As a rational human being, you probably already despise Johnny Manziel. But why stop there? Now that he’s run, thrown, and autographed Texas A&M into the national spotlight, you’ve got a whole university to intensely dislike. From our Austin edition, here’s a primer on why hating the Aggies is totally justified, and fun. (Editor's Note: the author of this post fully admits that Texas hasn't won a national championship since 1970, and that Vince Young hasn't won a national championship since 2005, and that maybe frustration had something to do with this.)
1. They have so much school spirit it’s terrifying A&M doesn’t have freshman orientation. They have a cult indoctrination period known as “Fish Camp” that involves bussing thousands of impressionable teenagers and 900 counselors to an even crappier town than College Station so they can spend four days (four days!) learning fight songs in an auditorium and then finger-blasting each other in an allegedly air-conditioned cabin. If David Koresh had been interested in Agricultural and Mechanical, he would have matriculated here.
2. They don’t have cheerleaders, they have Yell Leaders
Technically, this almost isn’t true anymore -- in 2009, they finally got a “competition squad”, aka a cheerleading squad that’s barely funded and coached by a volunteer who doesn’t even know basic Gabrielle Union moves. In any event, the real stars are a bunch of crew-cut, overall-wearing wackos who incite the crowd through complex hand signals, the reading of which being just one of the many exciting things you learn during Fish Camp.
3. They kiss their dates after every touchdown
As AggieAthletics.com puts it, “When the team scores, the Aggies score! When the Aggies score a touchdown and the cannon fires, that's the symbol for Aggies to grab their dates and give them a kiss, affectionately known as ‘mugging down’.”
In other words, you’re going to spend 2013 wishing Manziel had gotten a longer suspension, and wondering when AggieAthletics.com turned into UrbanDictionary.com.
4. They claim they invented “The 12th Man” (they didn't), and that this makes them better than you
“The 12th Man” was first used to describe supportive fans by one E.A. McGowan, a captain on Iowa's 1905 squad, in a 1912 edition of The Iowa Alumnus (here is the whole exciting newsletter!).
Check out the last paragraph! Stealing phrases from Iowans is the least American thing you can do, although to be fair, Aggies do have a super-impressive tradition of never sitting down even once during games, making it easier for stadium employees to spot them pulling out their flasks before they get any stupider.
As for that time in 1922 when Aggie coach Dana X. Bible suited up some random from the stands, well, that guy didn’t even end up playing -- he just stood quietly on the sidelines like you’ll wish those Yell Leaders would.
5. They’ll never hate your school as much as they hate the Texas Longhorns
Their "war hymn" is based on a song called "Good-bye to Texas University". They’re not gonna stop singing it. That swaying thing they do is called “sawing Varsity’s [UT’s] horns off”. They’re not gonna stop doing it -- in fact, they just erected a statue depicting 12 students in the act of sawing. Basically, if your team’s fans were having hate-sex with A&M fans, the A&M fans would be thinking about hate-sex with UT fans, begging the question: do they even want to be in this relationship?
6. College Station
Aggies will argue that this horrible epicenter of humidity and shirtless fighting is one of the best college towns in the country. That can’t possibly be true, because it’s not even a town. It’s just a station.
7. The Corps will beat the crap out of you if you rush Kyle Field
Kyle Field is NOT a war memorial, but that’s the excuse Corps cadets have psychotically used whenever they’ve physically assaulted anyone who sets foot on it. Back in ‘81, TV cameras caught one “Officer of the Day” drawing his saber on a male SMU cheerleader, only to be shoved to the ground by the cheerleader’s squad-mate. These days, the sabers are welded to their scabbards so that no more cadets need ever suffer that kind of humiliation.
You’ll think, “Oh, what a cute Collie” until you learn that this stupid dog is the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets (“Cadet General”), and therefore directly responsible for their kicking the shit out of you after you rush the field.
9. Midnight Yell Practice
The idea that yelling had to be practiced first came up in 1913, when a bunch of geniuses started getting together to “learn heartily the old-time pep” (back then, even Aggies talked like they went to Harvard!). Anyway, now it involves 25,000 peppy idiots screaming at Kyle Field the night before home games, and at a designated spot in enemy territory before away games. Try not to be there.
10. Bear Bryant and Gene Stallings
Bear Bryant won zero national championships at A&M. He was most famous for nearly murdering a bunch of players who also won zero national championships at A&M, including Gene Stallings. These dudes belong to the Crimson Tide, so just let them go already.
11. The Jizz Jar
Aggies might or might not have a tradition of spilling their man-seed into a jar and then setting the jar on fire because it somehow represents the hated UT Tower. Whether or not this is true is a hot topic of debate on way too many message boards, but scenes like this make it seem almost certain that the Jizz Jar is no myth.
12. They’re the nouveau riche douchebags of college football
According to Forbes, A&M’s average home ticket-booth price jumped from $136 to $200+ after switching conferences, with re-sale skyrocketing even more (secondhand Alabama tickets are going for an astonishing $744). But no matter how disgustingly wealthy the SEC and Johnny Football make them, if they beat you, they’re still going to rub their salt-of-the-earth in your wound.
13. They’re a perennial waste of talent
The Aggies probably won’t win it all with Manziel, just like they didn’t win it all with those legendary defenses back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s (Sam Adams, Aaron Glenn, Quentin “Best Hit Ever” Coryatt, Sean “Quentin’s Little Brother” Coryatt…). If you decide to fall in love with this team instead of hating them, you’ll just end up hating them even more.