The Midnight Yell has been a tradition at Texas A&M dating back to 1913. The night before Texas A&M home football games, over 25,000 will people gather at Kyle Field in College Station to participate in The Yell.
For those unfamiliar, the Midnight Yell is akin to a pep rally. It is a tradition that brings fans together to get excited for the Aggies' upcoming football game.
One thing you need to know about the Texas A&M Aggies - their fans don't cheer, they YELL. The Midnight Yell is lead by a prestigious group of students known as the Yell Leaders. It's crucial that Aggie fans yell in sync during the game, and it is the responsibility of the Yell Leaders to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Being a Yell Leader is a HUGE deal. To be appointed Yell Leader is the highest honor one can hold at Texas A&M. Students and alumni will tell you that Yell Leaders are even more highly regarded than the Head Football Coach, the Starting Quarterback, and the University Sheriff.
You may have seen this video of last week's Midnight Yell, as it made its rounds on social media. Texas A&M fans are saying that this moment will go down in history as one of the all time greatest yells. Head Yell Leader, Ethan Couch remarked, "If you want to know what Texas A&M is all about, just watch this video."
The Midnight Yell traditions are a bit unorthodox. The Yell Leaders are willing to do whatever it takes to get the crowd fired up, and help lead the Aggies to victory. Not everyone agrees with their methods, but the Texas A&M Aggies finished with an 11-3 record and a Big 12 championship in 1998, so it's hard to argue with results.
To kickoff the event, the Texas A&M Band, and the 5 Yell Leaders gather for a silent yell in the University Quadrangle. From there, they begin their walk down Tarnation Drive to Kyle Field. Students and alumni all gather alongside Tarnation Drive, and fall in line behind the band as they pass them by. They all walk to the stadium together.
Once they arrive at the stadium, the students and alumni gather in the stands of the student section, while the Yell Leaders do pushups at midfield.
Once everyone has made it to their spot, the yelling can commence. The Yell Leaders fire up the crowd with some words of encouragement, and light hearted ribbing at their opponents expense. They lead the crowd in traditional Aggie songs such as "The Aggie War Hymn", "The Spirit of Aggieland", and "Cows on High".
Cows on high, cows on high!
Cows on high, cows on high!
Keep them high, cows on high!
Aggie faithful, cows on high!
Another tradition that is done at the Midnight Yell is the Horse Laugh. The official university website describes what a Horse Laugh is, and the yell that accompanies it
[Pass Back: Hands with fingers straight are held palms together, and then hands move back and forth in a pointing motion]
Riffety, riffety, riff-raff!
Chiffity, chiffity, chiff-chaff!
Let’s give ‘em a horse laugh:
The Horse Laugh is just one of several coordinated gestures that the Aggie faithful know and love.
Each gesture has a yell that goes along with it. Lyrics to the yells can be found on the official university website as well.
On top of the fun coordinated gestures, there are some other interesting traditions.
At some point in the middle of the event, the stadium lights will shut off. When the lights shut off, all students must kiss their dates. Students who do not have dates light their lighters and hold them in the air, so single Aggies can identify each other. This tradition is known as "Mugging Down". As of 2016, same-sex couples are welcome to Mug Down as well.
On weeks coming off a win, the Midnight Yell concludes with the Train of Truth. The Yell Leaders & members of the band lock hands to form a tunnel. Fan run down onto the field and through the tunnel. Once they've made it through the tunnel, the face the press box and say one truth. It is said that the ghosts of Kyle Field collect the truths and release them to faithful Aggies in the afterlife.
But when coming off a loss, the Yell Leaders are known to crank things up a notch. The Aggies were defeated 17-14 by Appalachian State last weekend. With a tough test vs the #13 Miami Hurricanes on Saturday, this week's Midnight Yell is as important as ever.
For the first time since their National Championship season in 1939, the Yell Leaders will turn to their old friend. A deity named Khorgar.
In 1939, Khorgar, aka the "Blood God" or "Lord of Skulls", put a hex on the Tulane Green Wave football team the night before the Sugar Bowl. The Aggies defeated the Green Wave 14-13 to secure the 3rd National Championship in the school's history.
But Khorgar's hex doesn't come without a price. Being the #1 agricultural school in America, Texas A&M owns a variety of farm animals. Khorgar demanded a quart of pigs blood in exchange for the hex. A quart of pigs blood was no problem for Texas A&M to acquire. But the next year, when they paid Khorgar a visit before the Cotton Bowl to put a hex on the Fordham Rams, he had upped his price. Khorgar was none to pleased with the quality of pigs blood he had received the year prior. He could tell that the Aggies had used the blood of a pig that was already set to be slaughtered. He demanded the Aggies sacrifice of a litter of golden retriever puppies if they wanted another hex. The Yell leaders were disgusted, and denied the request. That was the last time anyone had seen Khorgar.
Fast forward to 2022, and Texas A&M is in dire need of a victory. In Jimbo Fisher's 5th season, the football program is not where they had hoped to be. Head Yell Leader Ethan Couch made the executive decision to pay Khorgar a visit once again.
Couch said, "We suffered a humiliating loss last week. It is my job as Head Yell Leader to do everything in my power to help lead the Aggies to a victory over Miami. Khorgar's hex is undefeated, and we need a win bad. Times have changed. I think the puppies would be honored to sacrifice themselves to Khorgar for the greater good. There is 900 million dogs in the world. Roughly 6.2 million dogs die every year. There are so many dogs living in shelters and on the street. There's more dogs than we know what to do with. In some ways you could say that we are doing the world a favor."
It is unclear where the Yell Leaders will obtain the litter of puppies. Khorgar demands a litter of at least 4 puppies, no older than 3.5 months in age. It is also unclear if this entire Khogar scenario came to me during a fever dream brought on by hallucinogens.
Nonetheless, Texas A&M is a -5.5 favorite over Miami on Saturday. Expect the line to move a few points if/when the sacrifice is complete.