Pigskin Pursuit

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

Tag: College Station (page 2 of 2)

Lucky Penny – Penny’s Diner

If its one long standing gripe I’ve had with Texas thus far it’s the seemingly statewide aversion to the classic 24 hour roadside diner.While I can get gut bomb tacos and a shiv to the neck at a shady gas station 24 hours a day, finding an acceptable greasy spoon in this state has proven a rather elusive challenge thus far.

Imagine my delight then, when 30 minutes outside of College Station in a postage stamp of a town called Hearne, I spotted a shimmering oasis of stainless steel and neon edged off the side of Texas State Highway 6.The vaporous glow of Penny’s Diner backlit plastic pierced the black Texas night, and our post game meal was quickly decided.(This was the meal following our Thanksgiving Day game at A&M vs. Texas)

On the inside the Penny’s is every bit as consistent as any diner loving patron would hope for, checkered flooring and stainless steel abound.The no frills menu was a lineup of breakfast, burgers and assorted classic diner fare dished out at affordable prices.I promptly ordered up a three meat egg scramble.The food was simple, quick, tasty and ample.The way honest diner food should be.I don’t think you could order wrong at this place, and Penny’s certainly satisfies.

What I was quite delighted to discover at Penny’s, however, was a true chocolate milkshake.Chocolate shakes are one of the great heavenly libations bestowed upon us, and I consider myself a purveyor of these creamy delights.Unfortunately, the understated art of the chocolate milkshake is, sadly, a dying one, and it’s a rare treat that I find an establishment that knows their way around a steel mixing cup.There are two critical subtleties to a real chocolate shake, both of which were found at Penny’s and make it worthy of my high praise.

1.The shake was made with real ice cream.It’s a shame I even have to mention this, but in our fast paced modern world it seems most shake vendors opt for the shortcut route of making their blasphemous shakes with soft serve ice cream product.

2.The chocolate shake was made with chocolate ice cream.The inferior, bastardized version that many of you may be familiar with involves vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.How this offensive practice ever became commonplace is a mystery to me, but I for one consider it a pox on the shake world.I ordered a chocolate shake for a reason, and only chocolate ice cream and syrup will properly satiate my chocoholism.

So if you ever find yourself cruising down Highway 6 in Hearne, Texas with a hankering for some classic roadside diner fare, pull on in to Penny’s Diner and settle into a booth for a quick bite.Just don’t forget the chocolate shake…

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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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