Alabama Football and the Cincinnati Bearcats program are a world apart in terms of post-season experience. Another example showing that, occurred on Monday.
A short prelude is needed. Cincinnati plays in the colors black and red. As the home team in the Cotton Bowl, Alabama chose its crimson jerseys with white pants. The Bearcats then selected a white jersey with black pants.
Then on Monday, the Cincinnati program made a request for the equivalent of a blackout game.
Cincinnati has, of course, the prerogative of asking Bearcats’ fans to wear any color. Fans in Cincinnati red, along with crimson-wearing Alabama football fans would have made AT&T Stadium appear to have no Cincinnati fans. So logical, color options for the Bearcats program were white or black. The Cincinnati program chose black.
Alabama football fans will not care what the Bearcats wear on the field or what their fans wear in the stands. A color choice will have nothing to do with the outcome of the game.
The only team at risk from the ‘Wear Black’ promotion is Cincinnati. An underdog coming to a game dressed in funeral colors is a bad omen. Worse is the Alabama Crimson Tide history when opponents designate ‘blackout’ games. The Georgia Bulldogs tried it in the 2008 season. When the then, No. 8 Crimson Tide traveled to Athens to take on No. 3 ranked Georgia, the blackout gimmick was supposed to give the Bulldogs an emotional edge.
Obviously, inside the Cincinnati program, no one knows what happened to the Dawgs in the 2008 game. The Associated Press Headline on the game was,
"Alabama hands blacked-out No. 3 Georgia a black eye"
The first line of the game story was,
"The Alabama Crimson Tide turned the blackout into a knockout."
At halftime, the game’s score was Alabama 31 and the blacked-out Dawgs ZERO. The Tide was on auto-pilot most of the second half. After Nick Saban made extensive use of his three-deep, the Bulldogs salvaged a sliver of pride by scoring 20 4th quarter points, for a final score of 41-30.
Some Alabama football fans, and some Georgia fans too, think the Bulldogs have not yet recovered.
If the Bearcats believed a color designation was required for their fans, copying a Penn State whiteout would have been a better plan. The whiteouts have been quite successful for Nittany Lions home games. Though the massive sea of white did not stop the Crimson Tide from winning at State College in 2011.
A program more experienced with big games would know, being neither cute nor clever wins football games. That will be just one of the lessons for the Bearcats on Friday.