Texas A&M, along with Missouri, begins its first season in the Southeastern Conference this year. While Aggies know by now how successful the football conference is (the league is home to the last six Bowl Championship Series national champions), there’s still plenty to learn about its 12 new leaguemates. Here’s a guide to some of the need-to-knows of schools the Aggies’ will be facing.
Nickname: Crimson Tide
Location: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Football record: 814-320-43 (.691)
SEC championships: 22
Claimed national championships: 14
You should know: “Roll Tide!” -- The rallying cry for Alabama fans, can be used in many forms, not only as a cheer, but as a greeting or a way to bid farewell.
Did you know? Who said the Crimson Tide can only debate about football? Alabama’s debate and forensics program has won 19 national debate championships.
Location: Fayetteville, Ark.
Football record: 680-452-40 (.597)
SEC championships: 0
Claimed national championships: 1
You should know: “Woo Pig Sooie!” -- This is known as a “Hog Call.” To do it in the traditional format, the “Woo” lasts eight seconds while raising your arms from your knees to above your head. Clenched fists come down (as if doing a chin-up) during “Pig” and then your right arm extends up and out during “Sooie!” Full Hog Calls involve three Woo Pig Sooies.
Did you know? Many marriage proposals have been made and accepted at Spoofer’s Stone on the school’s front lawn. The stone was originally a piece of limestone intended for construction of Old Main, the school’s oldest building, and was placed on the lawn as a place for admirers to leave love notes for each other because male and female students weren’t allowed to mingle early in the school’s history.
Location: Auburn, Ala.
Football record: 711–405–47 (.634)
SEC championships: 7
Claimed national championships: 2
You should know: “War Eagle!” -- No, Auburn fans aren’t confused about their mascots. There are several stories about where this came from, with the most popular one being that a pet eagle of a Civil War veteran took off and circled the playing field during an Auburn-Georgia game in 1892. Fans began to yell “War Eagle!” The bird crashed into the ground and died at game’s end.
Did you know? After victories, fans often gathered to celebrate at Toomer’s Corner, wrapping toilet paper over a pair of live oak trees. Harvey Updyke, an Alabama fan, was accused of poisoning and killing the trees and faces a trial on the charges.
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Football record: 733-391-47 (.646)
SEC championships: 11
Claimed national championships: 3
You should know: LSU’s home facility, Tiger Stadium, is also known as “Death Valley.” The Tigers enter the season with a 17-game home winning streak, currently the longest in the nation.
Did you know? Mike VI, a live Bengal-Siberian Tiger mix that is LSU’s live mascot, stays in a 15,000-square foot habitat complete with plants, trees and a waterfall across from Tiger Stadium.
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Football record: 621-486-35 (.543)
SEC championships: 6
Claimed national championships: 3
You should know: “The Grove” -- The 10-acre area at the center of Mississippi’s campus, is considered by many to be the premier college football tailgating spot and can hold tens of thousands of tailgaters.
Did you know? The speed limit on the Ole Miss campus is 18 mph, in honor of former quarterback Archie Manning.
Location: Starkville, Miss.
Football record: 506-544-39 (.464)
SEC championships: 1
Claimed national championships: 0
You should know: One of the notable gameday traditions at Davis Wade Stadium is the ringing of cowbells by the Bulldogs fans. By SEC rules, ringing cowbells are allowed before a game, at halftime, during timeouts and after scores, giving berth to the term “Ring responsibly.” Failure to ring responsibly can result in fines.
Did you know? Mississippi State has had several nicknames, including the Aggies when the school was known as Mississippi A&M College. The nickname became “the Maroons” when the school became Mississippi State College in 1932; Bulldogs became the official nickname in 1961.