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Back In Black

The Return of the A-Line Board of Football Experts

This deserves special recognition.


Author : Mitchell (IP: ,
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This article shows how truly old you are I’m guessing 90…These uniforms look sweet…I generates great amounts of revenue which is always good and it gets recruits. You know who havent changed their uniform in a while…Virginia and how many games are they winning recently…I’m not saying this is the only reason we get recruits but it is a help. I am also guessing that you where the same black suit, white shirt, and black tie to work everyday.

Tech’s original school colors were black and gray. Like the first state-supported name of the school, the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, they were soon discarded for today’s orange and maroon. It had been assumed that the black had been relegated to history’s dustbin. That was an incorrect assumption.

The black and gray colors were derived from the uniform worn by the cadets of that day. There was opposition and derision almost immediately, the chief complaint being that the uniform colors were too similar to prison colors. The prison garb was discarded and what had been today’s Burnt Orange and Chicago Maroon was decided upon. Who knew that in a little over one hundred years, Mike Vick would eventually wear both?

Some time back, Tech signed an apparel contract with Nike. In return for boatloads of cash, Nike was given the right to garb Tech in whatever new creation emerged from Their Bad Taste Department. The result has been seemingly a new uniform every week, most all even more garish than the last.

Many of us thought that Nike could not possibly come up with worse-looking uniforms than they had draped Tech with in the past. It turns out we were wrong about that.

Nike recently unveiled its new ‘Pro Combat System of Dress’ for so-called ‘elite’ football programs, which seems to include Tech. While it might seem that use of the word ‘combat’ to describe clothing worn by kids playing games while the country is at war is utterly tasteless, it doesn’t seem to faze the shoe mavens. Also, using ‘pro’ to describe a college uniform seems a hoot given what happened at USC and what is going on at North Carolina, but irony doesn’t seem to be Nike’s strong suit, either.

Included among Nike’s ‘Pro Combat System of Dress’ is their latest exercise in attempting to dress the Tech football team in the most ridiculous manner possible. Words that pop to mind when gazing at this abomination include ‘hideous’ and ‘ghastly.’ Suddenly Oregon’s absurd uniform combinations don’t seem so bad anymore.

Perhaps a tactical advantage can be gained at FedEx from these god-awful jerseys. There is the possibility that the Boise players will be too busy pointing and laughing at Tech’s attire to concentrate on football. Then again, it might not seem so bad to guys who play their home games on a blue field.

The real reason for all of these uniform shenanigans is to separate dollars from the young and gullible. Right on cue, those who make their living from the sale of Tech-related merchandise announced the latest fashion creation to emerge from Chinese sweat shops. Snappy, huh? Or something.

The hope is that tens of thousands of Hokies will be so afraid of the negative peer pressure that will come from not wearing the absolute latest that they will rush right out and buy what is hopefully a one-of-a-kind t-shirt. And, while the wallet is out, also purchase shirts designating this year’s White Out, Orange Effect, Maroon Effect, Lunch Pail Day, Skipper Effect, Hokiestone Effect, Lousy Taste Day and whatever else springs from the fertile marketing minds located in Jamerson and Beaverton. While there may indeed be many Hokies who are at this moment beating on retail doors demanding to hand Tech even more money than that required for the ACC’s most expensive season tickets, I know of one who is not.

Over the years, I have proven remarkably resistance to Tech’s entreaties to join the in crowd and buy an Effect du jour shirt. After 50+ years of watching Tech football, the number I have bought so far totals 0. I see no reason to change, especially for something so repellent as the current black shirt with its odious orange lettering. I have laid out a fair amount of cash the last couple of weeks buying some new attire. Included were my preferred Gameday apparel of the polo shirt along with a rain slicker and sweat shirt [and I had to search high and low to find one without the urban gangster-themed hoodie attached]. All are in maroon, which, if memory serves me correctly, is Tech’s dominant color. Or was, anyway.

