This is something I've waited until my senior year at The University of Tennessee to do, so please don't let this go ignored.
I'm from Atlanta, but I've been coming to UT football games since we beat Miami 35-7 in 1984.
With all the uniform changes in the past two years (including the upcoming retro-cool "orange yoke" on the shoulders for the season opener Sunday night), I've noticed one thing has gone overlooked. Or maybe it's intentional.
I'm almost afraid to mention what it is, because I get this feeling as a lifetime UT fan, that this is an offense, that this letter will be crumpled up in a fit of indifference. So please, once I tell you what uniform combo I'm referring to, read on.
Orange Pants AWAY.
Those 3 words right there sum up nearly half a lifetime of frustration for me. When a child grows up, it makes its associations early on. At an early age, I came to recognize Daddy, Mommy and The Big Orange.
The Big Orange that I came to recognize wore orange jerseys and white pants at home, and orange pants and white jerseys at away games.
Around the time Jurassic Park came out, the orange pants were ripped untimely from the hearts of UT fans.
This is such a passionate topic for me, that my entire structure of this letter is about to fall entirely....Screw it.
Orange pants just look better, and NO, I'm NOT talking about ALL ORANGE AT HOME!
That's bad luck.
I understand that we have to wear white jerseys on the road. I'm fine with that, but WE NEED SOME SCHOOL COLOR to sport when we're away from the safe confines on Neyland Stadium.
Heck, even the legendary John Ward started referring to us as "The Big White" on his radio broadcasts at away games.
All the excuses and all the reasoning for continuing to wear white pants on the road can be squashed by one look at, say, the '91 Notre Dame game. We were wearing Orange Pants on the road when we put up over 30 points on the Irish in a second half comeback.
Ok, now that I've regained composure, here's the only possible reasons that I can think of to justify white pants on the road.
No. 1...White pants "make you look bigger."
I think if football players are trying to look bigger, they should make themselves bigger. That way, they ARE bigger and don't need ugly all-white uniforms to cover up their shame.
No. 2...It's a "coach thing."
At the end of Johnny Majors' career, the UT coaching staff felt that they needed to trash the orange pants as somewhat of a slap in the face to Majors, a firm kind of "out with the old, in with the new" slap.
Newsflash: ILLNESS AND THE LOSS OF HIS JOB WAS THE SLAP, and anything else is salt in the wound.
Look at Penn state's uniforms. They're ugly!
You can barely even tell whose playing because of the severe lack of school color on them.
And now we look just like that. The past few years have seen a couple of uniform changes - the big strip in the middle of the jersey, the orange "shoulder yoke" coming for the UNLV game and the two stripes on the side of the white pants.
All we have to do is take the orange on the road. I heard a rumor that we were going to do it last time in the Swamp, but it never happened.
The lack of Orange pants on the road has left a hole in me, and sometimes it still hurts when the wind blows through.
Cut me, and I'll bleed UT orange if Adidas can't afford to supply us with enough color pigment to go 'round.
I don't mind donating my plasma so that we look good on the road. Just once, ONCE this year, please WEAR THE ORANGE PANTS ON THE ROAD.
I miss them, and I want them back.
- Wes Faires is a senior in journalism at The University of Tennessee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orange pants should be unretired
Published: Tue Aug 31, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:19 p.m.