Being firmly established in the middle class means a lot of things, but on a basic level it means this: There are people who have less money than you, and there are people who have more money than you. ¶ Sometimes, though, it is still shocking to witness the priorities and spending habits of those who have a lot more money than you. ¶ Two such things caught our eye this week — both of them, to nobody's surprise, pertaining to Texas A&M football (but neither directly related to Johnny Football).

• The prized vanity plate "12THMAN" became available in Texas for the first time because, as's Darren Rovell reports, vanity license plates in that state were previously restricted to six characters. Those familiar with history know that "12th man" is part of Aggies football lore, often referring now to their dedicated fan base.

So the rights to the plate were sold via auction. That's not a misprint, not a typo. An auction for a license plate.

The winning bid: $115,000. That, too, is not a misprint.

Houston trial lawyer Tony Buzbee was the winning bidder, according to His plan is to give the plate to a war veteran who is an A&M grad, so there is that. And it is his money, we suppose … even if it's more than many people make in a year.

• This is not the biggest story involving Texas A&M this week, of course. The Aggies play host to Alabama on Saturday in a showdown of top teams and big egos in the heart of football country.

It should be epic … and the ticket prices reflect that. reported that the average price for one ticket to the game on the secondary market is $763 — making it the most expensive regular-season college game the site has ever tracked.

It stands in stark contrast to a reminder sent out by the U of M athletics Twitter feed on Thursday. A student season ticket for the six remaining Gophers football games is $84 total ($14 per game).

So roughly nine U of M students could get tickets for the rest of the year for the average price of one Alabama vs. Texas A&M ticket.

michael rand