Sawed Off

An ode to Texas A&M

By John Griffin

Farmers’ Plight

There’s a tradition at Texas A&M I’m quite fond of. As the Aggies sing their War Hymn (a lovely fight song all about hating “Texas University”) the sea of Maroon at Kyle Field locks arms and sways back and forth. “Saw varsity’s horns off!” The words can be heard for miles.

Texas A&M may not have been sawing off the horns of Bevo on Saturday, but cutting off the tusks of the vaunted #1 Crimson Tide should suffice. Especially after what’s been a long, difficult decade for the Aggies.

Although I’m a Jayhawk, I must admit: a bit of maroon runs through my veins. My mother is an Aggie, and some of the earliest memories I have of football come from Texas A&M.

Over the years, as I watched games and seasons and losses compile, all I could think was that no school in America deserved a great team like Texas A&M. The last time they won their conference and played in a BCS game was 1998. Since then, the Aggies have won a mere 67% of their games, they’ve never won 10 or more games in a year, and they only finished ranked twice.

Yet the passion for Aggie football never died down, never deflated in the slightest. Anyone who’s been to College Station on a Saturday will tell you that Aggies are the most passionate group of fans in college football. The 12th Man is more than a home field advantage to Aggies: it’s a way of life. A way of life that dictates standing for all 4 quarters, yelling until you can’t feel your throat, and then yelling some more.

And also hating “Texas University.” A lot.

I know there’s a stigma around the national perception of Texas A&M. To many, A&M is “the other school” in Texas, overshadowed by the University of Texas for decades. When A&M was tired of being “the little guy” and getting pushed around by Texas not only athletically, but financially as well (cough cough, Longhorn Network), A&M departed for the SEC West. Most were expecting the situation to get even rougher for the maroon and white.

My my, how wrong we were.

Lowering the Tide

1st year coach Kevin Sumlin and freshman QB Johnny Manziel have put together a season for the ages in Aggie lore, culminating in #15 Texas A&M’s 29-24 upset of the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Aggies darted out to a 20-0 lead on the back of remarkable efforts of Manziel and the defense, but Alabama came charging back later in the game. It wasn’t hard to imagine that the Crimson Tide would end up snatching away a victory from A&M, who already lost to Florida and LSU in 2nd half collapses. With Alabama at the A&M 2-yard-line, down 24-29 with less than 2 minutes to go, another Aggie collapse seemed to be coming to fruition, but the Texas A&M “Wrecking Crew” defense stood tall, intercepting Tide QB A.J. McCarron and sealing the game.

As a result, the national championship picture has been turned on its head, and the Aggies have the great team they deserve.

Player of the Week

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel looks like a Heisman winner in my book. 345 all-purpose yards against Alabama is quite a feat, but Manziel did it with style. Perfect throws zipped through Bama’s secondary, and one of his touchdown passes (see below) was outright miraculous.

Play of the Week

Easy. Manziel’s inexplicable 25-yard TD pass to Ryan Swope. 

The Week Ahead

New #1 Oregon faces one more test in #14 Stanford.

#2 Kansas State faces a tricky game in Waco when they take on Baylor.

Both of these teams should be on upset alert.

Less Aggie talk. I promise.