The Blackout Freakout of 2015: UGA Fans are Still Desperate for a Curse
At 9:44 PM on August 1st the rumor dropped.
It was from a beatwriter at the Tidewater News named Andrew Lind. He had a source within Nike that a series of T-Shirts, which looked to be nothing more than ugly t-shirts, were actually real life jerseys that would be worn this season by the teams’ whose insignia they bore. This meant that nine teams (NINE) would be wearing alternate black jerseys this season. Here’s the tweet:
The fact that these designs would be pretty fugly as uniforms does not keep the rumor down. Nor does the fact that Charlie Strong straight up denied that Texas would have black jerseys days before these images were said to be uniform designs. As even Lind notes:
But, hey, we’re UGA fans so, in spite of reasons to the contrary, we’re gonna lose our damn minds. So several UGA blogs along with Saturday Down South run a story about the tweet from Lind. Most assume that UGA will be wearing black jerseys against Bama — the Bama Blackout Part 2: Electric Bugaloo.
Logan Booker, a very good journalist whose work I enjoy, tweets out the strongest of the takes I’ve seen. He both supports the comeback of black jerseys and basically says that Richt already told the media that black jerseys were coming this season for sure:
Booker’s certainty about the imminent return of a Blackout is confusing. Either he is revealing a stronger statement from Richt that never appeared in print or he is just reading too much into Richt’s comments after the 2014 Kentucky game. That night Richt said that Aaron Murray and the seniors wanted to wear black jerseys for the game, but the black uni’s simply weren’t there for the team to wear. He then dropped the famous “maybe next year” line that set the stage for this wild maelstrom of sartorial speculation.
Either way the UGA-internet storm builds and pushes Seth Emerson of the AJC to call one Greg McGarity and confirm the rumor.
McGarity denies the rumor, insisting that UGA will not wear an alternate uniform this season:
That seems to be that.
….Unless McGarity is setting up one of the best okey-doke’s in UGA history, but we’ll leave that aside for now.
Still, what strikes me the most about this story is the undercurrent of UGA fans still ravenously policing the black jerseys.
Now, you could argue that there is something to that. The 07′ season’s alternate jerseys looked to be the beginning of a beautiful tradition at UGA, one that I’m proud to say I was a part of as a student. But then the 08′ Blackout was such a disastrous result that many soured on the idea. The Old Guard could wail about changing uniforms but the idea of a ‘curse’ or a ‘jinx’ didn’t really have a foothold yet. Most assumed the black jerseys would be back, even if they didn’t like the idea.
But the solid black never did come back.
What came afterward was a series of uniform changes that brought even deeper humiliation to the fanbase, both on account of the results they heralded and because they were pretty awful looks.
There were the all-red-all-the-time “power ranger” uni’s of the Boise State opener. Then the black helmets and pants for the Florida game. Both losses. Both embarrassingly so.
At that point the hope of a Blackout becoming tradition was done in by the merging of the Old Guard with the True Believers. Suddenly any uniform change was not just a slight to the tradition but a tempting of fate, a calling forth of the dreadful Curse.
Now, Booker is obviously right. Uniforms don’t lose games. That’s obvious.
What’s even more obvious to me, however, is that the UGA fanbase is desperate for some type of curse to explain away the glaring underachievement of the program since 2007. That’s why every year around this time another rumored Blackout surfaces and the fanbase loses its collective sh*t over the idea.
The East has been just about as down as it can be and UGA has not only struggled to challenge for the SEC Championship (and along with it a National Title) they’ve struggled to even challenge within their division. Couple that with the slew of downright superstar caliber players that have worn the red and black since 07′ and you have a great recipe for the True Believers to begin crying “CURSE!”
Sadly, the Black Jerseys never had a chance. They were always going to be the symbol of our fated doom, the harbinger that foretells another New Years Eve spent in f***ing Tampa playing the Big Ten.
The idea that’s tougher to stomach, however, is that there is no curse.
UGA is simply a program that has underachieved and done so in the window of its greatest opportunity. When UGA should have been and, frankly, finally could have been winning Mark Richt a National Championship it failed, spectacularly so in many cases. Freaking out about Black Jerseys is a nice distraction. Actually wearing Black Jerseys for a game might be an even better one. But what will not go away is the nagging question that I’ve asked myself many times since that magical night in the Fall of 2007: was that as good as it gets for Georgia under Mark Richt?
I sincerely hope not. For my part, I’m in favor of a Blackout home game every year. I think it’s a good thing. I hope they’ll do it soon.
Mostly so we can stop the Freakouts once and for all.