A VERY noticeable change will confront Carolina fans this Thursday night – Zero Dark Thursday. For the very first time in the ever-how-many years of football at UNC, the team will wear all-black uniforms – helmet, jersey & pants with blue numerals and blue accents. Holy Choo Choo – say it ain’t so!

Renner Black Uniform UNCThe reaction is certain to be “mixed”. Traditionalists will have reactions ranging from cardiac arrest to “HOW COULD THEY?” and other exclamatory phrases. On the opposite end there will be cheers and high fives and exclamatory utterances of high approval. You can bet that pretty much everyone will have something to say about it whether seeing them in person in Kenan or on national TV.

“I don’t care what they wear so long as they win” in various forms will be a popular reaction. That Carolina will be a decided underdog versus Miami might work in favor of the radical new unis. The Tar Heels are in the middle of a thus far disappointing season that “smart money” says might not get all that much better. A 5th loss, it can be surmised, would have happened in any uniform.

Consistent with the mounting losses it is a GUARANTEE that way more than a dozen attendees in Kenan Thursday night will pontificate that perhaps Coach Fedora should devote more time to teaching blocking and tackling fundamentals and less time designing new uniforms. A risk the second year coach likely knew he was taking. Such is the plight of a Head Coach maneuvering thru a “down year”.

I, personally, don’t care for those chrome helmets with the cartoonish foot. BUT that helmet sure looked pretty good when Gio wore it on “the punt return”. Yes, I did mutter a curse at the time that “now we’ll never get rid of those goofy helmets”.

The new all-black unis might indeed “inspire” the Heels to a maximum effort. Such an inspired effort coupled with an uninspired effort from the “on-paper more physically talented” Hurricanes could produce an upset for the Home team. If not, surely no one will blame those &^%$* black uniforms. OK, probably someone will.

A frustrating season, lowlighted by the butt-kicking from our fellow UNC System institution from Greenville, tends to generate general cynicism from “normal UNC Black Helmetfans”. Of course “some fans” project cynicism under any circumstance. If Carolina were 5-0 today, there would a grumpy contingent grousing “it won’t last” and informing any/all that the bubble will burst. When/if it does, the grumpies proudly trumpet how they “knew it would”.

Being a fan means having “opinions without consequences.” Circumstances may have consequences. Coaching decisions “to go for it” or “to punt to Gio or not” or “to blitz a safety” et al may have positive or negative consequences. But what a fan may opine about such circumstances has no consequences. OK, other than possibly a punch in the mouth from a fellow fan sick of hearing from the stridently opining fan.

Fan opinions about uniforms often result in blistering letters/emails of disapproval to an AD or a Rams Club executive, or plaudits of approval if the opinion is positive. The former tend to greatly outnumber the latter, consistent with human nature.

I tend to be a “traditionalist” so trendy new uniforms aren’t usually my cuppa tea… but I’m of the Baby Boomer faction and no longer represent the desired target market for any marketing campaign. I’m predicting “my ilk” will turn thumbs down on the new unis UNLESS, of course, they result in a big upset W for the local eleven. That result will mute criticism…for a day or so anyway.

A new “tradition” begun last season is for BubbaTheRealAD to find me during the first half (he knows where I hang out) and ask what I think about whatever silly newfangled tweak he has implemented in the name of “progress”. I always try to buffer any negative criticism with something positive. It was a real struggle last November with those goofy helmets.

I warned Bubba about one group of overly-caffeinated Carolina fans I know of who have waged an on-going cuss-fight for twenty years over the correct PMS shade for “Carolina Blue”.

I will find something positive about these all-black unis. Maybe “well, at least they aren’t all Wolfpack-red.”

Go Heels!

More BobLee at BobLeeSays.com