Post-Season Affairs After the "Dixie Classic"
The Texas A&M "Aggies" proudly claimed to be the Southern Champions after their January 1, 1922 victory over the Colonels.
It was time for recognition in College Station, home of Texas A&M, and in Danville, Kentucky and later in Houston.
A huge cake was assembled at A&M under the supervision of the culinary department as part of a luncheon for the entire Aggies' Cadet Corps and faculty to celebrate the great victory over Centre.
The monstrous dessert contained 340 pounds of baked dough, 40 pounds of jelly between the layers, and 50 pounds of 8-color icing, the majority being in the maroon and white, team colors of the Aggies.
A tape measure was put to the creation. The base was 85 inches in length, and the layers were built in a pyramid configuration to a height of 37 inches. On top was a replica of a football molded from brown icing.
Inscribed on the sides were, "Greetings Farmers, Welcome, 100%, A&M, and Jan 2, 1922."
There were little footballs, the score, "22-14," and other letters, emblems and signs which further recalled the great victory.
It took 7 men working 8, non-stop hours to complete what was to be a surprise, as only those involved were allowed into a room which was locked and off-limits to even others in the food service department.
Finally, after all of the student body and faculty had assembled in the dining hall, the huge confectionary was rolled out and met by cheers and expressions of wonderment.
The A&M celebratory cake
There was enough cake for all of the student body and faculty to enjoy a piece after it was dissected and served.
Later, a Gridiron Dinner was later held on January 28, 1922 in honor of the Texas A&M team by the Harris County Ex-Students Association at the University Club in Houston.
A program which is the possession of the author
It was significant that the organizers of the banquet wished to honor, "The team that licked the team that licked Harvard." It cannot be more emphasized how Centre's win over Harvard on October 29, 1921, resonated across the entire country.
"The Battalion," the weekly paper published by the students of A&M, had stated that, "Tomorrow the Aggie football squad with several officials of the college will leave for Houston on a special train where they will be the guests of the Houston Alumni and former students for one of the largest celebrations ever tendered for an athletic team in the South."
The newspaper predicted that there would be between five hundred and a thousand Ex-Aggies and that, "Houston is not willing to be outdone by Dallas in any manner," in reference to the post-game banquet hosted by the Dallas alums where the gold footballs were presented.
Packed Aggie Houston banquet
In Danville, the Texas cotton broker, William Weatherford, who had wired Centre after the Harvard game that he wanted to pay for a banquet, "with no expenses spared," again sent word that he was waiting for the tab so that he could make good his offer.
The January 6 Centre banquet didn't feature anything as spectacular as the gigantic cake constructed in College Station, but it was a wonderful fete. Mrs. Jones, who was in charge of preparing the meal, took Mr. Weatherford at his word. The banquet was held in the dining room of K.C.W. just two days after the team returned from the momentous trip. The girls from the school were the servers. Judge E.V. Puryear, who had been the toastmaster at the December 9 banquet at the end of the regular season, was again to preside over the proceedings.
The menu included fruit salad, several aged, sliced Kentucky country hams, chicken croquets with mushroom sauce which was a specialty of Mrs. Jones, peas, sweet breads in pastry shells, creamed potatoes, asparagus tips on toast with cream sauce, various fresh baked breads, butter and jams and jellies, congealed salad, sweet and dill pickles, olives, sweet tea, chocolate covered mints, mince pie a la mode, and cigars for everyone who wished to smoke with their coffee, now that training was over.
Every player who had ever worn a uniform during the season, having either suited up for a game or simply participated as a scrub during scrimmages, was included in the evening, including all of the Athletic Department.
A lot of talk at the banquet was about the fact that Centre didn't have a president, and it was hoped that the college would hire someone like Dr Ganfield who had been so supportive of the athletic programs. Also, a topic for discussion was the newly adopted "freshman rule." It was simply a fact that a little school like Centre was going to be tremendously handicapped in the future since freshmen couldn't compete.
Army got up and suggested that Centre withdraw from the S.I.A.A. and become "independent." Chick Murphy gave a strong speech supporting Army. While many in attendance agreed, it was pointed out that no significant school could be scheduled if Centre tried to go its own way.
"Look what happened when Pitt wouldn't play Georgia Tech. Some said it was because Tech plays so dirty, but Pitt said it cancelled because Tech wanted to play freshmen."
For Centre, the "freshman rule" was a "lose-lose" proposition. Either Centre wouldn't be able to compete due to the loss of eligibility of first-year men, or it wouldn't be able to compete because of the unwillingness of schools to put them on the schedule if freshmen were allowed to play.
Everyone agreed that once the wonderful group of athletes sitting in the K.C.W. dining hall began to graduate, there would be an inevitable and irreversible decline in Centre's athletic fortunes.
Uncle Charlie was the last speaker. Through the haze of cigar smoke, he talked about the game in Texas. He complimented the Aggies and the way they had played. But he also spoke about how proud he was of the team and their season.
"We traveled too far, and we weren't able to keep our game sharp. We make no excuses, but we simply played one game too many."
Then Uncle Charlie related what he had told the A&M coach, D.X. Bible, after the game.
"I told Coach Bible that after we beat Harvard, Eddie Mahan and Coach Fisher came into our locker room, and they said to me, 'Charlie, this win will do you a world of good, and it won't hurt Harvard one bit.' "
"And I said the same- your win will do Texas A&M a world of good, but we won't be hurt. We'll come back just as strong next year."
Then, Uncle Charlie flashed a big smile and took a long puff off his cigar.
"You know, I have signed a contract for the next 5 years to stay on as coach here at Centre. We will come back, and we'll continue on what we have built. I want you boys to know just how proud I have been to be called the coach of the Centre College Praying Colonels, the greatest team, with the greatest players, at the greatest college, at anytime, and anywhere."
There were cheers which could be heard echoing throughout the long halls of the gorgeous old buildings that were K.C.W.
"Of course, with Unc coming back, we'll be alright!"