The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Once dubbed by Sports Illustrated as the nation’s No. 1 tailgating school, Ole Miss will bring its southern charm to Saturday’s pre-game festivities.
Aggies often tailgate at Reed Arena, Kyle Field and Spence Park in blue jeans and boots, but at Ole Miss tailgaters regularly gather in a sea of crimson and blue at The Grove.
The Grove
The Grove is the legendary tailgating space on campus that is transformed every game day, said Ellery Jividen, journalism junior at Ole Miss. Jividen said families, students and fans come from all over the south to tailgate with Ole Miss.
“It’s not just a tent like tailgating tents — people make it their home,” Jividen said. “There are chandeliers, furniture, carpet and catered food. One tent has a champagne fountain for every SEC game. It’s insane. People go big here.”
Education senior Taylor Tschantz traveled to Oxford, Miss., last fall when the Aggies played the Rebels. She said she was surprised by how centralized the tailgates were.
“It’s almost like a tiny little city and people are just having a good time,” Tschantz said. “There are so many TVs, live music — each tent has a different theme. It’s an awesome experience to witness.”
From heels to sports coats, many fans wear formal attire, Tschantz said.
“Girls wear dresses and heels and expensive watches and jewelry,” Tschantz said. “It had rained that morning before we got to the tailgate. So all the girls’ heels were sinking into the grass, and then you see all the A&M students wearing jeans and riding boots and t-shirts, and so you can definitely see the difference is kind of funny.”
Tschantz said she felt underdressed in a sweater, jeans and riding boots.
“Obviously here at A&M we consider what we wear dressing up,” Tschantz said. “But when I was there I felt underdressed and out of place.”
Food & Drink
Open flames are prohibited at The Grove, and Drew Nelson, who attended an Ole Miss game as a yell leader in 2012 and as a student in 2013, said the food is one of the biggest differences between Aggie and Rebel tailgates.
“Basically everything is catered, which leads to a lot of lukewarm barbeque, pizza and chicken strips being served,” Nelson said. “On A&M game day you can smell the fired-up smokers and pits throughout all of College Station.”
Because of county law, beer and light wine are prohibited on the campus at tailgates, which surprised some Aggies who made the trek to Ole Miss in 2012 and 2013.
“In both 2012 and 2013 the beer rule came as a shock to many Aggies that were forced to pour out their beers by campus police,” Nelson said. “The no-drinking-games rule is not the worst thing in the world because it does help to keep things civil, but it creates quite the contrast to some of the crazier tailgates that I have seen at other schools including A&M.”
Nelson said The Grove was a unique atmosphere with a “true southern vibe.”
“The most extravagant I remember were tailgates with chandeliers and china sets,” Nelson said.
Because student tickets can be hard to acquire, many students remain at the tailgate during the game and watch the game on TV, Jividen said.
One of the traditions the Rebels have is the Walk of Champions.
“The players are literally right in front of you, giving high fives, saying, ‘Thanks for being out here,’” Jividen said. “[It’s a] really cool experience. You get to see Coach Freeze and give him congrats and good luck. It’s really fun. It really re-enforces that family atmosphere, like we’re sending off our brothers to a high school game, wishing them luck.”
Tschantz said Ole Miss fans were hospitable and friendly at last year’s game.
“They were so nice,” Tschantz said. “Even whenever you’re walking to the game some of them were like, ‘Hey we’re glad you’re here, welcome to Ole Miss, do you need help finding anything?’”
Jividen said many Rebels will make the trek to College Station this weekend.
“You know Ole Miss, there are a lot of out-of-state state kids here and most of them are from Texas, so I think everyone’s excited to come visit,” Jividen said.

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