Congratulations, Texas A&M fans. You are now part of the best conference in all of college football, and the latest member of the toughest division in college football. Though no one has been able to, in a non-bullshit fashion, explain why your addition helps the rest of the SEC without vague references to TV markets and Texas recruits, who don't seem to win significant games for you or Texas, you are to be congratulated on getting richer and better without really doing a single thing. That kind of planning and execution can only be conceived and brought to fruition in America.
Since you're new around here, I've taken the time to put together a few rules, stereotypes, and nonsensical hatred with which to familiarize yourself before beginning conference play in 2012. These can get a little tricky given that there's no rhyme or reason to many of them, but just follow along as best you can and do what the American education system teaches everyone to do: memorize everything, don't learn anything.
1. Go to the Ole Miss/A&M game in Oxford. Oxford is one of the best college towns you will ever visit, and you'll probably win the game.
2. Don't try to find out how many football national championships Alabama has won. Wildly inconsistent sourcing will only make your head hurt. Just know that they've won more than you and their fans think they've won way more than that.
3. Bear Bryant really is dead, despite what your Alabama road trip experience will tell you.
4. You lost a recruit to another SEC school? CHEAT HARDER.
5. As a member of the SEC West, you are required to schedule either UAB, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, or at least one I-AA team each season. That Music City/Other Mediocre Exhibition Bowl slot isn't going to fill itself.
6. LSU will beat you in a way that makes you question whether they've signed a pact with the Dark Prince (note: NOT your former coach Jackie Sherrill, but the Biblical one), God hates your school, or both.
7. Auburn will beat you in a way that makes you question whether they've signed a pact with the Dark Prince (note: NOT your former coach Jackie Sherrill, but the Biblical one), God hates your school, or both.
8. You know how much you care about basketball? That's how much Kentucky and Vanderbilt care about football. Yes, Ole Miss cares about football, but everything they do indicates they don't.
9. We'll all need our dry cleaning picked up for the next year. Light starch is always appreciated.
10. The rest of the rules we make up as we go along. What, and you thought we had it together over here? FRESH MEAT.
Types of Fans
Because broad, sweeping stereotypes are so much easier to package neatly into quick points, I'll use those to outline the two types of fans you will encounter at every school.
1. They own at least two recruiting national championship t-shirts (yes, these exist), somehow will work a long "a" sound into yelling "Roll Tide," will viciously taunt you about taking the Bear from you even though they weren't alive then, can't find Tuscaloosa on a map (even if they are in Tuscaloosa), and at some point in their lives have come to blows with an immediate family member or close friend over the merits of 3rd and 4 running play in the fourth quarter against North Texas while leading 51-3.
2. Outside of three to four hours on a Saturday, a functioning, contributing member of society. But, when their blood gets up during the game, they will want to take your blood. And as long as Nick Saban is coaching, they probably will.
1. Those who wear plastic hog hats.
2. Those who take 20 minutes of your time directing your attention to their exhibits A through ZZZZZZZZZZZ as to why Houston Nutt is the worst coach in the history of college football and I don't care if we just won 10 games and are a rising program I want to talk about the atrocity that is Houston Nutt.
1. People who are "All In."
2. Energy vampires.
1. Jort, Croc, and sleeveless t-shirt wearers.
2. Old people.
1. Ole Miss fans with an ever GREATER sense of entitlement
2. Ole Miss fans who demand even less out of their school
1. Passing the time until basketball starts.
2. Already in Rupp Arena waiting for midnight madness to start.
1. Those who start Saturday boozing at or before 7 AM.
2. Those who start Saturday boozing at or before 9 AM (also known as "lazy elitists").
1. "How did what we just accomplished compare to that of the Mississippi Ole Pi$$ Webel Black Bears?"
2. Tortured, good-natured souls who have endured more total misery than their in-state rivals, but have witnessed less consistent bed-shitting and one more trip to Atlanta.
1. Those who own this print:
And subscribe to it with all their heart.
2. People who genuinely want to see Ole Miss not give a shit about the party and fix what's been plaguing the school for 40 years. They'll sooner climb Mount Everest than uproot the GOB network.
1. Will attend every game no matter if Lou Holtz is coaching his way to an 0-11 record or Brad Scott is doing something dumb.
2. No one else.
1. Those who hate Charles Woodson more than they like Peyton Manning.
2. Those who own Indianapolis Colts merchandise.
1. "Northwestern, Duke, and Virginia admissions are a bunch of assholes."
2. "I wanna go to the game, but I only want to stay for like 20 minutes."
And that covers most of what you need to know for now. The rest you'll learn as you go. My advice for the first year is to make minimal eye contact, don't stand out, but don't fall behind, and for the love of all things good and decent, don't lose to Ohio State.