more. They also serve their famous chicken fried bacon. Yes, sounds like the Aggies will fit fine into the SEC. There's even a video of how to make it at home if you are brave enough: