The Top 12 – Part Deux
A few weeks back, Rusty Burson’s countdown in the 12th Man Magazine’s of Top 60 moments in the last 60 years of Aggie Athletics inspired me. While it’s over a much shorter time period, I’ve now detailed the Top 12 Tailgating moments (good and bad) for our Texas A&M Tailgating crew.
In a previous post I walked through #’s 12 – 7. Now for the Top 6.
#6 – The Game Isn’t Over–10-14-2006 – vs. Missouri Tigers – 25 to 19 – W
On a perfect weather day, in a game that the Aggies should have arguably lost, Texas A&M held on to beat the #21 ranked Missouri Tigers.
The real game ball goes to the post game activity though. Legendary Texas Sports Writer Dan Cook of the San Antonio Express-New once wrote, “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings”. For the first time, the tailgating crew participated in karaoke after the game.
#5 – And Still Undefeated – 10-29-2005 – vs. Iowa State – 14 to 42 – L
The Texas A&M fighting Aggie Band ALWAYS wins halftime. In a 2005 game vs Iowa State, A&M was down 21-14 at halftime. A couple of us were ready to head back to the tailgate toward the end of the first half. Things were already looking bad in what ultimately turned out to be a ho-hum 5-6 campaign.
However, we decided to stay. The Aggie band performs with such precision and they are mesmerizing to watch. Check out this video from A Few Good Men, which actually is the Texas A&M Aggie Corp of Cadets Band members.
After the Band won halftime we left with an idea that we could make it back to our seats later in the game. Unfortunately, our tailgate team and the Aggies never came back. Final score 42-14. We stayed at the tailgate for the rest of the day and evening and night and into the morning. A bad game, ironically, resulted in a great tailgate.
#4 – Back-to-Back the Right Way – 11-23-2007 – vs. Texas – 38 to 30 – W
Midway through the middle of 2007 we decided that we were going to provide a jersey to my wife for all the pregame meals and the little things that added up to big things that she was taking care of for the crew. We were hoping to give her the jersey on a game that we thought we could win, but in an up and down season we started to run out of dates.
As the final game approached we discussed postponing the ceremony until the following year because we expected that the Longhorns—after having lost to us the prior year in Austin—would be sufficiently motivated to return the favor in College Station. It had been a long year for Coach Franchione—what with the e-mail scandal and all–and even though many felt like the only way he could save his job was with a win over the #11 Longhorns they were heavy favorites as they rolled into Kyle Field.
The guys presented the jersey in a pre-game ceremony, we had a great tailgate and then walked over to the game expecting that it would be a long night. The game ended up being a shocker and the jersey a good luck charm. Ironically, on our way home we found out that Coach Fran—despite back-to-back wins over our arch rivals—had been fired.
#3 – Back-to-Back the Wrong Way – 11-04-2006 vs. Oklahoma – 16 to 17 – L and 11-11-07 vs. Nebraska – 27 to 28 – L
ESPN College Game Day came to town for the first of back-to-back night games at Kyle Field for a game against Oklahoma. We arrived early that day and found a GREAT, new tailgating spot—or so we thought.
The grass WAS greener than our traditional spot AND the new location had much, much more tailgating room. We could throw footballs around. We were closer to the stadium. The portable restrooms were nearby and clean. We thought we had found one of the best places tailgating locations on campus. It took us two weeks to find out we were in the wrong place.
Late In the 4th quarter of a closely contested, smash mouth football game, Coach Franchione opted to kick a field goal on fourth and less than a yard—despite having the 6’0”, 295 pound Jorvorskie Lane available. A monster of a man, the guy’s nickname is J-Trane because he favors a locomotive and because that’s what it feels like when you try to tackle him.
The field goal cut the lead to one. Later in the 4th, with about two minutes remaining, Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops, choose a different path and went for it on 4th and 2 on his own side of the field AND converted. The 12th Man at Kyle Field was oh so loud and the game oh so close, but a day and a tailgating location filled with promise ended on a solemn note ad a one point loss.
A week later, we came back to the exact same tailgating spot. Timing and good fortune were ours. We thought we had found a new tailgating home.
Unfortunately though, the sick feeling from the week before returned when Texas A&M missed an extra point on a touchdown. These things have a tendency to catch up with you.
Later, Maurice Purify from Nebraska made a leaping, twisting catch on a pass from Zac Taylor with 21 seconds left on the clock to tie the game. The extra point won the game.
Back-to-back one point losses in what ended up being a 9-4 season.
Normally after a game we stay at the tailgate to let the traffic clear out. Not this time. We broke down our equipment in record time and sat in the traffic—stunned by back-to-back one point losses. While we waited, we agreed that we would never set foot upon our new tailgate spot ever again.
#2 – Triple OT, Moving Stadiums and Rainbows – 09-08-2007 vs. Fresno State – 47-45 – W
In what promised to be an uneventful game, the Bulldogs and Aggies battled in a Triple OT thriller. It happened to be the first tailgate where we encountered rain. We learned that a game plan for electronic equipment is important. We didn’t lose any equipment, but we had to hustle.
Overtime games are rare enough, but Triple OT plays out with so many twists and turns that it’s incredible. As the OT’s progressed, the student body starting moving back and forth across the top deck of Kyle Field to track the action. This video gives you an idea of what it looked like. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.
After the game, back at the tailgate, one of our new tailgaters learned the powerful and painful lesson that tailgating is a marathon and not a sprint.
#1 – We’ll Be Back – 11-13-1993 vs. Louisville – 42 to 7 – W
The first Texas A&M game that my wife and I attended was in 1993. We were engaged at the time and had the opportunity to pet Reveille VI–A&M’s collie mascot–as a puppy during the game in which he took over for the retiring Reveille V.
Pre-game tailgating didn’t exist back then—especially like it does today, but there was the feeling that we’d be back. Almost 17 years later we’re looking forward to our 6th season of Texas A&M tailgating.
For a link to the rest of the list click here.