Pigskin Pursuit

An eight year odyssey across the backroads of America during the ultimate College Football roadtrip.

Tag: Aggies

The Lonestar Showdown – Texas A&M vs. Texas

If my rambling post below was any indication, both of us were quite enamored with our Texas A&M experience.In fact we were so blown away that we quickly decided a return visit to College Station was in order. Coincidentally, A&M had an upcoming home game on Thanksgiving night against an undefeated Burnt Orange clad foe from the South, and College Station was already priming for a huge matchup against this fiercesome in state rival.

In lieu of bloatingly lounging around watching football on television, we decided to see this historic rivalry in person. As such, on Thanksgiving Day, back down to College Station we went to get another fill of the A&M experience as they hosted the #3 Texas Longhorns.This was easily the biggest game of the season in College Station, and 84,671 fans packed Kyle Field for an epic turkey day tilt.

Once again, with the help of our friend Christina, we managed to score ourselves some student tickets.This time our seats were in the second deck on the 40 yard line offering a phenomenal view of all the action on the field, considered by some of our Aggie friends to be the best seats in the house.A quick glance to the rear revealed the “Home of the 12th Man” block letters ominously perched above our shoulders.Given the magnitude of the opponent, the 12th Man on this night was borderline riotous.We could feel the entire second tier of the Kyle Field structure discernibly swaying as hordes of Aggie students belted out “Varsity”.

The game itself was a battle worthy of this heated rivalry.Both the Longhorns and the Aggies forsook any semblance of defense, and took to marching up and down the field on one another in one of the most dramatic shootouts we have seen all year, tallying over 1100 yards of total offense.We witnessed two true Texas gunslingers in action as both Colt McCoy and Jerrod Johnson each threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns apiece.It was gutwrenching to be a part of the A&M faithful however, as every time they made a big play to knot the score, Texas would answer with a drive of their own.The Aggies just couldn’t seem to focus for two consecutive series and get a critical stop out of their defense.The final Aggie touchdown to bring them within three with 7:10 left on the clock was promptly met with a 95 yard Longhorn touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff.With 6:57 left to play this all but sealed the contest for Texas, left their unblemished record intact, and ensured them a spot in the Big 12 Championship game.

Final Score: 49-39

Another fantastic trip to Texas A&M, an incredible atmosphere to be a part of, and a phenomenal game to watch.Thanksgiving leftovers are better the day after anyway….

Special thanks again to our friend Christina for her help with tickets, we are truly grateful for your efforts in making our A&M visits so remarkable.And of course another shout to our friend Allison for meeting up with us for another College Station gameday, and subtly persuading her little brother to make “the right decision”….

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College Station Burger Duel: Koppe Bridge vs. Chicken Oil Company

After polling our extensive network of Aggie alums for food recommendations, two places kept emerging to the top of the heap: Koppe Bridge Bar & Grill and Chicken Oil Company.During my exhaustive pre screening process on both places, the consensus opinion was that Chicken Oil was a College Station institution while the upstart KoppeBridge had the better pure burger.

I decided to settle this the way I always do when faced with such a difficult dilemma: eat at both of them.

Saturday night following the Baylor game, we braved the inevitable line at KoppeBridge for a well earned post game feast.The 30 minute wait passed quickly as I chatted up an old timer in line behind me.An Aggie alum of ’56, he proudly boasted a flock of children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and neighbors that all followed his trail to A&M. To say that Aggies are generational would be an understatement.

The burger itself was well worth the wait.Thick, well seasoned and rather hefty, the burgers at KoppeBridge will certainly satisfy your appetite.Their fries are legitimate as well.Homemade, thinly cut and crispy, they are a perfect pairing with the Koppe burger.The only drawback I can report is that despite the liberal piling of cheese and bacon on my burger, it was a bit on the dry side.It took a few pulls off my Shiner bottle to wash the whole thing down, but certainly understandable given the post game volume influx.Make no mistake however, KoppeBridge puts out a solid burger.

http://www.koppebridge.com/

The second stop of our burger duel came on Sunday afternoon for a light bite before our three hour jaunt back to Dallas.As I stated in my invite below, Chicken Oil Company is a College Station institution, slinging burgers since 1977.In addition to serving hungry Aggies, Chicken Oil Company used to be a full service gas station (hence the name), but unfortunately they shut down the fuel pumps some years ago.The eclectic décor remains, however, and Chicken Oil is a veritable showcase of old gas stations signs, saddles and assorted other folksy trinkets.They also sport a rather impressive collection of taxidermy adorning the walls, which, as any reasonable individual can surmise, is the hallmark any fine dining establishment.

