AUBURN, Ala. -- It’s time. Actually, it’s past time for Auburn to join the wave of college football programs wearing alternative uniforms.
Ben Tate wearing a throwback uniform in 2007/Todd Van Emst photo
Look, I like Auburn’s home and away uniforms. It’s a classic, timeless look. I’m not suggesting you throw them out or change them, but does Auburn have to wear them for all 12, 13 or 14 games every single year?
Of course not.
In case you haven’t noticed those empty seats at Jordan-Hare Stadium, attendance is down. And it’s a national trend that is picking up steam. Auburn and colleges across the country are going out of their way to find different ways to attract fans and add more “value” to their experience.
As an aside, they ought to be lowering ticket prices for the average Joe but that’s for another column.
One way to generate excitement and put more fannies in seats, not to mention increase revenue from jersey sales, is alternative uniforms.
Let’s take this week for example. How much more excitement would there be and how many more seats would be filled for Saturday’s game against Western Carolina if Auburn was coming out of the tunnel in an all navy uniform including navy helmets, jerseys and pants?
Why not do the same for the Florida Atlantic game in two weeks. What about navy helmets and jerseys with gray pants. I’m not a big fan of orange but Auburn’s has worn orange jersey before.
They’ve worn throwback jerseys too, in 2007, on the 50th anniversary of the 1957 national championship team.
There’s plenty of possible combinations with Auburn’s navy blue and burnt orange colors. Oregon, which started the trend of alternative uniforms in 1999, is up to 384 different combinations. No need to go to that extreme but surely Auburn could find four or five combinations that could be designed, worn and marketed.
And they don’t have to look like those hideous state flag uniforms Maryland wears. They can still have a classic, but updated look.
There’s another very big reason Auburn needs to add a little splash to its uniforms -- recruiting.
Oregon’s rise to prominence has coincided with it’s fast-paced offense and imaginative uniforms. What was once a Pac-12 cellar dweller is now a national power that can recruit from coast to coast.
I don’t think any recruit chooses Oregon just because of their uniforms but I do think its one of many factors.
And it’s not just Oregon that’s jumping on the alternative uniform bandwagon. A number of Auburn’s SEC rivals have already joined in.
Georgia has worn a a black jersey several times since 2007 and donned a NIKE Pro Combat uniform in 2011 that featured a silver helmet and red jersey and pants.
Florida has also worn a NIKE alternative uniform on several occasions.
Tennessee debuted its smokey gray uniforms in a near upset of Georgia last Saturday. Here’s what 5-star defensive tackle Matt Elam told GoVols247 about the uniforms when they were first showed off in August.
“I like them a lot. They are sick,” Elam said. “People are going to love it.”
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