Tennessee football uniform combo for Vanderbilt another first in 35-plus years

Wearing all orange isn’t new to Tennessee football. After all, that used to be what the Vols’ regular uniform combination was. Also, since the early 2010s, they have snuck in a couple games with all orange uniforms a year.

Well, now they are about to do it again. Rocky Top will wear orange jerseys with orange pants when the Vanderbilt Commodores come to town Saturday. This marks the third time this season they have worn all orange.

The first time was when UT hosted the Pittsburgh Panthers. They did it again against the Ole Miss Rebels. Both games ended up being losses. Tennessee football’s combination was revealed Wednesday night on Twitter.

Although it’s a bad sign for UT that both games were losses, Vanderbilt is obviously a much lesser foe than Pitt or Ole Miss. Also, this breaks a long drought for the program. It’s the first time since 1986 that they have won all orange on Senior Day.

That year, the Vols played host to the Kentucky Wildcats, who they beat 28-9. That was part of a five-game winning streak to close out the season with a 7-5 record after slumping to a 2-5 start as the defending SEC Champions.

However, even when they wore all orange against Kentucky, they didn’t wear it in their final regular season game, as they played Vandy on the road to close out the regular season that year. The last time they wore all orange in their final regular season game was 1983, when they beat Vandy 34-24 en route to a 9-3 finish, their best season in 11 years at the time.

Of course, wearing all orange for what should be easy wins has a mixed history. Tennessee football wore all orange against Kentucky in 1984, its last loss in the series before the 26-game winning streak began. The Vols also barely beat the Memphis Tigers 17-16 in 1999, which was the first time in over a decade that had come out in all orange.

In their last appearance in the SEC Championship game, 2007, they lost 21-14 to the eventual national champion LSU Tigers thanks to two fourth quarter turnovers. Yes, they wore all orange in that game as well.

Still, the combination is a nice throwback to the Johnny Majors era, and Tennessee football has been honoring the late head coach a lot over the past couple years. Wearing all orange a third time this year is another way to do that.