Texas A&M mascot Reveille along with Yell Leaders before an NCAA college football game against Idaho in College Station, Texas. In the last few months one of the school's initiatives has been taking to Facebook, Twitter and various SEC forums to educate people about A&M and answer questions concerning some of the unique traditions of the once all-male military school. They've found that people are intrigued by the male-only Yell Leaders and want to know more about the 12th man. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 8:13 PM
Well, not bad actually. It only took two days into full, card-carrying Southeastern Conference membership for Texas A&M to step in something.
The over-under was 11 hours.
But when the Aggies decided to get it over with, break the ice and embarrass themselves and their new conference, by golly they nailed it.
You might even say they, ahem, gigged it.
I’m guessing the rest of the SEC was laughing like hyenas until they realized the Aggies are now somewhat family. The very first SEC-specific Aggie joke.
The uproar revolves around a commercial that A&M produced, apparently of sober mind, welcoming themselves into the baddest conference in the land.
You can catch it at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWe8EhUiAUM&feature
But be advised, it’s not for the easily embarrassed. Normally the SEC surely isn’t. Just walk around any pregame tailgate zone, visit any recruiting website’s message board, and you’ll know not much makes this conference blush.
But this was way over the top.
Basically, the cheery spot has 13 wide-eyed, culturally diverse Aggie students probably thinking they were showing their new-found SEC pride by trying out some of their new rivals’ traditional chants, gestures and wackiness.
They all need a litmus test.
You have a very awkward Gator chomp, a poor girl actually woof-woofing for Georgia, an excruciatingly dull “Roll Tide,” a confused Ole Miss “Hotty Toddy,” a “Geaux Tigers” that looks like the poor lass is reading from a cue card, and we won’t even mention South Carolina’s role in all of this.
All were wearing predominantly A&M apparel while accessorizing with the school they were chosen to mimic.
Which meant one poor, impressionable young man had to wear an ill-fitting plastic Arkansas hog hat while doing the Souiee.
Another took an unfortunate stab at the Mississippi State cowbell a cappella and, frankly, “Anchor Down” for Vanderbilt is a new one on me.
It makes you wonder, did this kind of kumbaya go on in the Big 12? If so, Aggies, it’s time to click your heels.
The only socially acceptable excuse for wearing a hog hat — some call them pig lids — is if you’re a Razorbacks fan (can’t be helped) or perhaps if you’ve lost a bet (your own fault).
Those Mississippi State fans spend years perfecting the cowbell clank. It’s not something to be attempted on a whim (or even a bet) without proper training.
To their credit, the Aggie students who drew the short straws to star in this thing didn’t seem to really have their Aggie hearts in it.
They were clearly uncomfortable (possibly embarrassed). So these were actually half-hearted attempts at “Go Vols,” for instance, and a very lackadaisical “War Eagle!”
In fact, one begins to suspect that this is actually a parody of some sort, perhaps an ill attempt at satire, maybe a fraternity prank, and that the Aggies are about to get the last laugh here.
But then you remember A&M has no fraternities.
And then the school president marches front and center into the screen with his merry “Up With Aggie People” brigade surrounding him.
It also appears he’s wearing either a purple-and-gold or perhaps black-and-gold bow tie.
This is unacceptable attire for an SEC school president, unless he’s at Vanderbilt, and certainly not to be attempted by a school proud of its military leanings.
The president — smiling warmly, of course — delivers a good-natured warning that the SEC can expect a lot of proud “Gig ‘em, Aggies” coming soon to a stadium near them.
Well, that’s a start.
Yes, the SEC is somewhat of a family, often close-knit, more often in a dysfunctional way.
But never, under any circumstances, did you actively participate in a rivals’ cheerleading.
No, what the SEC schools do, which is unique to the conference, is to start chanting “S-E-C! … SEC!” when hammering an out-of-conference opponent, especially in bowl games.
If anything the SEC does get under the Big Ten’s skin, this is it. That’s probably why they enjoy it so much. “Tiger Bait,” they can handle. “SEC” drives them bonkers.
It’s become quite a tradition at the end of the annual SEC national championships.
But that’s about it for the solidarity, and there are exceptions even to this rule of thumb.
Some 20 years ago Alabama — coached by likable ex-Aggie Gene Stallings — won one of its too-many-to-count national championships, but surely one of the few when the Tide was America’s sympathetic choice going in.
Bama’s upset of one of the Miami Hurricanes’ more renegade outfits in the title game was surely a victory for truth, justice, decorum and the American way.
The Tide, for once, was roundly, almost universally, applauded from near and afar, by friend and usual foe alike.
Well, almost universally.
There was one dock on a bay down in Orange Beach, Ala., where an Auburn fan still had his War Eagle flag flying proudly the next morning.
Flying proudly, as it were ... at half staff.
Aggies, that’s the way it’s done around here. Hopefully, you’ll get the hang of it.
But if that promo shows up during an actual football game’s commercial break touting A&M, the SEC needs to examine the fine print in that expansion contract.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org