The burgers here are worthy of the atmosphere.On Allison’s recommendation, I promptly ordered up my Snuffy Burger (1/2 pounder) and opted for the obligatory bacon and cheese….for comparison sake of course.The burgers are thick, juicy and served between a hearty bun that doesn’t lose its integrity under the heft of the filling. The only drawbacks to report here were the fries, which just rolled off the Oreida truck, and the milkshake which was made with soft serve ice cream product (blasphemy).But the burgers are what count, and Chicken Oil serves up a great one.

http://www.dixiechicken.com/chickenoil/

The Verdict: For me the verdict was far simpler than I thought it would be.Chicken Oil is the runaway winner in unique atmosphere, and oh by the way….their burgers are better too.While the fare at Koppe Bridge is still excellent and certainly worth a visit, if you had stomach space for only one burger joint in College Station – Chicken Oil is your horse.

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Texas A&M – Midnight Yell Practice

There are precious few schools that share the same reputation for unrivaled school spirit and football tradition as Texas A&M.We approached this weekend with lofty expectations for the heralded Aggie experience, and I’m here to tell you that it over delivered on those big promises.

Nowhere is this more evident than at Midnight Yell Practice at Texas A&M.For those of you unfamiliar, Midnight Yell Practice at A&M is the bigger, badder older brother of the “Pep Rally” found at most schools.Held on midnight of Friday prior to home games, the Midnight Yell is an Aggie tradition that dates back to 1931, and gets the Aggie faithful pumped up for the coming matchup.

On this particular night, the Friday before the Baylor game, we yawningly made our way through a steady drizzle to the imposing confines of Kyle Field.As my watch rhythmically ticked close to midnight, I had doubts about attendance at this peculiar event given the soggy weather and late hour. I shortly became the most surprised greenhorn in the building when my ears were clapped by the cacophony of well over 15,000 fans locked arm in arm belting out “Varsity” above the band.

Lasting barely a half hour, yell practice is short and intense – the way that it ought to be.Guest speakers were limited to two, one of whom happened to be Rick Perry, the current governor of Texas (a 1972 alum and former Yell Leader himself).The “Yell Leaders” and Aggie Band own the rest of the airtime, reserved for cheering, singing and coaching the crowd through a slew of complex Aggie hand motions.This keeps yell practice a refreshingly quick and energizing event run by the students….for the students.

I dug up this video online which does a decent job capturing the spirit of this event.


To draw this many fans, on such a lousy night before the 6th home game of the year is quite remarkable, and a testament to the unique spectacle of the Midnight Yell in College Station.Given the opportunity for a home game experience at Texas A&M, Midnight Yell is an absolute must do.

In a word: Awesome.

A quick clarification on “Yell Leaders”: There are a handful of unique departures from the college football norm that you will find in College Station and the “Yell Leaders” are one such example.Texas A&M eschews traditional “cheerleaders”, opting instead for a small group of five male students to serve as the “Yell Leaders” for the student body.These five men, composed of three seniors and two juniors, are elected by fellow students (and is considered a highly significant honor to be chosen), and serve as the spirit organization for the university.Clad in bleached dress whites, they lead all the “yells” during sporting events, and are tasked with maintaining crowd intensity and direction throughout the game.

Yell leaders during Yell Practice

Yell leaders during the game

One last video that gives a bit of background about the Yell Leaders and their role during games.

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Gig’ em Aggies!


Howdy!

