By Rixon Lane
We are less than 36 hours away from the first ever meeting between South Carolina and Texas A&M.
Since the Gamecocks and Aggies have no shared history, we thought this would be a good time to give South Carolina fans a quick guide on everything Texas A&M and what they should know heading into Thursday night's meeting.
Before He Was "Bear"
Paul "Bear" Bryant served as Texas A&M's head coach and athletic director from 1954-57. In his first preseason, he took his team to Junction, Texas, and ran a camp so brutal that an estimated 60 to 70 percent of his players quit before camp ended. A&M went 1-9 in his first season, but the '55 team went 7-2-1 and his '56 squad won the Southwest Conference with a 9-0-1 record. The Aggies went 8-3 in 1957, giving Bryant a 25-14-2 record in College Station. He then left for Alabama, where he became one of the most famous college football coaches of all time and made Texas A&M the "Wally Pipp" of college football.
Give 'Em Yell
Texas A&M fans are led by five "Yell Leaders" in their cheers for the Aggies. The "Yell Leaders" are selected by the student body and comprised of five male juniors and seniors who lead the fans in chant and songs. They do not perform gymnastic stunts. The "Yell Leaders" lead the A&M fans in 13 different yells and five songs. Of the 18 cheers, four mention farmers, one mimics a train, and another involves making gestures and noises to imitate a rocket.
The mascot for the Aggies is a rough collie named "Reveille." Texas A&M is the fourth school in the conference to have a dog for a mascot. However, all of the A&M mascots have been female. The current dog, "Reveille VIII," is entering her seventh season as Texas A&M's mascot.
No Thumbs Up
Texas A&M's "Gig 'Em" hand signal is made by giving a thumbs up. "Gig 'Em" is a frog hunting term, first used to rile up fans before the 1930 game against TCU.