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On Tennessee, Black Uniforms, and Killing the Georgia Superstition

Georgia wore black against Alabama; you see how well that worked out for them.

So after much speculation, rumors from a couple anonymous players, and a surprising amount of debate on the end of Tennessee fans, the team didn't disappoint.  True to the form they've shown with the Eric Berry Heisman campaign, the Tennessee Volunteers showed up during warmups in the all-orange uniforms and switched over to black jerseys prior to running through the T.  Even the coaches made a clothing switch to further the effect.  While nobody was surprised that the move was made, the effect was still quite tangible, and somehow appropriate for a night where a fair portion of the student section was dressed up in costume.

Be prepared for another week of endless chatter about the team wearing black; there is very little ambivalence about this issue among Tennessee fans.  (I was championing the all-orange vs. a South Carolina Gamecocks all-black effect myself, but more on that in a bit.)  The anti-black-uniform crowd will certainly be flooding the airwaves ("... I'll hang up and listen ..."), and understandably so.  The orange / white uniforms that have been such a longstanding part of Tennessee football do create a very powerful visual impression.  Rivals absolutely hate them, and fans learn to absolutely love them.


Yeah.  That response.  Fun.

But getting back to the point: I was sitting in the middle of the student section when the team appeared in the tunnel with the black jerseys on.  When glimpses of the black shot across the VolTron, the entire student section went absolutely nuts.  Normally, the cheering crescendos in volume and intensity as the team begins their Orgeron-led bouncing in the tunnel and hits maximum as they run through the T, but tonight, the first sign of black jerseys immediately pegged the needle at !!!!!11.

As far as tradition ... There are two sides to this coin.  Yes, the orange is tradition for Tennessee since before the dawn of radio.  But on one night, there was a lot of tradition-breaking going on.  The number of Elvis, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Christmas Tree, angel, ghost, and Lil' Wayne (seriously) costumes in the stands suggested that the night was not the same in Neyland.  It was alright to play a little dressup; why not let the team join in the fun as well?

And after last year, I have no problem with the team having some fun out there.

Ultimately, black jerseys are a matter of opinion.  While my opinion was for orange UT / black SoCar, I was quite pleased by the result.  Black and orange are always a strange combination, which is partly why they've become the colors of Halloween, but even at that, the uniforms looked well-designed.  (By the way, did you notice the lack of names on the backs of the jerseys?)  It was a good piece of fun that helped make the cool, rainy night more enjoyable.

Georgia Meme:  Killed

Ok, I think it's time to admit basic facts:  the Georgia Bulldogs did not lose that game to the Alabama Crimson Tide because they wore black jerseys.  Also, Georgia was not wearing black because they thought it'd help them win.  The black uniforms were indeed a motivational ploy to help energize the team and the crowd, but it's obvious that the outcome of that game was determined by the quality of the teams - and Alabama was the better team that year.  Likewise, Georgia's black helmets didn't play a part in their loss to Florida this weekend.  Florida won that game straight up.

I don't anticipate seeing the black again, but if they do - can we at least let them play the game before pronouncing them doomed?