We are just hours away from what many media outlets are calling the “Game of the Century”. Alabama, one of the greatest football programs of all-time, will square off against LSU, one of the top teams of the last decade.
This rivalry is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated events of the football season and none have been for higher stakes than this season's game, with a National Championship Game berth seemingly on the line.
These two programs have much more in common than just coach Nick Saban. Both teams' offenses are built around strong running games and their defenses are built around promoting a team effort. It is these similarities that are making this game so difficult to predict.
However, these two programs have more in common than just their style of play. Both programs are steeped in traditions and preserving their historical roots. For example, Alabama fans will always sing the song Rammer Jammer after a win. It doesn’t matter if it is Georgia State or Auburn.
The Tigers, on the other hand, take great pride in the variety of foods that are served at tailgates. Even if frogs became an endangered species, they are going to find a way to get a bucket full every Saturday.
One tradition that both teams hold on to is related to their uniforms. While their traditions are different, their passion is similar. For LSU, they remain one of the few college football teams that wear white jerseys for home games.
Almost all schools wear their coloured jersey for home games, as did LSU until 1958. It was during that season that head coach Paul Dietzel decides to mix things up and wear the white uniforms for home games.
LSU won the national championship that season and, as a state entrenched with superstitions, this was no longer a fashion trend but now it was a necessity.
This tradition continued for 18 years until the NCAA intervened and would no longer allow the Bayou Bengals to carry on their tradition. This ban would continue for 11 years and, despite winning two SEC championships during this time, Tiger fans believed that the purple home jerseys were bad luck.
Finally, in 1995, new LSU head coach Gerry DiNardo was able to restore the white home jerseys. However, it was not until he met with each rules committee member individually that the NCAA finally lifted the ban.
This tradition is like the Detroit Red Wings octopus or the Chicago Cubs and their many goat traditions. Either way, it is unique and it is full of passion.
The Crimson Tide football program is also known for the traditions of the uniforms. In fact, the Alabama administration would have to go almost back to leather helmets to have a throwback uniform. However, this uniform is important because it represents the history of the Crimson Tide.
I am 32 years old and I might be one of the few people over the age of 30 who like for teams to wear new uniforms from time-to-time. I think blackouts are neat and we need more of them. Who cares if the Georgia Bulldogs lost one game with them—they won two. New pics are surfacing of a possible Kentucky black-out and I think it is good.
The only exception is when Tennessee wore them when Lane Kiffin was there. They looked like Halloween themed candy corn.
The point is that new jerseys are cool and are a nice change of pace. However, Alabama should never, under any circumstances, wear alternate uniforms. For Alabama fans, it represents their historic past, which includes 22 SEC championships. However, for even non-Alabama fans, it represents a time when college football was simpler.
In those times, players did not have to worry about whether driving their uncle's car was going to be a NCAA violation. Players were not playing football for a chance to earn millions of dollars in the NFL. They were playing for their school pride and love for the game.
Every time I see the Alabama uniforms, I am reminded of a greater time before the game was corrupted by scandalous NCAA employees, immoral agents, and selfish players.
You can decide which tradition you like best, but for me, I think they are both great for college football.