Big Orange, Elvis, and 'Anything Goes'
UT's football team will trot out the "Smokey Gray" uniforms when they suit up against Florida on Saturday at Shields-Watkins Field. The last year they did this, they lost to Georgia (and Vanderbilt).
(Correction: Macon Vol buddy Dewayne Lawson reminded me that the Vols wore the alternate gray last fall and won. I was unable to watch much of the last two seasons due to illness. Thanks, Dewayne!)
This kind of thing bugs me, but then again, I still wore a tie, or at least a sports coat, when I was a regular in Section NN, south end zone, upper deck. So I'm probably not the best one to ask.
(Even Elvis knew about orange and white while he was here once...)
But, I can face facts. I'm not in the target demographic. Continuing a trend, Tennessee (and a lot of other schools) are directly playing to the iPhone generation. And, to quote Johnny Carson, "a dollar is always a dollar." I guess they think this also helps recruiting.
I know winning football games will. Autumn afternoons at Neyland Stadium do not need PR spin when all is well on Rocky Top.
This has been a strange year. Tennessee is 3-0 and ranked higher than Florida. That should be good news.
But they've looked bad for the most part, especially on offense, in close wins against Appalachian State and Ohio University, and fared a little better in the Barnum and Bailey show at Bristol. But it took awhile.
Ah, but again, this isn't a normal year. Florida's backup quarterback has to start Saturday. Tennessee is also missing players at key positions. Josh Dobbs is running for his life. Nobody can hang onto the ball. But the defense is doing well, all things considered, and the Vols go after the Gators at home.
So who knows.
I miss a lot of Tennessee traditions. I miss the walking horse. I miss John Ward and Bill Anderson. I miss anyone with institutional knowledge.
(I don't miss "Third Down For What.")
But, in my quieter moments, I know it's all soap bubbles. Gridiron games no longer make nor break my weekends. Going through a chronic illness and living to tell the tale puts things in perspective.
I do think Tennessee should wear orange and white uniforms at home. Maybe they can get away with wearing all orange once every 10 years. I did like that one-shot black and orange jersey on Halloween.
Ah, well. To quote Cole Porter, "But now, God knows, anything goes..."
And let's be honest: If UT ends this 11-season losing streak, few will care, nor remember, what they were wearing when they did it.
(But that still doesn't mean I have to like it.)