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A&M Billboard Comes Down In Gainesville; Aggie Fans React; But Who Was Behind It?

Well, the billboard that was the talk of the sporting world yesterday is no more.  The sign which went up in Gainesville and told Texas A&M’s next opponent, Florida, that they had been “annexed by Aggie Nation” came down for legal reasons.  And the search for the one-armed man behind the billboard goes on.

When the story first broke yesterday, the school immediately put out a release — and sent this website a couple of very nice emails — stating that no one tied to Texas A&M had anything to do with the sign.  And I don’t think anyone would think that the school was behind the board.  Florida president Bernie Machen and A&M president R. Bowen Loftin actually worked together to start the Aggie ball rolling toward the SEC.  And, let’s face it, no school would want to rile up an opponent before a big game.

Texas A&M officials also sent a cease-and-desist letter to Clear Channel — the owner of the billboard — claiming trademark infringement.  Clear Channel responded by taking down the billboard.

According to The Gainesville Sun, Clear Channel honcho Jim Cullinan said the billboard was paid for by “a Houston media company representing  a group called Aggie Nation.”

Aggie fans immediately picked up on the whole “Aggie Nation” thing.  For those SEC’ers just getting to know A&M, apparently it’s Aggieland, not Aggie Nation… at least according to the many, many angry A&M fans I’ve heard from in the past 24 hours.  For that reason, A&M VP of marketing and communications Jason Cook — like many Aggie fans — suspects that someone other than a pro-A&M person put up the billboard.

“Texas A&M fans do not refer to themselves as the Aggie Nation… We refer to ourselves either as the Aggie Network or the Twelfth Man,” Cook said.

Cook told this site today:

 

“With words typically connected with Texas A&M, such as Aggie and Whoop, as well as the color maroon, we felt that we had a strong infringement case once the entire contest of the billboard was taken into account.

We have a strong suspicion that the billboard was not placed by an Aggie, given that we do not call ourselves the Aggie Nation, but rather the Aggie Network, Aggie Family or the 12th Man.  We know that the billboard order was placed out of Clear Channel’s Houston office, and we are continuing to investigate who placed it.”

 

Thanks to Cook for always providing a quick response to us.

Most Aggie fans have told us that they believe it musta/hadta be a Texas or Baylor fan who paid for that sign.  Mainly because no fine, upstanding Aggie would have ever done such a thing.

Of course, just for writing about the story, I’ve personally been accused of “yellow journalism” and have been threatened via email.  I guess no one in the A&M fanbase would post a billboard, but they would send threats to someone who covered a story that everyone else wound up covering, too.

Newsflash to Aggie fans — Yes, it could have been a pro-Aggie person behind the billboard.  Why?  Because there’s not a fanbase in the country that doesn’t have a few loons inside it.  Perhaps a Texas or Baylor group was behind the sign.  Perhaps a Florida fan in Houston bought the sign under the “Aggie Nation” name in order to fire up his own school’s team.  But it’s also absolutely possible that an Aggie did buy the board.  (Though personally, I hope it proves to be someone associated with Texas or Baylor.)

Interestingly, in addition to the “it couldn’t have been one us” responses that were so numerous yesterday, there was also a “the SEC just hates us” backlash.  Where this comes from I don’t know, but the feeling was summed up quite well by Yahoo! Sports contributor and TAMU alum Eric R. Ivie right here:

 

“SEC fans who are still looking for a reason — any reason — to hate Texas A&M’s arrival in the conference are, naturally jumping all over this billboard as a sign of Aggies’ ‘arrogance.’”

 

Oh, please.  Are there some folks who didn’t want A&M or Missouri or anyone else joining the SEC?  Sure.  But the vast majority of people I’ve spoken with believe the Aggies will be a good fit.

This site wrote about the billboard and there’s not been a bigger proponent of A&M-to-the SEC than MrSEC.com.  We’ve repeatedly stated that A&M and the SEC should have married years ago.  Last summer we guaranteed — when the Big 12 was being duct-taped back together — that A&M would eventually join the SEC because it made too much sense.  The two bodies had played footsie with one another for a quarter-century.  And TAMU fits the SEC mold perfectly — big school, rural school, football-crazy school.

