According to Wikipedia (started by an Auburn grad), Auburn’s colors of burnt orange and navy blue were chosen by Dr. George Petrie, Auburn’s first football coach, based on those of his alma mater, the University of Virginia. More on that history here.
From that point on, Auburn wore blue jerseys with white lettering and orange trim, which is the reason that Auburn has cheers such as “Let’s go, big blue, let’s go…” and Bodda Getta that ends with “kick ’em in the butt, big blue.”
Growing up, and even now as I watch replays of old games, fans never really had a uniform color that was worn on game days. Sure there were some blue shirts, but in general people seemingly just wore whatever was on top of the stack that day. Football games were not the events back then that they are now, so no one really dressed up, or had “game day outfits,” or even wore bold colors to show their team affiliation.
Early in the Tommy Tuberville era, a marketing campaign was spawned that encouraged Auburn fans to wear orange to sporting events. I don’t know if this campaign was actually Tuberville’s idea or if he was just the most public Auburn figure pushing it, but it definitely picked up steam quickly and is alive and well today. Ten or so years later, to the outside world and to younger/newer Auburn fans, orange is as much of one Auburn’s primary colors as is navy blue.
If you walk into an Auburn store these days, 95% of the shirts are orange. You’d be hard pressed to find anything in blue with some sort of design other than “AUBURN” (in orange) across the front. The landscape of Auburn’s color scheme landscape has changed. There is no denying it.
Those that do not know any different obviously do not mind, but some traditionalists (and girls who say orange just isn’t their color) want Auburn to squash this campaign and go back to “big blue.” A quick Twitter poll I did a few weeks ago showed close to a 50/50 split. I lean towards the blue side, but part of me is still on the fence for a few reasons.
I’m about as “Pat Dye” as it comes as far as Auburn football is concerned. I like old school. I like navy blue jerseys, white helmets, white cleats, and blood-stained white pants. But in terms of what the fans wear, a stadium full of navy blue just doesn’t pop on television as much as orange does. Navy blue is a pretty boring color when trying to be boisterous and draw attention.
Last season, Auburn had a “True Blue” game against Clemson, and two seasons ago there was the “Navy Nightmare” against Ole Miss. It was good to see blue back in the stands, but it definitely didn’t look as vibrant as the orange that we had gotten used to. So in that respect, I would have to say that orange wins out.
However, after a decade of bright orange shirts, I’ve grown tired of the whole thing and almost feel as if they look a little redneck. And the girls are right, orange doesn’t really go with anything, so unless there’s a blue “Auburn” across the front, it usually looks pretty bad, and in turn cheap, and in turn redneck. Just my opinion.
A few years ago I began to see fans of other schools wearing shirts that said “I hate orange,” and have Tennessee, Clemson, and Auburn listed on the back. That’s just wrong. We’re not orange. Orange is Auburn’s secondary color. Kick ’em in the butt big BLUE.
There is a sect of fans that were obviously grateful for the wins during the Tommy Tuberville era, but also feel like that decade was not true Auburn football. They felt like he tried to make too many changes with the program and promoted himself too much. The push for orange was just another small, but big enough example for them to be happy with his departure.
Now that Chizik has come in and it appears that old school is back in, some see it as time to put orange back in its place as just the small stripe on the jersey and helmet and as the trim on their blue, white, or grey t-shirt. I somewhat feel the same way. I’m not saying get rid of orange altogether. An occasional orange is fine, but I just don’t like being called an ‘orange’ school, and as long as we fill the stadiums with orange and hand out all orange shakers, it will continue to happen.
On that note, can we seriously get rid of the all orange and even all blue shakers? They look cheap. And the all orange one screams Tennessee like it’s nobody’s business. The orange and blue mix is classic and perfect and works in every way.
It wouldn’t be a blogle if I didn’t throw a little rumor in here. I’ve been told that Chizik hates orange and wants to get rid of it, but because of how “All Auburn, All Orange” is used in the spirit points system, it can’t be dropped just like that (I snapped). I have alluded to this before, but think about it: when is the last time you saw Chizik wear an orange shirt? I know he did the first few games of his first season at Auburn, but since then he’s rocked the white jacket over a white or blue Under Armour shirt. This is just what I’ve been told by someone who would know…
A lot of money has been put into making orange bigger over the last decade, so I’d say the idea that the school would just automatically stop pushing it would be highly unlikely. However, there was that “Jungle” thing that ended pretty quickly.
So over the course of writing this, I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I don’t care what it looks like on television, I just don’t want orange to be pushed so much. Blue has it’s pitfalls in terms of excitement (yes, I’m suggesting the color of t-shirts influences excitement levels), but just orange is not Auburn, and Auburn is not just orange.
All of that being said, I have worn an orange shirt to every game (besides the “blue” games) since this whole thing started because Auburn told me to do so. And I probably will until they tell me otherwise.
Tell me what you think by voting in the poll and leaving your thoughts in the comments below. This is a huge, pressing matter that trumps all other aspects of Auburn Athletics at this moment, so do your part.
If you think I’m harping too much on colors of shirts, go read the Graphic Services website for Auburn’s Office of Communications and Marketing. Talk about wordy and detailed…
**Note: this is my 800th post. You are the wind beneath my wings.