I’ll pass on the atrocious black. I will take my chances on being the only one in what we are assured will be a sea of Hokies in FedEx wearing maroon instead of the trendy black. It won’t bother me in the slightest. I suspect I won’t be the only one not wearing black, but am willing to risk fashion ostracizing.

With Tech now guaranteed to have the ugliest uniforms of all that will be televised over this season-opening weekend, one does wonder: What will be next? As Tech’s uniforms become more and more outrageous, will, by the Hoo game, the players take the field wearing over-sized shoes and carrying water bottles to squirt in the faces of London’s crew? Will the bottles at least be maroon? It seems the logical conclusion; no doubt Tech and Nike will be strongly encouraging us to purchase the game-specific Clarabell the Clown Effect gear.

Once upon a time, Tech wore for every home game what I considered the sharpest color combination around, maroon jerseys with white numbers and pants. Those days sure seem quaint in this modern era of The Uglier the Better uniform determination. Tech ditched the black color back around 1896 for what I consider good reasons. Unfortunately, that has now become the minority view. See you in FedEx next Monday. I will be the guy in maroon.


  1. BobLee — August 30, 2010 #

    Obviously HJ, as BabyBoomers of similar mindset if dissimilar partisan persuasion, I share your abhorrence for the hamhanded fashion that NIKE imposes on its “bought and paid for” academic institutions.  Yuck, Ptui …..  Only the Gang In Bristol can match The Gang In Beaverton for the raping & pillaging they exert on “the traditional color and pageantry” that we do so enjoy each Fall.
    The assumption is that “they” are target marketing to the backward ballcap, slouchy jeans, Lady Gaga, Twilight vampire demographics.  I wonder how that is actually workin’ for them?  Do you see these “tie-dyed jerseys” being worn in the malls of Danville?  I don’t see them in Raleigh.
    I was at Ground Zero of Krisis Amid Kenan’s Lofty Pines on Saturday.  My purpose was to buy a new GameDay ballcap.  I had to go to three stores to find a “traditional style” “wool baseball cap” that had a high front and brim that I can mold in my desired fashion.  I told the cashier lad that I would buy a new cap each Fall IF they continued to carry the “traditional style”.
    Circumstances being what they are “amid Kenan’s pines” I was thankfully they don’t carry caps with “Marvin’s dreads” hanging out the back. …… “say good night Gracie”.


    Jim Reply:

    BL, as I discover that this piece has been linked to a certain message board and look forward to a day of deleting posts calling me an old fogey, we are definitely on the wrong side of a generation gap. On the other hand, I still seem to appeal to one group of marketers. Yet another piece of snail mail arrived today from AARP trying to sell me something.


  2. joe — August 30, 2010 #

    I’m still laughing at the Michael Vick line…
    I’m against these uniforms, but I’d support a Skipper Effect day.


  3. JDanWuff — August 30, 2010 #

    Good Lord help us if or when today’s generation ever get to decide fashion (or just about anything else) for America.  Those uniforms are fugly.  Valvanos unitards were better looking.  Well, maybe not.


    Jim Reply:

    Weren’t Jimmy V’s unitards worn exactly once before they were burned?


  4. thefootballgirl — August 30, 2010 #

    Second the laughter at the Vick line.  Classic.  (And I agree.  The uniforms are beyond terrible).


  5. Greg — August 30, 2010 #

    Another in agreement here.  VT is maroon and orange, with maroon the dominant color.  Why black for crying out loud?  Why all the business on the uni?  Please give me the maroon with orange letters, trim, etc.  I just shake my head in amazement at what happens when an institution of higher learning prostitutes itself to a Big Daddy Pimp Machine such as Nike.  Sadly, we are now seeing the results.  Rest assured the slippery slope is well greased and things will only get worse.

