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:
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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You are such a good writer! I am very entertained by this. Your blog includes two of my favorite things: college football and food!
Just a small correction on names. Texas A&M started out as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, and was a true Ag and Engineering school as it developed. In the 1960’s, the vision to expand TAMC into a megga university dictated a change in the naming convention to reflect the scope of the institution was being radically altered. After a number of battles over what to call this rapidly expanding school, the legislature settled on “Texas A&M University”, with the A&M simply being a place holder without meaning. To emphasize that, it was specified that the symbol would be the combination of the letters A and M, with the & symbol in between, with no spacing to denote the letters did not stand for anything.
So, the “A&M” actually was defined as a symbol with no meaning, other than as a way to honor the traditions of the institution, and to bind its former and current students to the same heritage.
And “Gig ’em” refers to the rather Southern hunting practice of using a spear with a barbed, two or three pronged head to stab and retreive frogs. So, “Gig ’em” actually means to spear your opponent. The thumbs up gesture used by Ags when they say “Gig ’em” is believed by many to be the first college hand signal. “Gig ’em” was first proposed at a yell practice before a TCU game.
Thanks for the history David! I actually hadn’t heard the A&M origins before, so that’s a new insight I wasn’t familiar with. I eventually heard the Gig Em’ story after my first game there, however this post was written before my first ever visit. “Gig Em'” is one of those funny little anecdotes that starts as a random occurrence 100 years ago and then becomes honed into tradition over time. One of the interesting nuances of the College Game… Enjoy the blog!
I was in the band in the 70’s, so these posts warmed my little BQ heart. I read through a few of your posts on other rivalries, and am most impressed you have been able to get to all these games. Much harder than most people would imagine I’ll bet. Thanks for the insight into what other colleges do (I’ve never been to a college game that did not involve A&M, the University of Tampa or UF.