Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was an assistant coach at Notre Dame in 1977 when one of the most famous uniform switches in college football history happened.
Notre Dame eventually won the national championship but things weren’t looking so good five games into the season after an early upset loss against Mississippi.
The Irish warmed up in their traditional blue and gold uniforms before a late October home game against unbeaten USC.
But Notre Dame’s players found green jerseys hanging in their lockers after warm-ups and took the field behind a Trojan horse, a play on USC’s nickname. Whether the jerseys made a difference is debatable, but Notre Dame won 49-19.
“It was the coolest thing,” Smith said earlier this week.
For a large number of Ohio State fans, the decision to dress Ohio State in all black uniforms against Penn State on Saturday night does not produce a reaction anything like, “the coolest thing.”
This is the sixth time Ohio State has worn an alternative uniform. But it is the first time scarlet or white has not been the dominant color. And it is the first time OSU has worn a uniform that is all black, other than scarlet numbers and scarlet accent stripes.
If you hate alternative uniforms, get used to it because Smith said Ohio State plans to wear a different uniform for one game every year.
Personally, I prefer Ohio State in scarlet and gray, Notre Dame wearing blue and gold, Michigan in maize and blue and USC in cardinal and gold.
On the other hand, if nothing ever changed in Ohio State football, around 43,000 of the people who will be at Saturday night’s game would be watching it from home because Ohio Stadium held only 66,000 people when it opened in 1922.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.