The new kids on the block

The Covington News - - Sports - BEN PREVOST COLUM­NIST

The na­tion's finest football con­fer­ence wel­comes two new schools in 2012. With the ad­di­tion of Florida State and Clem­son, the SEC opens its arms to two pro­grams that might as well have been in the SEC from day one.

Think about it. Tal­la­has­see is a short drive from the white sandy beaches and emer­ald green wa­ters of the Red­neck Riviera. What's more SEC than that? Clem­son is es­sen­tially Auburn with a lake and a step child in the ACC, so a move to the SEC is only nat­u­ral.

Of course, I jest. In­stead of FSU and Clem­son, two South­east­ern schools with deep-fried fan­bases, the con­fer­ence big wigs gave the nod to Big 12 ex­pa­tri­ates Mis­souri and Texas A&M in a TV rat­ings-driven power play.

Re­gard­less of mo­tive, let's give these new con­fer­ence mem­bers a proper South­ern wel­come. For SEC fans that's a warm smile, firm hand­shake, some friendly trash-talk and a prompt hand­off of an ice-cold beer -- with a koozie, of course -- just to be po­lite.

Mis­souri and Texas A&M are set to join our SEC fam­ily and, like meet­ing your sis­ter's fi­ancé, you're warm to the idea but need ev­i­dence of his moxie. Let's check out Mis­souri first.

Mis­souri is the third SEC team named the Tigers. I am un­sure of the Show Me State's con­nec­tion to tigers. But, Mis­souri's Tiger moniker dates to the Civil War, and that trans­lates to in­stant SEC cred­i­bil­ity.

The tradition of homecoming be­gan at Mis­souri in 1911. This seems about right. Isn't it fit­ting for homecoming to start some­where like Mis­souri? If Ver­mont laid claim to homecoming, for ex­am­ple, I just wouldn't be­lieve it. Heck, I won­der if any­one from Ver­mont has ever heard of homecoming.

It's a tradition for fresh­man Mis­souri play­ers to run through the famed col­umns on the Columbia cam­pus. I'm told by my brother-in­law, Aaron (a HUGE Mizzou fan; wel­come to the SEC, bro!), that the col­umns are the sec­ond-most pho­tographed land­mark in Mis­souri, be­hind only the Gate­way Arch in St. Louis. Have you ever seen a photo of the sec­ond-most pho­tographed land­mark in Mis­souri? Me nei­ther.

Mizzou's football sta­dium is nick­named "The Zou." The ner­vous laugh­ter you hear em­anates from Athens, Ga. Dawg fans, who, like the rest of us, have seen too many tal­ented Big 12 teams like Ok­la­homa de­part The Zou with an "L." Watch out come Septem­ber 8 in Columbia.

While Mis­souri will com­pete in the SEC East, let's head west to Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas, and frisk the SEC West's new­est mem­ber, the Texas A&M Ag­gies.

A&M has too many tra­di­tions to men­tion in this prime real es­tate. In sum­mary; how­ever, those tra­di­tions viewed from an out­sider's per­spec­tive seem like forced en­thu­si­asm.

Texas A&M is the op­po­site of Mis­souri when it comes to homecoming, be­cause the Ag­gies have no homecoming game. Why not, you ask? Be­cause at Texas A&M, ev­ery game is homecoming!

The night be­fore home football games, a "Mid­night Yell" is held dur­ing which very en­thu­si­as­tic Ag­gie fans . . . you guessed it! Yell! I hope you can sense my en­thu­si­asm with all these ex­cla­ma­tion points!

"Ag­gie" is short for "agri­cul­tural" and harkens back to Texas A&M's his­tory as an agri­cul­tural re­search in­sti­tu­tion.

Ag­gie fans yell "gig 'em!" in­stead of "go" and, con­sis­tent with the in­no­cent 1950s vibe that per­me­ates A&M's cul­ture, they form a "thumbs-up" sign with their hands.

They also say "Golly gee whiz; how about that?!" when Texas A&M gains over 10 yards. OK, kid­ding on that last one. But you get the point.

It's tradition at Texas A&M to kiss your date when the Ag­gies score. Great tradition if you've got a hot date. Not so great if you waited un­til Fri­day to nab your date and wound up with some­one just glad to be in the sta­dium.

Will these tra­di­tions help Mis­souri and A&M com­pete in the SEC? We'll see. Buck­ling their chin straps and tack­ling peo­ple -- this isn't the Big 12, folks -- will have a more mean­ing­ful im­pact than run­ning through col­umns or yelling at mid­night.

But we're all fam­ily now, so, on be­half of SEC fans ev­ery­where, Go Mizzou and Gig 'Em Ag­gies!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.