    Like you, Jim, I wear maroon.  Maroon long sleeve dress shirt with tasteful VT logo.  Maroon golf/polo shirt with tasteful VT logo.  Maroon pajamas with VT logos.  Maroon tennis shoes with VT logo.  Maroon tie, maroon wallet, maroon sandals, maroon belt – all with VT logos.  The only time I make exceptions if for those God-awful Sept. and early Oct noon contests so beloved by one Jim Weaver at which times I wear a white polo with maroon VT logo.  Its just too damned hot in Lane to sit there with the sun beating down on a maroon shirt.  Hope that doesn’t throw me into the “tennis-shoe-in-a-dryer” music crowd.  :-)


  6. Grillmaster — August 30, 2010 #


    Concur with your assessment, I will also wear Maroon (although black is “slimming”)!


  7. Randy Barnhart — August 30, 2010 #

    I couldn’t agree more about how they look, BUT…
    Remember this at Fedex as you look for something to jab your eyes out just to relieve the pain: numbered amongst the “young and gullible” are the 6’4″ 245 lb children who run like deer that we want in O&M (should those colors ever return).  What we find dopey (or worse) they think is just dope.
    As for all my friends (and this will be most of us) who ever sported a leisure suit, donned a mullet, slipped on bowling shoes, loved that white belt and matching shoes, wore sans-a-belt slacks, and thought short sleeved dress shirts were stylish, maybe we shouldn’t get too worked up over this generation’s hideosities.  We’ve had our own.
    BTW, you owe me a pair of slacks.  I had a mouth full of mustard covered hotdog when I read that Vick line.  Definitely worth the price of admission. 😉  Cya at the Clubhouse.


    Jim Reply:

    No problem on the slacks. I have several extra pairs of Sansabelts in the closet. What’s your favorite color, light green or plum?


  8. Atlee — August 30, 2010 #

    Here is another crumugeon that a) finds the black uniforms effing ugly and b) would not help enrich Nike one penny, c) will be wearing a maroon ball cap and maroon shirt, either polo or T-shirt.  I may wear the T-shirt to flaunt authority. :-)

    It’s a shame that so much money is needed that schools have to make prostitutes of themselves for the Nike pimp.


  9. Ty — August 31, 2010 #

    I don’t necessarily think theres a generation gap here.. i’m 22 and i think these uniforms are ridiculous. Tradition people. i’ve been going to Tech football games since you could walk up and get in for free at half time… remember when we kicked Syracuse 62-0 – yea i got into that game for free and we sure as goodness weren’t wearing some classless uniform and certainly did alright. We shouldn’t even need to be talking about this crap.


  10. IfScrapp — August 31, 2010 #

    Bless your heart Randy! Now I’m not faulting anyone for their opinion, after all thats all we have on the issue; but when I read this it cracked me up. We have the oldest coaching staff other than Penn st and we complain constantly about not being able to land the top recruits. Even though I also agree the uniforms are not very appealing (to me), I very much appreciate the fact that VT is capeable of doing something unorthodox with the uniform changes. Its exciting for the fans inspiring to the players and most of all, recruits love it. The most attractive school right now in the pac10 besides USC is undoubtedly Oregon, and its no secret why.

    Now I hope i didn’t come off too strong, but I read just about everything that is written abt VT football, and the conservativism that lies within a lot of the blog guys (with the exception of the ‘fire bryan stinespring site’ which also happens to be my personal fav) does not really resonate with our players; whom I happen to know many of.

    Now i’m not lost on the fact that Nike benefits, but by God, so do we. Some 13yr old kid is going to watch that game and say “COOL”!!! that 13yr old will hopefully grow up to be a great QB and committ to VT right away in 2015. So while u were sporting your mulletts, some old geezer was offering his words of critical wisdom as to why your generation has been lost in the new trends they deemed unsuitable. So while we might not fall in love with these unis (everyone is entitled to their preference), lets at least appreciate what VT is doing…differently.

    Carry on guys…


  11. suwanneehokie — September 1, 2010 #

    Rediculous is Right!!!   The black uniform is UGLY.
    Vote with your wallet and Just Say No to Nike.
    Contract or no contract, they can paint FEDEX field black (sound like Boise?), but they will not see any monetary benefit from this alum.


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