Texas Game Day Guide
Guide to Texas A&M 2021 Football Season & Tailgating
If you’ve been to Texas A&M (or any part of Texas really), you’ll know that football is much more than a game here. There’s unending passion from the fans, who live and breathe Aggies football. This is one of the many reasons we at Hopdoddy love being in College Station, but it can also be a little intimidating for those new to the whole thing. Because of this, we’re here to break down what you can expect and what you can do to really experience game weekends in College Station.
The 2021 season is already well underway and there’s no time to lose, so let’s get started. The schedule for the remaining home games this season are:
- Oct. 23: South Carolina
- Nov. 6: Auburn
- Nov. 20: Prairie View A&M
If you want to get tickets, they can be bought through TAMU’s website, but they disappear quickly so you need to get them early.
Tailgating before the game
As we mentioned, Aggie football isn’t just game day — it’s the entire weekend (if not the whole week leading up to it). Whether you grab food there or bring your own burger kit and sauces, you’re going to want to stay fueled for a long and exciting day. With fans showing up at 7am on game day to start tailgating, there’s plenty to do even before entering Kyle Field.
However, the experience really kicks off the night before a game, where thousands of fans pack the stadium for the Midnight Yell. One of A&M’s biggest traditions, the Midnight Yell sees fans gather at Kyle Field to sing the Aggie War Hymn, listen to stories from yell leaders, and participate in chants and yells led by players, coaches, and students.
Once it’s game day, you need to get to your tailgating spot. Lots of fans show up at 7am to start tailgating, so you need to know where you’re going and make sure you can find parking. Parking lot availability is always changing, so the best way to get up-to-date information on the situation is through TAMU’s Destination Aggieland app.
If you’re arriving in an RV, there are four lots specifically for you to park close to Kyle Field:
- Olsen RV Lot
- Penberthy Park
- Lot 58
- Aggie RV Park
All except Aggie RV Park have full electrical, water, and sewage hookups for your convenience. Olsen RV Lot and Penberthy Park are the closest to Kyle Field, with Lot 58 being a little further away but has a free shuttle to and from the stadium and is quieter. Aggie RV Park is a dry lot and has the largest spaces for RVs.
Aggie Park (formerly Spence Park)
Once you’ve parked, it’s time to head for the pre-game activities. One of the most popular spots is Aggie Park in the middle of the campus. Unfortunately, the university announced that Aggie Park is closed for tailgating during the 2021 season and Reed Arena will act as an alternate tailgating spot. That being said, there’s plenty else to do and see.
Another place to check out before kickoff is Victory Street, on the northwest side of Kyle Field. Here you can grab a cold beer and amazing food while enjoying entertainment like live music, games, and football on their 12 TVs.
Team Spirit Walk
Now that it’s getting closer to game time, the Spirit Walk begins. This happens two hours before kickoff and is when the Aggies players and coaches walk from the War Hymn Statue down the street into the stadium. If you’re close to the front, you might even be able to get high fives from the team!
Corps of Cadets Step-Off
Now only an hour and a half until kickoff, you can see the 2,500+ members of the Corps of Cadets march in formation from the Quad through the Fan Zone and into Kyle Field. This is another part of the A&M football experience that adds to the atmosphere and excitement that you won’t want to miss.
What to expect at the game
Once you’re into the stadium, there’s a lot that you should expect to do and participate in. Texas A&M is steeped in tradition, many of which are present in their chants, songs, and more.
Whether you’re at Kyle Field or watching on TV, wearing maroon is absolutely necessary for Aggie games. Representing the university’s colors is so important to the school that it actually caused a national shortage of maroon t-shirts in 1998.
The 12th Man stands the entire game
Expect to stand for the entire game to support the team and the 12th man tradition that began in 1922. In a January game that year, the Aggies’ roster was decimated with injuries to the point where only the 11 players on the field remained. The coach at the time, Dana X. Bible, remembered that a student, E. King Gill, who had quit the team to focus on basketball was in the stands. The coach waved him down from the stands and told him to suit up, which he did using an injured player’s equipment.
When he returned to the sideline, he stood at the ready for the rest of the game in case another player was injured. Miraculously, the Aggies clawed their way back into the game and won 22-14 in a historic upset. Because of Gill’s willingness to answer his team’s call, this is honored by Aggies to this day, who refuse to sit until the game is over — lest the team need a 12th man.
“Texas, Our Texas” & Flyover
Another tradition at games is what follows the National Anthem. Once the anthem ends, the entire stadium will erupt into singing “Texas, Our Texas” as the F-35As or F-16s perform their flyover of Kyle Field prior to kickoff.
Perhaps one of the most unique and important parts of games are the yell leaders of Texas A&M. Instead of the typical cheerleaders that most sports teams have on their sidelines, the Aggies use yell leaders. As the university puts it, “Aggies don't cheer — they yell”. The yell leaders dress in all white and are upperclassmen members of the Corps of Cadets who are selected by the student body each year, and attend both home and away games.
They are the ones who lead the yells, chants, and songs during games. However, don’t assume these are the basic chants you might have done in high school. Aggie yells are anything but generic and are more of a performance than just yelling words, with hand and body motions that are unique to each one.
Aggie War Hymn
While Texas A&M doesn’t officially have a fight song, the Aggie War Hymn was still rated the number one college fight song in 1997 by USA Today. It dates back to World War I, where an Aggie soldier named J.V. “Pinky” Wilson wrote the lyrics on the back of a letter home. Today, it’s one of Texas A&M’s most important traditions and sees the entire stadium link arms and legs and sway side to side. This truly is something you have to experience to understand, and should fully expect to participate in during a game.
The activities and celebrations don’t end when the game does, however. Any number of bars, restaurants, or locations on campus can be found full of Aggies celebrating after a game, enjoying burgers and beer. For instance, our College Station location is just across campus from Kyle Field and is a perfect way to end a game day. You can relax, talk with friends and family about the game, enjoy one of our burgers and a cold drink, and look forward to the next game.