Today, multiple jersey combinations and designs are the norm. Teams trot out different combinations, colors and designs on a near weekly basis. The traditional jersey for many teams is a term from a bygone era.
This was, of course, not always the case.
In the 1970s, there were no alternate jerseys. Every team had a traditional jersey it wore and that was it. No alternates or anything. This was long before the big Nike apparel deal.
That changed when Notre Dame wore a green jersey in 1977 against USC, upsetting the Trojans. That got the folks at Auburn thinking about doing something different to spark the program.
For the final home game in 1978 against Georgia, Auburn warmed up in its traditional blue jerseys. When the Tigers emerged from the locker room, they were wearing orange.
As this video from AL.com explains, those orange uniforms had a special meaning and created a special moment:
Auburn tied that game against Georgia 20-20. The Tigers would wear the orange uniforms two more times in the subsequent two years, winning one and losing one for an overall record of 1-1-1 in orange.
Then the orange uniforms were never seen again as coach Doug Barfield was replaced by Pat Dye.
To hear the players in this video talk about it though, the orange uniforms gave the games they played a bowl-like feeling to them. Barfield went 29-25-1 at Auburn. It was not exactly a track record of success. These unique jerseys were special in Auburn lore.
The question now comes with the Under Armour deal and the obsession with new uniforms across college football: Could the orange uniforms make an occasional return?
Florida has eschewed its traditional blue uniforms to wear orange on occasion throughout the last several years. Tennessee has occasionally taken off its orange uniforms for gray and black. Even the most traditional teams have come out of the locker room with something different on.
Auburn could certainly add an orange uniform to its set.
For now, the orange uniforms remain a special, but brief part of the Tigers’ history.