After the Syracuse Orange announced their hardly orange uniforms for this season’s opener vs. Central Connecticut, many fans (self included) were perplexed once again. Why was a team named after the school’s official color downplaying orange?
We’ve seen this quite a bit since 2013, when the hideous color-fade helmets came into play and began designating us as the “Blues” more often than not. The new Nike set in 2014 brought more of the same, especially without all of the orange elements ready to go in that first season. The helmets were available, but the jerseys and pants were not.
Since the start of 2014, Syracuse has failed to wear any orange elements at all 11 of 36 times (37 counting Friday’s game). That’s nearly 30 percent of the time.
If you want to know why college football fans are failing to associate Syracuse with the color orange, perhaps look no further than that. We’re not wearing it, even if we’re named it.
However, that trend may come to an end soon. Late on Wednesday, Dino Babers dropped this nugget about SU’s future appearance:
Dino: New jerseys coming soon to a theater near you.— Nate Mink (@MinkNate) August 30, 2017
The one fear there, of course, is that we go ALL-#PLATINUM. But with luck, perhaps some cooler heads prevail and the Orange prioritize the color orange, and some more traditional uniform elements without compromising what’s appealing to recruits.
This gets us to the continual conflict between what most of college football’s fans (white men in their 30s and 40s) want teams to wear vs. what most of college football’s players (African-Americans in their teens and early 20s) would prefer. It’s perfectly understandable that fashion preferences would differ between the two demographics. Balancing the two is no easy feat, and Syracuse’s struggles with it since 2003/2004ish underline that fact.
Needless to say, though: Most of you want Syracuse to go back to the 90s-era duds, at least according to an informal Twitter poll conducted before Dino’s uniform note later.
It really should be this. Great memories of the 1998 team. win At Michigan. Destroy Miami. In top 25 most of season. pic.twitter.com/YXC3urW9nO— Christopher Haggerty (@TheChrisHags) August 30, 2017
McNabb or Marrone Era....when they were good Im a huge supporter 4 @CuseFootball to go for a new look on a classic uniform— Brian D (@brewplexcity) August 30, 2017
That helps, but i like the simple classic look of them. They could wear a modernized version and it wouldn't look like a uni from the 90s— Tom H (@tomhartnett21) August 30, 2017
Gotta go with these, but wouldn’t mind seeing the real old-timey ones with the numbers on the helmets… pic.twitter.com/aWJaxXfVSs— 44ist (@fortyfourist) August 30, 2017
These. pic.twitter.com/7xyGhz839i— Tom H (@tomhartnett21) August 30, 2017
Some votes came in for the Marrone-era sets, as well as some more for the OLD uniforms from the Jim Brown-Ernie Davis heyday. But the one thing all of these choices have in common?
Syracuse’s history of success while wearing them.
Your memories of certain things are populated by what you saw, sure. But it’s also how you felt. That’s not a criticism of Syracuse fans. It’s just human nature to associate good feelings with what you saw/heard during them, whether it’s a relationship, a song or in this case, football uniforms.
The McNabb-era uniforms were great, don’t get me wrong. The drop shadow on those uniforms is one of my earliest college football memories, and it’s still the first uniform that pops into my subconscious whenever I think of SU football. It’s true for most of you as well, I’m sure.
If Syracuse goes that route, however, there do need to be some tweaks. Multi-color collar has to be streamlined to orange, and same goes for the sleeves. The block-S needs to be added to the helmet, because we need people knowing for certain that it’s the Orange they’re watching light up the scoreboard while flipping channels. I’d be cool with an altered drop-shadow on the numbers, and really, you could leave the pants as is.
But again, perhaps we’re tying too much of our thoughts on this look into the way we felt while watching those teams succeed. The look of those uniforms is not a current one, and would stick out like a sore thumb (not necessarily in a good way) today. Leaving the helmets blank again could be a disaster, in my opinion. If we were going to mine the past for inspiration, perhaps the Marrone set was the closest thing to this one while still executing a modern design.
The other option is maybe taking a different path entirely. Syracuse has never really been a “cutting-edge” program, but perhaps some highlighter orange and other unique elements are what we need to set ourselves apart. I’m not saying embrace #PLATINUM (never do that). But there are other options if it’s deemed that the supposedly classic (to us) look just doesn’t cut it with recruits.
I don’t have an sure answer, but it seems like Dino Babers will be providing one for us soon. As long as there’s a bit more orange involved, I think I’m fine with whatever outcome arrives.
But what about you?