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Alabama is No Fun: Tennessee's Request to Wear Orange Jerseys is Denied.

Once upon a time, the home and home jerseys were the tradition in this rivalry.
Once upon a time, the home and home jerseys were the tradition in this rivalry.

Driving home and listening to the Sports Animal today, I heard the final verdict on the Tennessee Volunteers request to wear orange jerseys during the upcoming football game against the Alabama Crimson TideThe SEC office had approved the request, but the University of Alabama denied it.  Tennessee had the option of wearing them anyway, at the cost of 15 yards on the opening kickoff, but Lane Kiffin has already stated that such an option is off the table - the team does not need to provide any further assistance to Alabama as it is.

In this one point, we must now concede that the PAC-10 has out-cooled the SEC.  Last year, the USC Trojans were willing to accept the penalty (then just a lost timeout) to wear their home colors when playing in the Rose Bowl against the UCLA Bruins.  UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel leveled the field by calling a timeout immediately after the opening kickoff so both teams started with 2 timeouts in the first half.  The whole arrangement was so well-handled and the on-TV effect was so stunning that the NCAA actually made a positive change by providing a means to allow home-and-home colors on the field.

It was one small step in undoing a very anachronistic regulation; the requirement for white away jerseys was put in place when college football games were initially broadcast on national networks.  At the time, black and white televisions were common, and people had a hard time telling the teams apart.  (This was normally not a problem regionally, as the locals knew how to tell the difference, but the national broadcasts changed the equation.)  Sometime in the late 70s to late 80s, that requirement became laughably obsolete.  Now that we're in the high-definition age where black and white televisions can't even broadcast the signal, the only remaining concern is whether the colors are too similar for the players themselves to tell apart.

So we now have to wait at least one more year before we get the Third Saturday in full color.  With any luck, Alabama will condescend to request to wear their colors, Tennessee will graciously oblige, and we can get back to a wonderful tradition that has been neglected for far too long.