This weekend brings us to College Station, TX, where the 5-5 Aggies of Texas A&M (which stands for Agriculture and Mechanical for you city slickers in the Northeast) will be squaring off against the 4-6 Baylor Bears, whom some would argue are the perennial cellar dwellers of the Big 12.The Aggies have been streaky this year, but they are firmly established as one of the most storied and tradition laden programs in College Football, and widely considered as a preeminent game day experience.

I have heard about the football atmosphere at A&M for a few years now since moving to Texas, and it’s always been a curiosity of mine. There isn’t a single ring bearing Aggie alum that will pass up an opportunity to tell you just how steeped in tradition and remarkable the game day experience in College Station can be.Now if only they could tell me exactly what the hell “Gig’ Em” actually means I would be satisfied…

Now I was excited for this trip to begin with, but our friends Allison and Melissa have “gigged” (am I using that correctly?) together one of the most exhaustive itineraries that I have ever seen.Top to bottom they have loaded us with all the must see experiences to make our trip to College Station a memorable one.And the more I keep reading about Texas A&M the more excited and “gig”(gily) I get for this trip!

We already have our student tickets lined up in the senior section, and are going to be screaming our maroon clad selves hoarse as part of the spectacle of the famous “12th Man”, lest we face the ridicule of being labeled “2 percenters”. With over 80,000 bodies cramming the tiers at Kyle field, this will be the raucous atmosphere that A&M is noted for.

You can read about the 12th man, and the rest of the storied A&M traditions here:

http://traditions.tamu.edu/index.php?q=traditions

But the game festivities will actually be starting earlier than Saturday.Friday night will be the most interesting pre game experience that we have had thus far, as we foray into a unique A&M tradition called Midnight Yell Practice.While on the surface this may sound like a domestic disturbance gone wrong, it’s actually an Aggie tradition prior to every game.Upwards of 25,000 students, alumni and visitors congregate at Kyle field at the stroke of midnight to rehearse cheers for the next day.Like a pep rally on steroids, Midnight Yell gets the “12th Man” pumped up for the next opponent.Just make sure you bring a date to kiss for when the lights go out, and be mindful not to wear a hat….(so I’m told)

http://aggietraditions.tamu.edu/team/midnight.html

As usual, food will be a part of this adventure, and we have our customary lineup of lovely vegan café’s to sample from.Wait…what?

Snow’s BBQ – Brisket for breakfast anyone?Strange you might think, unless that brisket was from legendary Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, and considered to be the best that Texas has to offer.For those of you following closely at home, this will be our second stop at Snow’s on the College Football Tour.Given the fact that Lexington is only 52.1 miles away from College Station, you’d need the jaws of life to pry me out of my car before I get there.So haul yourself out of bed bright and early on Saturday morning to join us, because Snow’s is only open one day a week, and the meat sells out by 10AM.

http://www.snowsbbq.com/

Chicken Oil Company – Of course one of our eating pit stops after the game will be at the institutional Chicken Oil Company, which I am told is as delicious as it sounds.As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of dining establishments that sell both fine cuisine and diesel fuel at the same time.And while Chicken Oil unfortunately stopped selling gas a few years ago, the spirits of petroleum transfer lives on in this highly unique environment, and you can bet I will be sampling one of their famous burgers.

http://www.dixiechicken.com/chickenoil/

http://www.dixiechicken.com/chickenoil/menu.php

Dixie Chicken – Staying consistent with the Dixie Chicken enterprise, we will also be relaxing with a few beers on Saturday night at the Dixie Chicken Bar in College Station.The Dixie Chicken, which may eclipse Eskimo Joe’s as the most renowned pub we have visited, claims to serve more beer per square foot than any other bar in the U.S.Suffice to say it’s an A&M landmark, and I’ll be carving my name in the table after a few pints.

http://www.dixiechicken.com/dixiechicken/

Well that’s the lineup for this week, and whatever other fun we can manage to uncover in College Station.Let me know if you are interested, and of course snarky comments always appreciated.

BTHO Baylor (I’ll let you non Aggies decipher what that actually means).

Whoop!

-Jamin

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