Pigskin Pursuit

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

Tag: College Station (page 1 of 2)

Texas A&M: Aggies host Missouri

If you follow the schedule closely, I had originally planned for a trip to Wisconsin this past weekend to watch the Ohio State matchup. Regrettably, flight prices a few weeks ago had risen prohibitively high, and I had to pass yet again. This proved to be a rather unfortunate miss as it turned out to be the ESPN Gameday game, and had I attended it would have been the second week in a row of watching a #1 team get upset. Fortunately, a quick glance at the schedule revealed Texas A&M was in town, and I don’t need much convincing to head down to College Station for a game.

If you followed the blog at all last year, you know that I’ve been quite enamored with my trips to Aggieland, to the point that I would consider Texas A&M my adopted Texas team. There are few places in the country that can match the College Football atmosphere you will find in College Station, and I relish any trip down there. Irritatingly, however, the game was scheduled for an 11AM start in a stroke of scheduling ineptitude. Early start times completely deflate gameday atmosphere in my opinion. Fans have barely had a chance to roll out of bed by this time, and pre game tailgating is all but non existent. It makes for a flat, sluggish crowd, and College Station on Saturday was not up to its usual grandeur compared to some of the other trips I have taken there.


On the docket today was Missouri with their perfect 5-0 start to the season on the line. Given the Tigers dubious level of competition thus far, however, this figured to be a coin flip between Texas A&M and Missouri.

 

Unfortunately, the game was an absolute mess for the Aggies, who struggled to do anything all afternoon. The touted Tiger defense stifled the Farmers on offense, almost completely shutting them down until a late touchdown in garbage time. Not even the 12th man could rouse them out of their funk. This Aggie team has been a perplexing team to watch and especially frustrating for long time fans, as they came into the season with rather lofty expectations. Unfortunately, the year has been mired in wildly streaky play that leaves the Aggies on a performance rollercoaster. Prior to the year, I had picked them as an outside shot to win the Big 12 South given their abundance of returning playmakers, but they can’t seem to put it all together. Missouri walked away an unblemished 6-0, and ready for an epic tilt next week in Columbia against the unbeaten Sooners.

We’ll be returning to College Station again in a few weeks for a more “official” visit, and hopefully they can show up to play next time around.

Thanks to my friends Pat and Christine for coming down, as well as finally meeting Pat’s brother Ryan. I was long overdue to catch up with them for a game and get them some proper brisket commensurate with Pat’s discerning taste buds.

 

It was also great to meet up with my old roommate, and former Aggie, Federico. We were able to snap a photo with the 12th Man statue, proof that I was able to get him back for a game in College Station. Hopefully he manages to remember what real college football is like from his perch in New York City…not so long until the next visit my friend.

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Martins Place BBQ

 

Martin’s Place had been on my list for quite some time now, and after knocking out the famous burger joints in College Station last year, I thought it was high time to sample some cue’ in Aggieland. Martin’s place is an institution in Bryan, with continuous family ownership dating back to 1925. The original location was sold after surviving the Great Depression, and the family upgraded to the present brick location which dates back to 1939 and has since been registered a historical landmark. It’s a rare find to step into a building with this kind lineage and history oozes from the smoke tarnished walls. Countertops worn through from decades of diners plates scraping against the linoleum dot the horseshoe shaped bar, and I hurriedly straddled a stool like generations of hungry Texas before me.

After ordering up my usual three meat pile, I was crestfallen when my order arrived slathered in unsolicited sauce. The most heartbreaking aspect of this saucing was that I could tell this was extremely well prepared and lovingly smoked BBQ. The ribs were exceptional, cooked perfectly with a deep pinkish ring, and I managed to save one from the depths of red sauce. Brisket wasn’t so lucky, however. While I could tell it was smoked quite well from the texture, I just couldn’t get past the tangy sauce to get a full tasting. My last few morsels of brisket had quite literally been drown in sauce, and were beyond rescue.

Regardless of the sauce-tastrophe, I’d certainly like to hit Martin’s again and give it another shot with a dry order of meat. This is a place that does it right, as an inspection of the deeply charred smoke room quickly revealed. Pitmaster Steve warmly offered me a tour of these ancient brick pits, which have been chugging through post oak (with a touch of hickory) for over 71 years. Smoke and meat folks, there’s no big secret with proper BBQ, and I’ll be back for more.


If you’re looking for a touch of history and some fine smoked meat after your next Aggie game in College State, sidle on into Martin’s Place and plop down in a stool. Just ask them to hold the sauce….

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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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And now formed at the North end of Kyle Field, the Nationally famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band…

One of the unique elements of College Football pageantry that often goes overlooked are the bands.Bands are an integral part of game day atmosphere, and their constant energizing thrum is a traditional component of college football grandeur. They are certainly a welcome departure to the overplayed jock rock and hip hop that you will find annoyingly piped in at most professional games.While at most sporting events halftime is an opportunity to hit the concession stands for another round of ten dollar nachos, at a college football game the halftime shows featuring the precise marches of university bands are usually worth staying in your seat for.

Although we both enjoy a good band halftime show, after a host of college games this year all the bands start to feel irritatingly similar. There’s only so many times I can hear a trumpeted version of “Livin’ onPrayer” or “Thriller” before I lose my fist pumping enthusiasm.Given my lack of musical knowledge, I would be hard pressed to tell any of the bands apart, and I don’t profess the acumen to discern the most talented and organized bands from one another.

What I can tell you is that the Fightin’ Texas Aggie band flat out crushes any other college band either of us have ever seen…period.

And it’s not even close…

The Fightin’ Texas Aggie band is peerless among all the bands that we have seen this year, and a unique departure from other standard university marching bands.The Aggie band is the largest military marching band in the US, performing exclusively military drill.They eschew rehashing exhausted pop culture favorites, opting instead for traditional marches and military cadences.What truly sets the Aggie band apart, however, is their extraordinarily precise marching.These rigorous marches are a sight to behold, and their dizzying complexity is enough to hold 80,000+ gape jawed fans in near silence.It’s purported that some of these marches performed are so difficult they are considered impossible to execute according to computer marching simulations.

Put simply, if you ever have the fortune to witness a game at Kyle Field, when halftime rolls around skip the nachos and keep your haunches in your seat.

You can read more about the Aggie Band here:

http://www.aggieband.org/visitors-about.php

Or a more in depth Wikipedia article (detailing interesting facts like the band living together as a military unit, practicing 15 hours per week, and wearing custom made $1,000 boots)

http://www.aggieband.org/visitors-about.php

And of course a few videos.

The first is from the Thanksgiving Day game this year. If pressed for time, you may skip ahead to 1:08 for the famous announcement, or 2:05 for when the band begins playing.

The second video is a bit shakier, but includes some decent close ups demonstrating the complexity of the marches. Announcement at :40, music at 1:45.

 

 

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