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When you think of school spirit, it’s customary to think of stadiums awash in school colors, spine-tingling chants, and deep-seated hatred for the rival school’s (obviously) inferior traditions. But in Texas, “spirit” comprises all that and more. This week, while we examine the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University- College Station, we learn of traditions and campus lore as large as the Lone Star State itself. In a world of hand signals, slang, and centuries-old cheering teams, the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry pervades all nuances of life.
1. Mascot Matchup
Texas- Bevo the Longhorn, a particularly menacing-looking brand of cattle, is the pride of UT. The school’s colors, white and burnt orange, are an homage to Bevo’s hide. Bevo has made the rounds at several important functions, including the inauguration of President George W. Bush. Should you ever find yourself in conversation with someone from UT, say “Hook ’em, horns!” and flash the Longhorn hand signal.
Texas A&M- The Aggies–short for agriculture, as per the school’s name–also have a catchphrase and hand signal. It’s commonplace in College Station to sign off by saying “Gig ’em!” and giving the thumbs-up. Their official mascot is an American collie named Reveille, who is addressed by the student body as “Miss Reveille, ma’am,” since she is considered a Cadet General in the Aggie cadets.
Three credits to: Texas, where Bevo has the presidential seal of approval.
2. Terrific Traditions
Texas– The Hex Rally is held the week before the Texas-Texas A&M game, featuring performances by student organizations and a large candle-burning ceremony to unify the Longhorns before their most anticipated match up of the season.
Texas A&M– You’re not an Aggie unless you can sport your Aggie class ring. Awarded to seniors who have met certain degree requirements (and alumni upon graduation), the Aggie ring is the ultimate symbol of school pride and a networking device for life. Many believe the day an Aggie receives her ring is more sacred than commencement.
Three Credits to: Texas A&M, throw your (ring-adorned) hands up!
3. Lone Star Showdown Record
Texas – In the annual points-race competition between the two schools (where points are awarded for head-to-head match-ups or best Big 12 conference standing in each intercollegiate sport offered at both schools), Texas has taken home the title three times in the Showdown’s five-year history.
Texas A&M– The Aggies have won the Lone Star Showdown trophy for the past two years. However, despite an even tie last year between the schools, the title was awarded to A&M because Showdown rules dictate that in the event of a tie, the previous year’s winner retains the title.
Three credits to: Texas, for having three wins and a tie in the five-year event history.
4. Crowd-Rousing Cheers
Texas– Texas Fight, the official fight song of the Longhorns, is simple yet powerful. When the orange-and-white score, it’s time to throw up your horns and chant T-E-X-A-S TEXAS FIGHT!
Texas A&M- Instead of cheerleading, Aggies have Yell Leaders to pump up school spirit. The five-member Yell Leaders, a team since 1907, are comprised of three seniors and two juniors–traditionally all-male, because no females have yet been elected to the representative positions.
Three credits to: Texas, where the cheering is egalitarian (hey, this is a ladies’ website!).
5. Acceptance Rate Agony
Three credits to: Texas– the Longhorns by a long shot.
And the diploma goes to: Texas! They say everything’s bigger in the Lone Star State, and when it comes to this Southern rivalry, the Longhorns win big.