Pigskin Pursuit

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

Tag: Texas A+M vs Baylor 2009 (page 1 of 2)

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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Snow’s BBQ – Going back for seconds…

The only thing better than checking the #1 Barbecue place in Texas off your list, is returning a few months later for another lip smacking round of Texas finest smoked meat.With Snow’s BBQ a paltry fifty miles away from College Station, you can bet I set the alarm early on Saturday morning for a hearty breakfast of the smoked variety.

For those of you fresh to the blog, Snow’s BBQ is considered the best barbecue establishment in Texas.The pitmaster is a charming 70 year old woman named Tootsie, the joint’s only open on Saturdays, and you need to get there before 10am or they sell out of food.

You can refer to my previous post for a little more backstory, and the original review.

http://pigskinpursuit.blogspot.com/2009/09/snows-bbq.html

This time, I tried to do a better job of capturing the food in photos. All the food groups are well represented, chicken, sausage, pork ribs and beef brisket. Pay special note to the deep crust and uniform color on the brisket at the bottom.There is a reason this stuff is considered the best, and my review this time around is eerily similar to the last.

Amazing.

http://www.snowsbbq.com/

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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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