The record books will mark Texas A&M’s trip to Starkville, Miss., this weekend to meet the Mississippi State University Bulldogs as a historical one, but this won’t be the first time the two schools have made history together. Their last meeting in football is acknowledged as arguably one of the most memorable bowl games ever.
A freak snowstorm in Shreveport, La., during the 2000 Independence Bowl caused the game to become an instant classic and is now commonly referred to as the “Snow Bowl.” Though fans are excited for a top 20 matchup between now fellow Southeastern Conference members No. 16 Texas A&M and No. 15 Mississippi State on the gridiron, the game also symbolically links two universities that share almost parallel histories, heritages and more.
Both Texas A&M and Mississippi State were established as land-grant colleges once Congress passed the Morrill Act of 1862, as the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas and the Agricultural & Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi (also known as Mississippi A&M), respectively. In fact, Mississippi State students were originally called Aggies, then Maroons, before officially becoming the Bulldogs in the 1960s.
Texas A&M and Mississippi State have continued to uphold their land-grant mission, as both institutions are dedicated to serving their states and countries in areas such as transportation, veterinary medicine, engineering, agriculture, and more.
The two institutions also have similar cultures, even past the most visible similarity: Texas A&M and Mississippi State have the same school colors of maroon and white.
For example, Texas A&M’s Reveille will be in the company of another live mascot in Starkville: Bully, Mississippi State’s English Bulldog, faithfully attends every home game at Davis Wade Stadium, just like Reveille. Texas A&M fans are also accustomed to waving a sea of white 12th Man towels at Kyle Field, but this weekend they’ll see — or rather hear — a unique Mississippi State tradition: the cowbell. Bulldog fans faithfully bring their maroon and white cowbells to each home game and use the “artificial noisemakers” to celebrate throughout the game.
“The cowbells can get quite loud and annoying, depending on which team you are pulling for, of course,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications and a Mississippi State alumnus. “But Aggies will find Mississippi State fans to be among the most hospitable in the SEC. Mississippi State is commonly referred to as the “people’s university” — a nod to the institution’s land-grant heritage that it shares with Texas A&M. I have always viewed Mississippi State as a ‘mini Texas A&M’ due to the many similarities between the two schools, particularly relating to academic programs, overall culture and historic origins.”
Other athletic ties between Texas A&M and Mississippi State include football coaches Jackie Sherrill and the late Emory Bellard, who both coached the Aggies and Bulldogs, as well as Vic Schaeffer, Mississippi State’s current women’s basketball coach who helped lead Texas A&M to the 2011 national championship as associate head coach with the Aggies.
Cook advises Aggies attending the game to wear maroon, as Mississippi State will be commemorating the “Snow Bowl” by having the team wear white uniforms and encouraging Bulldog fans to wear white as well.
Look for this Friday’s edition of TAMUtimes, which will feature academic collaborations and other connections between Texas A&M and Mississippi State.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, (979) 845-4645