Still, one A&M commenter said yesterday that he’s been a fan of this site since A&M joined the league, but two stories in the past week had changed his mind.  Last week I wrote that Kevin Sumlin would look bad for pushing back the suspension of two players from the opening game — against Florida — to later in the season — against Louisiana Tech.  Then yesterday I wrote that as a hater of trash talk, I hoped that A&M would get a wake-up call whoopin’ from Florida (if, of course, an Aggie fan or fan group had posted that sign).  That apparently convinced the commenter that I’m now a “yellow journalist.”

See the issue?  I write nice things about A&M… I’m a great fella.  I suddenly post two opinions that aren’t pro-A&M and I’m immediately a yellow journalist.  In other words, if I’m not writing something good about TAMU, I’m a bad person with bad motives because everyone knows that any person associated with A&M wears a halo and can do no wrong.

Well, I still believe A&M will be a perfect fit in the Southeastern Conference.  The passionate fanbase — 99% of which has been fantastic, by the way — fits right in with the rest of the league.  Like every other school, the Aggies have a few fans who take things too far and who believe anyone with an opinion that differs from their own must — Must! — have an agenda against their school.

We just call it like we see it around here.  No one at this site hates Texas A&M or the Aggie Nation — whoops — Aggieland.  We’re pro-A&M joining the SEC.  Heck, we like the folks we’ve dealt with at the school itself, too.  (Interestingly, they said nothing but nice things about the site and they didn’t take offense to what was written yesterday… unless they were one behind those anonymous threats I received via Hotmail accounts.  Hmmm.)

But if an A&M person put up that billboard, he deserves a little bad karma in the form of a loss for his favorite team on Saturday.  And if a Texas or Baylor fan posted that sign, we’ll be more than happy to report that right here in big, bold letters.  ‘Cause let’s face it, you can’t say “we’re glad you left” and then post billboards proving that you’re still obsessed with the school that left you.

Either way, any Aggie who expects to come here and read nothing but warm fuzzies about his school is going to be disappointed.  We’ll not agree with everything A&M officials or players or coaches or fans do.  When we don’t, we’ll write about it.  Just as we’ll say plenty of nice things when we do like what’s going on in College Station.

I don’t think anyone accused me or the other writers at this site of being “yellow journalists” when we wrote this piece.  Or this one.  We call it like we see it.  If you want to read pro-Aggie news all the time, better sign up for A&M’s Scout or Rivals sites.  If you want an outsider’s opinion — an opinion that you can take or leave — then you’re more than welcome to hang out here.

 


16 comments
texaggies89
texaggies89

I appreciate your outsider's opinion, it's what makes your site so great, IMO.  But it's your "yellow journalism" BS opinion that comes out when you write BS with headlines like "Got Stupid? A&M taunts"... that you want us to overlook... aint happenin, you call out the idiots in here when they act like idiots.  Take your medicine and quit crawfish, own it.  All the trash you talked in that article isn't worth repeat here, I sure hope you don't treat all southerners with the same garbage manners you referred to in that overly premature opinion your hiding behind.

 

You got something negative to report about my alma mater, know yourself out, I appreciate the good with the bad.  But you write a buncha premature BS and false accusations about TAMU, be prepared to have a few negative responses yourself.  Dish it and take it, but never crawfish when your words are memorialized to the contrary.

 

Gig 'em Aggies

BTHOF 

aggie0101
aggie0101

Turns out the culprits are tsips.  Shaggybevo.com to be exact

 

Here is the contract:

 

http://i.imgur.com/tzCla.png

 

Take a look at that address, then do a whois lookup on shaggybevo.com.

 

Coincidence? I think not.  

SWCBonfire
SWCBonfire

John, I've been a big fan of your site since the initial study you did on realignment.  That said, we were upset with your initial headline on the story because it invoked exactly the kind of reaction that the group behind the billboard wanted, a kneejerk and negative one.  You played directly into their efforts.  We are used to having the print media in Texas full of graduates from other universities, belittling the ags and muckraking for all the dirt they can find on us while keeping stories suppressed about their alma maters. It is disappointing when the burnt orange machine gets someone to shoot friendly fire at us.  And don't think they're not getting a bunch of chuckles from what they deem to be "ignorant SEC fans" who take the bait, hook, line and sinker.  This is as much an insult to the fanbases of the SEC as it is a prank on us, remember that. 

JarHead17
JarHead17

I am an Aggie and I think the sign was in bad taste.  I don't know if it was done by some Ag w/ a poor sense of humor, or by someone from another school trying to make us look bad.  But there are more than 50,000 students currently at A&m and hundreds of thousands of alumni.  People are foolish to believe that all Aggies show good form and judgment all the time.  The sign is gone.  Let's focus on some football.  And I still think this is a great website.

