Orange Watch: There’s nothing uniform about uniforms anymore

Orange Watch knows Uni Watch.

What we mean is, yours truly has been an acquaintance of Paul Lukas, the Brooklyn-based publisher of the Uni Watch blog for almost a decade, his popular writings a must-read daily perusal of all-things uniform-related for all of us uniform geeks aficionados. (An inside joke here, Paul often uses a strikethrough technique in his writing.)

Anyway, when Paul wrote this week that he’s hearing the top-ranked Orange basketball team may adorn a “rivalry game” gray uniform for an upcoming game (we’re guessing Feb. 11 vs. Connecticut because it’s against a rival and a CBS telecast, and the previous two times Nike wanted to spotlight a blue alternate jersey those games were on CBS – more details below), the Orange Nation social media world blew up with disgust. And, rightfully so.

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» Does Syracuse look good in gray? Discuss.

We’re all for the players to enjoy a game or two per season wearing some sort of alternative or throwback uniform because they love to don what’s trendy, but the much-copied black jerseys for the sake of wearing black jerseys, or jerseys that totally make a mess of and/or distort a school’s traditional colors, such as the Orange wearing this supposed stylish color gray, is also a fashion trend contrived to spotlight the design work of the Nikes and Under Armours of the world, and of course, sell more (new) merchandise. It’s one trend that’s getting old quickly.

It was bad enough that Nike designed the basketball uniform switch to silver numbers (as a supposed sign of strength?) at the end of the 2007 season, demoting blue to trim, but then again that’s been the direction for several seasons, spotlighting orange for the Orange, with blue, silver and now apparently gray on a one-time basis, as secondary accessories.

As to the aforementioned reference of alternate jerseys, twice in the Jim Boeheim era the ‘Cuse wore blue jerseys instead of orange on the road, almost exactly 20 seasons apart – Feb. 1988 at Kentucky and Feb. 2008 at Notre Dame. Both games resulted in SU defeats.

Boeheim has never liked shaking things up uniform-wise, even turning down a suggested switch to wear orange at home several seasons back for a proposed “Orange-Out” promotion around a Georgetown Dome showdown. (SU did wear orange as the road team in a Dome game against N.C. State in year two of the original Big East/ACC challenge in Dec. 1990.)

We wanted to find out more from inside Manley and/or the Melo Center about the gray “rivalry game” hoops jersey and if indeed a change is coming to football with a deemphasizing of blue, but did not hear back before this was published.

Either way, the debate will continue to rage in Orange Nation as to just how fashionable or traditional the orange togs should be at future game unveilings.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.