HANSEN

Greg Hansen: Can all-red UA avoid fate of all-gold ASU?

2012-11-21T00:00:00Z 2012-11-21T06:43:18Z Greg Hansen: Can all-red UA avoid fate of all-gold ASU?Greg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 21, 2012 12:00 am  • 

In 1989, moments before kickoff at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State charged from its locker room in uniforms much different from those it wore during pre-game drills.

All gold.

"If you remember, I was quoted as saying they looked like a bunch of bananas," UA all-conference linebacker Chris Singleton says now.

The bananas were soon peeled.

"Whenever I chat with one of the guys from the '89 team, we always bring up their uniforms," remembers Paul Tofflemire, Arizona's starting center. "I remember all of us laughing at them when they came on the field. It didn't have the effect they were hoping it would."

Arizona won 28-10.

"I think their coach (Larry Marmie) and the team thought it would give them a mental edge, but it failed," says UA starting tailback Reggie McGill. "Talking to some of my friends who played for ASU back then, Phillippi Sparks and Eric Guilford, they said their coaches put too much emphasis on the game."

The Sun Devils have not attempted the all-gold look since.

Now, 23 years later, for the first time in its modern football history, Arizona will wear all-red against the Sun Devils. Isn't this tempting the football gods?

Will Arizona's red-out give the Sun Devils more motivation than it gives the red-clad Wildcats?

"Personally, I like the red uniforms idea," says Singleton, the first-round draft pick of the 1990 New England Patriots. "Let's just hope they kick butt, so they can't say it was because of the uniforms."

Sometimes the uniform shuffle works: Washington marketed a "Blackout of the Century" for September's game against undefeated Stanford. The Huskies distributed 25,000 pairs of black gloves, 11,000 black beanies, and coach Steve Sarkisian hosted a Black-Out Rally at which he supplied food and black T-shirts to Husky students.

Washington rolled 17-13.

And sometimes it doesn't work: In 2010, Nebraska declared its showdown against Texas to be a "Red Out Around the World." The school created a website and beseeched Husker fans globally to wear all-red on Oct. 16, 2010, certain that the good karma would help take down the loathed Longhorns.

Texas won 20-13.

In Tofflemire's years at Arizona, 1988-91, Arizona's football wardrobe was as predictable as orange on a pumpkin. Blue jerseys at home, white on the road. White pants every week. Dick Tomey insisted his team wear black cleats, which wasn't cool in the wear-white era of the day. Tomey insisted that black shoes made a team look slower on film, and therefore opposing coaches would fail to properly evaluate Arizona's team speed.

That was the UA's long-ago idea of fashion.

"I saw the all-red uniforms, and I'm OK with them," says Tofflemire. "They're not going to get ridiculed like the Sun Devil team of '89 did."

BYU widely advertised an "All-Black" theme for its home game against Oregon State last month, complete with special matte-finish charcoal helmets. An overflow crowd of more than 65,000 attended, almost all outfitted in black.

Didn't help. Oregon State won 42-24.

In comparison, the Beavers' first attempt at a "Black Out" backfired so badly that it was five years before Oregon State tried it again. Remember?

On Oct. 6, 2007, Arizona arrived at Reser Stadium to find the OSU student section dressed, for the first time in school history, in all-black. The student newspaper published a story that said "Paint your face black; it scares Wildcats."

But the "Blackout Reser" game, won 31-17 by Oregon State, had unintended consequences. Some students wore Afro wigs. Many wore black face paint. Oops. It wasn't until this year, in victories over Cal and Utah, that the Beavers brought the "Black Out" back, this time banning wigs and face paint.

By now, following the lead of the Oregon Ducks, every team in college football has tried a mix of colors, some straying far from tradition. So Arizona's Red-Out won't draw much attention outside the boundaries of Sixth Street and Cherry Avenue. It's been done ad infinitum.

The last time the Territorial Cup produced a uniform brouhaha in Tucson was 1982. The Wildcats had adopted the all-white look, home and road, because their superstitious coach, Larry Smith, hoped to capture the karma the all-whites produced in '82 road upsets over No. 8 Notre Dame and over John Elway's final Stanford team.

But when the Wildcats took the field for pre-game drills, the Sun Devils were wearing light-colored jerseys. Smith insisted ASU had been told to wear dark jerseys.

The game was delayed; referees ordered the UA to change jerseys. Smith was livid and so was his team.

Minutes before kickoff, the UA's equipment staff hustled up 85 navy blue jerseys and solemnly distributed them to the angry Wildcats. ASU coach Darryl Rogers had purposely and, he assumed, successfully defused the All-White Wildcats.

All the Sun Devils needed to do was beat Arizona, which would have given them the Pac-10 championship and a first-ever berth in the Rose Bowl.

The Wildcats wore blue, but ASU left Tucson feeling blue. Arizona won 28-18, tore down the goal posts and have not worn white at home since.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 8 4 0 0.667
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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