This weekend, the Auburn and Texas A&M football teams are meeting on the gridiron for the fourth time in the programs' histories. It will be Auburn's first ever trip to College Station to face Texas A&M on the historic turf of Kyle Field. As Auburn Tiger fans invade Central Texas, they will find many similarities between the two institutions and fan base. There are several things that Aggies would like you to know before you set out on your trip.
The Memorial Student Center was dedicated in 1951 to honor the Texas Aggies who perished during World War I and World War II. The center serves as a hub for academic and cultural resources for students while highlighting the rich military tradition found at Texas A&M. You will find the Hall of Honor inside which provides tribute all Aggies who have fallen in service to our country. It also provides recognition to Texas A&M's eight Medal of Honor recipients. Out of respect for the fallen, the students ask that you stay off the grass surrounding the building while removing your hats when you enter the interior.
Though the organization accounts for less than 4 percent of the university's more than 50,000 students, it is a foundational component to upholding the traditions and values of the university. Make sure you arrive at the stadium early to catch the corps "step-off" from the quad and "March In" the stadium to report for the game. The corps is considered to be the "Keepers of the Spirit" at Texas A&M and still has a strong presence on what is now a large and diverse campus. However, the Corps of Cadets plays a pivotal role in Texas A&M maintaining its title as one of six senior military colleges in the United States (Virginia Tech, North Georgia College and State University, Norwich University, The Citadel, Virginia Military Institute).
At the heart of Texas A&M tradition, is that of Bonfire. Bonfire is a tradition that burns in the heart of every Aggie to this day. On Nov. 18, 1999, Bonfire, held annually before Texas A&M's rivalry game with the University of Texas at Austin, collapsed while under construction. The incident took the lives of 12 Aggie students involved in the erection of the massive structure. The event has been indefinitely postponed as an official on campus event, but the memory of those lost and injured stands tall at Bonfire Memorial. The memorial was placed at the site of the collapse. When you stand in the center of the memorial you can peer through large windows facing the hometown of each of the 12 fallen Aggies.
4) The 12th Man
The 12th man is a tradition that dates back to 1922 when E. King Gill was called from the stands to suit up for an injury ravaged Aggie football team. Gill never saw action in the game, but he stood on the sideline ready to step in if needed. That readiness continues today as the largest student section in college football refuses to take a seat while their team is on the field. Each student will stand and yell to serve their part in supporting the team. When the opposition turns to view the home sideline, they'll be listening to the tune of about 30,000 students. Texas A&M has official rights to "12th Man" trademark. You may see it imitated elsewhere, but the one and only 12th man can be found in Aggieland.
Midnight Yell is a tradition that takes place at midnight prior to each football game. Midnight Yell could be considered to be a pep rally on steroids. The Aggies do not have cheers, but they do have a series of rehearsed yells which are shouted in unison. All yells are orchestrated by yell leaders who have been elected by the student body. The yell leaders will throw out a signal that designates a specific yell, and the students will pass the signal behind them for everyone to get ready. Midnight Yell is a unique opportunity to get an up close look at Aggies doing what Aggies do -- and that's make a lot of noise.
The Aggies would like you to know that halftime is not for taking an opportunity to run to the restroom. The Aggie Band does not put on the typical collegiate halftime performance. The band is a branch of the A&M Corps of Cadets and conducts difficult formations across the field with a military type discipline. There will be moments of awe as you watch. The performance will end with your respect.
Howdy is a term that Aggies use to greet others. Howdy symbolizes the friendliness and hospitality of the Aggie spirit. As you walk through campus and encounter tailgates, you'll certainly hear this word on multiple occasions. All it means is pull up a chair, grab a beer and stay for a while. Be sure to depart giving them a big War Eagle.
After the game, Aggies would like to invite you to enjoy some food and beverages at Northgate. Northgate is the campus bar and restaurant scene. Here you will find the infamous Dixie Chicken -- or the Chicken. There are several types of bars and restaurants in the area, so it's sure to please no matter what scene you're set out to find.
The Aggies do enjoy gloating about the fact that they stopped Auburn's Heisman winning running back four times for no gain in the 1986 Cotton Bowl Classic's fourth quarter. The newspaper headlines read: Bo No Go at Co Bo How about we return the favor and shut down their Heisman winning quarterback this weekend.
The Aggies would like to extend the hand of hospitality to the Auburn Tigers which they graciously received on their visit to the Plains last Fall. Though we may have our differences on the field, Auburn and Texas A&M come from the same roots. We are of the same mold and Aggies would like you to know that you will fit in well at Texas A&M. When you head to College Station, be ready to enjoy some good fans, good BBQ and good football.
War Eagle and Gig 'em!