• Texas A&M lost to Texas, 49-9, last season. The 40-point loss was the second worst defeat in the series for the Aggies, second only to a 48-0 loss to the Longhorns in 1898.
• Texas A&M renews a series against old Southwest Conference rival Arkansas in 2009. It will be the first time that the old SWC opponents have met since 1991. The two teams are scheduled to meet each year through 2018. Give the Aggies credit for upping the ante in their non-conference schedule.
• Few schools are as steeped in tradition as Texas A&M. From the 12th man to Reveille to Midnight Yell practice, the Aggies of College Station have tradition down to a science.
The 12th Man
The tradition of the 12th Man was born in 1922, when Texas A&M was playing Centre College, then the nation’s top ranked team.
As the hard fought game wore on, and the Aggie bench became depleted, Coach Dana X. Bible remembered a squad man who was not in uniform. He had been up in the press box helping reporters identify players. His name was E. King Gill, and was a former football player who was only playing basketball.
Gill was called from the stands, suited up, and stood ready throughout the rest of the game, which A&M finally won 22-14. When the game ended, E. King Gill was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the Aggies.
Gill later said, “I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me.”
The tradition of “Standing by” was born, and to this day the entire student body stands throughout the game, ready to go in if called.
In 1931, some Aggie students accidentally struck a dog with their Model T. They took the injured collie back to their dorms. When the bugler sounded Reveille the next morning, the dog began barking loudly, and the dog had its name.
After Reveille accompanied the band onto the field for the first home game that fall, the Corps adopted her as their mascot. Thirteen years later, when Reveille died, she was given a full military funeral at Kyle Field.
The latest Reveille, Reveille VII, has been on campus since 2001. All the Reveilles have been commissioned as five star generals, making the mascot the highest ranking member of the Corps.
Dating back as far as 1913, the first actual Yell Practice began in 1931. Some freshman cadets suggested falling out and meeting at the steps of the YMCA at midnight. Senior Yell Leaders caught wind of the event, but instead of stopping it, joined in, and the tradition was born.
Today, Yell Practice is conducted at midnight on Fridays before every home game, and on Thursday nights before road games (plus some Yell Practices are held close to stadium of the opposition on Friday nights of road trips).
The Yell Leaders lead the band and the 12th man into the stadium, with practices for cheers (along with stories about how the team is going to beat up on the opposition) the main order of the evening.
The Yell Leaders are five students chosen by the student body. They are not cheerleaders in the traditional sense. Instead, they use a series of hand signals, or “pass backs”, to spur on the faithful.
• A charter member of the Southwest Conference, Texas A&M played in the SWC from 1915 to 1995, joining the Big 12 Conference in 1996.
• Texas A&M won the national championship in 1939. Little was known about the Aggies nationally, despite an undefeated regular season (part of the reason may have been some of the opponents in ‘39: Centenary, Santa Clara, and Villanova). That changed when Texas A&M defeated Tulane on the home field of the Green Wave, 14-13, in the 1940 Sugar Bowl.
• The Aggies Big 12 title came in 1998, when A&M upset Kansas State, 36-33, in the Big 12 Championship. A 24-14 loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl left Texas A&M with an 11-3 final record, and a No. 11 final ranking.
• Colorado leads the all-time series against Texas A&M, 5-2, with all seven games played since 1995. CU is 2-1 at College Station, with the only loss a 29-26 overtime setback in 2004.
• Famous alumni—football: John David Crow (Heisman trophy winner, 1957), John Kimbrough (fullback, 1939-40), Lester Hayes, Dat Nguyen, Mark Moseley, Tony Franklin
• Famous alumni—other: Lyle Lovett (singer), Jeff Maggert (golfer)