Texas A&M: The Corps
Texas A&M used to be an all-boys military school, and it shows. Military traditions are still predominant in College Station and The Corps is at the heart of it all. The Corps is a military training unit for A&M students, and in many ways, the center of school spirit at the secluded university. The Corps sports over one thousand members and dominates the social scene on campus. In addition, The Corps takes care of the school mascot Reveille (a dog which not only enjoys 24/7 pampering by military seniors but also enjoys the privilege of ending any class it attends simply by barking) and also provides A&M with its incredible military marching band, which performs in fatigues at all home games.
The Corps is serious business at A&M, and its students take great pride in this General Patton quote:
"Give me an army of West Point graduates and I'll win a battle. Give me a handful of Texas Aggies and I'll win the war."
And by the way, this, BC, is a marching band half-time show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD6-pNCD06Q
Tradition I Would Like to Be a Part of
Texas Tech Masked Rider
If you don't want to be the Texas Tech masked rider than you never had a childhood and have no idea what college football is all about. Before each game, Tech has a masked rider fly onto the field, pretend guns a-blazing, before a packed house of screaming, insane college football fans. Although the tradition is slightly over the top, so are all of the best college football traditions (I'm looking at you Mississippi State and USC).
This was the best youtube video I can find but it really doesn't do the tradition justice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcW7Up7nIaU
Worst Football School
Texas State University
Texas State reminds me a lot of what BC sounds like it was pre-Flutie when I talk to some older alumni. It is at the bottom of the food chain in terms of Texas schools, and its claim to fame is that it is the alma matter to a certain Lindon Baines Johnson. Originally named Southwest Texas, the university was renamed in order to shed its party-school image (after walking around campus, it doesn't look like the name-change accomplished much). At 4-7 their aspiring D-I program leaves a lot to be desired and I'm not sure they'll ever make the jump from the FCS. There are also no big traditions to speak of, although I find it a little funny that they term themselves "The Rising Star of Texas" on their webpage.
Worst Football Tradition
Bevo the Mascot: University of Texas
Surprised? Me too. However, the name "Bevo" sounds like something made up on the fly by people who were incredibly unimaginative. Turns out, some A&M Aggies snuck up on the mascot Longhorn one night and branded him with the score of a recent UT beat-down, 13-0. Instead of getting a new steer, UT decided to fix the branding, connecting the one and the three, making the dash an "E," sneaking in a "V," and keeping the "O" as is.
While most schools would try to turn the page on such a prank as quickly as possible, UT stuck with the name, and now A&M can claim credit for having a part in the naming of the UT mascot. Imagine if BC wanted to keep a name that resulted from a Notre Dame prank. Best Football in Texas. Worst Tradition in Texas. UT.
The only saving grace here is that apparently "Bevo" was a popular beer in the Austin area at one point in time (and by that I mean the early 1900s...I'm thinking a cousin of PBR?). To see the complete "Bevo" story, click here: http://www.texasescapes.com/MikeCoxTexasTales/174-UT-Football-Team-Mascot-Longhorn-Bevo.htm
I never made it to either TCU or Southern Methodist but hopefully on my next visit I can work the two of them. It really is incredible just how many football schools the state of Texas has compared to the Northeast, where a state is lucky to have one or two at most. Granted, the immense landmass the state encompasses works in its favor (you know things are big in Texas when someone tells me "Oh, I was up by Boston College the other day. We were right on the Hudson River.") but football is truly king down here which makes things a little more interesting.
Hopefully someday BC be up there with some of these schools in terms of kick-butt traditions, but to do this we will need Gene and his staff to continue experimenting with what gets the crowd excited and ready to participate in the game. Remember, college football is part football, part spectacle, and part culture.