The No. 15 Texas A&M football team will wrap up the last leg of its three-week long Southeastern Conference road trip this weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala., when the Aggies meet the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide for the first time in legendary Bryant-Denny Stadium.
But perhaps even more telling of this weekend’s top 25 matchup is the fact that it will be played between two universities that are united in their pursuit of teaching and research, as well as their desire to serve and impact their respective states.
The University of Alabama and Texas A&M are both leaders in higher education. The University of Alabama, founded in 1831, is the state’s first public college, and Texas A&M is the state of Texas’ first public institution of higher learning.
Students at The University of Alabama are also dedicated in their community service, dedicating more than a million hours of community service during the 2011-12 academic year. Similarly, their counterparts at Texas A&M are known nationwide for Big Event, the largest one-day, student-run community service project in the United States, which this year brought together more than 17,000 students, faculty and staff to complete 1,700 jobs.
Like Texas A&M, The University of Alabama is an institution that is tradition-rich.
Aggies making the trip to Tuscaloosa will hear lots of “Roll Tide!” from ’Bama fans. Much like Texas A&M’s “Gig ’em,” “Roll Tide” is a phrase that was inspired by and is used to cheer for the Crimson Tide — the name bestowed to the Alabama football team in 1907 after their white jerseys became stained with red mud in a close game against in-state rival Auburn University.
The Crimson Tide also inspired Alabama’s mascot: Big Al, the elephant. Like Texas A&M’s Reveille, who first appeared at the university in the 1930s after cadets hit a small, black and white dog while returning to campus and brought her back to campus with them, the Alabama elephant tradition was also born in the 1930s, but wasn’t recognized by the university until 1979. While describing a game during the 1930 season, a sportswriter wrote, “Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity,” in an article. Others continued to use the term “Red Elephants” to describe the team.
“Alabama is one of the nation’s storied football programs, not only because of its success, but also because of the many traditions. That’s a common bond both Texas A&M and Alabama share,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications. “We look forward to sharing the national stage with the Crimson Tide this weekend, as we continue to introduce Texas A&M to millions of new people as part of our first season in the Southeastern Conference.”
More academic collaborations and other connections between Texas A&M and the University of Alabama – such as legendary football coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings – are also featured in this edition of TAMUtimes.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, (979) 845-4645