November 2, 2012 12:00:55 PM
STARKVILLE -- Normally, the Mississippi State University football team would wear its maroon jerseys for Saturday's home game against Texas A&M. The Aggies would wear their white uniforms.
To mark the occasion of the Aggies first trip to Starkville as a member of the SEC and to commemorate the 2000 bowl meeting between the schools, the Bulldogs are wearing a special all-white "Snow Bowl'' uniform on Saturday.
Let's hope the Aggies go the memo: The team's colors and style of uniforms are almost identical. It would be near impossible to distinguish friend from foe.
A freak snowstorm that rolled through Shreveport, La. on New Years Eve in 2000, and a little magic from then Bulldog quarterback Wayne Madkin, have resulted in Saturday's game being what some would call historic. It is the first time the teams have met since the overtime thriller.
With the addition of Texas A&M to the SEC West, these universities will become much more familiar with each other.
And what they might find out is, Texas A&M and Mississippi State are not so different.
The similarities go far beyond color scheme
The most basic similarity is also the most defining for the two schools. Both Mississippi State and Texas A&M were established after the Morrill Act was enacted in 1862. They even shared names nearly identical for several decades, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi, with "Mississippi A&M" choosing "Aggie" as its first nickname. MSU adopted the Bulldog mascot in the 1960s.
In accordance with their land-grant missions, the universities have each worked to conduct research in fields vital to their states' well-being, but the schools have also put their heads together on several projects.
One of the more recent, the Southern Regional Water Program, is a "critically important effort" among 13 states to solve water-related problems and protect water resources in the Southern United States, according to Texas A&M Times.
The universities have also worked together on cotton fiber genetics. Specifically, MSU and Texas A&M have developed markers that increase resistance to reniform nematode, a parasite plant that often attacks cotton.
According to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture, "Depending on the field in which it is grown, cotton can be attacked by many different nematodes, so varieties with resistance to two or more nematode species can be beneficial."
The similarities often bring discussion back to the athletic fields.
Bully, MSU's English Bulldog mascot, won't be the only canine stalking sidelines Saturday. Texas A&M's Reveille will also be at Davis Wade. The school's official mascot since 1931, Reveille, a purebred Rough Collie, is at every home game and most away games with the Aggies, just like Bully.
At Kyle Field in College Station, Texas A&M's home field, fans wave "12th Man." towels throughout the game, creating the sensation of an ever-moving sea of white.
And just like the Aggies, Bulldog fans have their own prop as well. The cowbell will be a new experience for much of the Aggie team. Jason Cook, Texas A&M's vice president for marketing and communications and a Mississippi State alumnus, knows the sound all too well.
Cook said A&M fans should be excited about the visit to Starkville.
"The cowbells can get quite loud and annoying, depending on which team you are pulling for, of course," Cook told the TAMU Times. ""But Aggies will find Mississippi State fans to be among the most hospitable in that Mississippi State is commonly referred to as the "people's university" -- a nod to the institution's land-grant heritage that it shares with Texas A&M. I have always viewed Mississippi State as a 'mini-Texas A&M' due to the many similarities between the two schools, particularly relating to academic programs, overall culture and historic origins."
The football programs have also shared some noteworthy names: Jackie Sherrill and the late Emory Bellard both coached the Aggies and the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State will be donning all white on Saturday and the Bulldog fans are encouraged to do the same. It will be the first time in a while that the people in maroon are the foe.