Texas A&M and Alabama fans let the good times roll the night before big gameFor every "Roll Tide!" there was a "Gig 'em!" response.
But it was all in fun as crimson and maroon shared tables, pitchers of beer and, in some cases, bonded over their dislike of LSU.
Thousands flocked to Northgate in a celebratory mood on the eve of the big game against Alabama.
One bar manager described the atmosphere as "friends today but enemies tomorrow."
After the Aggie upset over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa last season, the excitement over Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game -- the first conference game of the season for both teams -- was palpable from fans on both sides.
"A&M is the only team that beat Alabama last year," Carol Armstrong said matter-of-factly.
The 48-year-old Alabama graduate has lived in Austin for more than 21 years and said this weekend was "like Christmas because it's the biggest game of the season, and I get to see my team in Texas territory."
While the competitive nature of the game was evident among fans, the atmosphere was friendly and respectful, with several Aggies reaching out to those decked in crimson gear, welcoming them to Aggieland and offering to help them find their way around town.
Early in the night, bartenders reported the most tension they had seen was friendly smack talk, or "funtalk" about "Johnny Cash" or "Johnny Halftime."
At the Dixie Chicken, one man from northern Alabama, Joey Yarbrough, tried to teach a 6-week-old baby how to "roll tide," while his parents said little Luke, who will be an Aggie class of 2035, only knows the language of "gig 'em."
Taking a weekend trip with his 20-year-old son, Hunter, Yarbrough said he had been interviewed by three different media outlets Friday.
That's not surprising considering the number of reporters -- from local, state and national outlets -- who were roaming around Northgate documenting the passion and excitement leading up to the game.
Hunter Yarbrough, a student at the University of Alabama who attends many, if not all, away games, wore a neckbrace with his Alabama T-shirt, leading curious Aggies to ask what happened.
"Johnny Football gave him his autograph," Joey Yarbrough joked, before pointing out that it was really a trampoline accident.
Across campus, thousands gathered at Kyle Field for First Yell, which featured country stars Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell.
Those at Northgate who didn't get tickets to the show were planning to join in for Midnight Yell, 'Bama fans included.
"Alabama people are excited to learn about Texas A&M Aggies and traditions," said Tim McGuire, an Alabama fan who heard about the Dixie Chicken from a Birmingham newspaper that had reported on local attractions for visiting fans.
When it came to predicting the score for Saturday's game, most fans, while confident in their teams, were expecting a close game. "We're all just wanting to let it play out," Armstrong said.
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