Pigskin Pursuit

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

Tag: Kyle Field

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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Texas A&M vs. Baylor…..Whoop!

Plagued by yet another bout of rainy weather, on Saturday we braved the steady drizzle to witness our first game at Kyle Field pitting the Aggies of Texas A&M against the formidable Bears of Baylor University.In spite of the dreary weather, we were invigorated by the awe inspiring pep rally the night before, and the 40 yard line student section seats expertly procured by our friend Christina.As you have heard me preach before, student sections are the lifeblood of any college stadium atmosphere, and our fortune put us in the heart of the action between the Aggie Band and the Aggie Corpsman.

The in stadium atmosphere at Kyle Field is simply awesome.Despite the inclement weather and a lackluster opponent, 82,106 bodies packed the house to cheer on their Aggies.Additionally, the student section at A&M is widely considered among the great student sections in College Football.Unlike many other student sections which are tucked into a awkward corner of the stadium, at A&M the students enjoy some of the best seats in the house straddling the 50 Yard line. The students respond by standing the entire game, never leaving early, and continuously cheering through a series of complex “yells” directed by the Yell Leaders.The energy never takes a break, and you are cheering on every play.Of course all of this support contributes to what is famously known as the A&M 12th man…

The “12th Man” is an Aggie legend referring the always standing and vociferous students playing an active role in the game.It’s not only a moniker, but the term is emblazoned in block letters on the façade of the second tier.Furthermore tradition dictates that one lucky student, from among hundreds that tryout, is permitted a spot on the kickoff team during live Aggie games.The student wears the cherished #12 jersey, and is honored as a live representative of the 12th man during game action.You can read or watch about the entire history of this unique tradition below.

http://aggietraditions.tamu.edu/team/12thman.html

The game itself was predictably lopsided, as without their injured star quarterback Robert Griffin, the Baylor offense has sputtered all season.While their enigmatic defense managed to put the brakes on Baylor, the Aggie offense has been dominating the Big 12 all season, and recently laid a 65 point lashing on the Oklahoma Sooners a week before.The passing attack was led by quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who has quietly put up season statistics comparable to his ballyhooed neighbor to the South and heralded Heisman hopeful; Colt McCoy.On the ground, the Aggie rushing attack is equally formidable between the backfield tandem of Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray.In fact, phenom freshman running back Michael peeled of an impressive 97 yard touchdown run early in the second quarter that turned out to be the longest running play in Aggie history.This would prove to be the first of his two touchdowns and 116 yards on the day.Between the freshman Michael and stud sophomore Cyrus Gray (who ran for 106 yards himself), the future of the imposing Aggie ground attack is in talented hands.The Bears went down with nary a fight.

Final Score: Texas A&M 38 – Baylor 3.

But much to our delight, the festivities at Kyle Field hardly end after the final whistle.One final touch capping off this phenomenal experience, is that Kyle Field is open to the public following home games.Fans are free to mingle on the field, boot a few through the uprights, toss the pigskin around with the kids, and dive headfirst over the pylon.This is a rare, yet subtle touch that encapsulates the mutual respect that Texas A&M has for its fans and alumni.Every University should take note.

In the end, I would be hard pressed to think of a more complete and quintessential college football game day environment than Texas A&M.Between the passionate, generational fan base, the raucous student section standing the entire game, a student led pep rally that is second to none, Yell Leaders in place of pom-poms, a band that utterly dominates all other University bands (more on this to come), a field open to the public after games, great “college town” vibe, the 12th Man, and a storied program steeped in tradition, Texas A&M earns it’s reputation among the top of all College Football atmospheres.It is quite simply the most complete game day experience that you will find, and truly a treasure among College Football.

Gig Em’ Aggies!Whoop!

Big thanks to our friend Christina for the special experience of student tickets.More thanks to our Aggie friends Allison and Melissa, for putting together a spectacular itinerary for us and introducing us to the Aggie tradition.Thanks to Fed for the jersey, and Pablo for correcting a few of my oversights…

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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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