AGator
AGator

I first thought a Gator fan had put up the billboard because Aggie Nation seems like a modified version of Gator Nation. But then why would they put the billboard up on NW 53rd Avenue? That's on the north edge of town 53 blocks from UF's campus. They should have picked Archer Road for maximum troll factor. Wouldn't a billboard company would let the buyer pick the location? Also a Gator fan might not have picked cleanest program and best academics for trolling because UF has done pretty well in those areas. A reference to players getting arrested would have been a more effective troll. But maybe trolls are more effective if they have flaws that give people an easy way to respond.

 

I'm switching my guess on the perp's ID to a fan of a Big 12 school such as Texas or Baylor.

 

This has been entertaining. It reminds me of back when Spurrier was coach and he was always saying something that got fans all riled up. Like saying Peyton Manning returned for his senior year instead of going pro so that he could win another Citrus Bowl MVP trophy. It may have sold a few extra tickets.

BTHOF
BTHOF

Has anyone ever seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High? This is clearly an INSIDE JOB... (don't get me wrong - effective motivation for sure!). Nice try little reptiles. See you Saturday. BTHOF!!!!

Swayfun01
Swayfun01

Have the Aggies ever heard of Vanderbilt?  It's a wayy better school not even in the same tier as A&M.  Florida is also better.  Probably more but there's no reason to continue.

SteelyThunder
SteelyThunder

Well written article. I'll completely agree that there are a few too many Aggies who have the opinion if you're not with us you're against us. I appreciate the unbiased approach on this site and believe that if we screw up we should be called on it. I'm still firmly of the opinion that this was not an Ag, but some troll somewhere. Can't wait to find out who...

Walter
Walter

I personally don't believe it was an A&M fan.

 

"Most Aggie fans have told us that they believe it musta/hadta be a Texas or Baylor fan who paid for that sign.  Mainly because no fine, upstanding Aggie would have ever done such a thing."  I don't know what the reaction has been in the emails, but in the comments I don't think that's a fair portrayal of what has been said.  What's generally been said is that while it's not at all hard to be believe that some over the top Aggie fan would put up a taunting billboard, the actual words used don't fit.  The "Cleanest Program" smack couldn't have been easier to refute, and seems like a fairly obvious softball pitch for the people who are going to react to the billboard... who would want to talk smack that is so easily refuted?

 

And while I think that the negative media reaction towards Texas A&M was precisely the goal of the billboard, I don't blame you for that reaction.  I think it was a masterful trolling job by someone.

quad77
quad77

You aggies have a lot to learn and I am not even talking about football.

This will mark the first time I have ever pulled for the Gators and I hope they crush you guys, I hope your fans are silly enough to applaud the effort like you did last year in the Arky game.

While I am add it I hope UGA, who I never pull for either, crushes Mizzou and that big mouthed DT.

 

ArkansasAg
ArkansasAg

Keep up the good work, John! I appreciate your objectivity and professionalism.  Mr. SEC is one of my first stops every morning.

Caddoaggie
Caddoaggie

While I might not always agree with your articles, I enjoy the site and an outsider's perspective.  I know there are plenty of Aggies that only want the sunshine pumping, kool aid drinking journalism that we get in Aggieland, but some of us do appreicate other points of view.  Thanks for the updates on this story, keep up the good work!

Walter
Walter

 @AGator  'Also a Gator fan might not have picked cleanest program and best academics for trolling because UF has done pretty well in those areas. A reference to players getting arrested would have been a more effective troll. But maybe trolls are more effective if they have flaws that give people an easy way to respond."  Exactly.  Nothing on the billboard really had anything to do with Florida.  

 

In my opinion it was a shot at the SEC and A&M, using the standard Big 12 remnants talking points.

Walter
Walter

Ok, I did miss one person making a silly statement about Aggies having too much class to do something like that.  I appologize.

 

I also appologize for the people who sent you nasty emails.

 

I still don't think it was one of us who put up the billboard, and I'm hopeful we'll be vindicated when it's all said and done... (of course ESPN will carefully avoid mentioning if it turns out it was an ESPNMoo customer).

AgLove98
AgLove98

Oh no!  quad77 hates us even more than Florida and Georgia, both of whom he hates.  Whatever shall we do?

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