So I made notes toward this post during the bowl game. Then I went out and drank about six Vandy Lifestyles (that's two parts Makers Mark and one part St George Spirits absinthe, shaken and served with one big rock) on New Years Eve and then somebody at work realized HIPAA liability runs into the tens of millions of dollars and then basketball depressed me and long story short, here we are. Therefore:
"You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy."
-Crash Davis, Bull Durham (who is my spirit animal as I turn 41)
"It's better to look good than to feel good."
-Fernando (aka Billy Crystal), title track, You Look Mahvelous, 1985
"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
-a student government campaign poster at my high school, 1987
Our football team got nice new Nike uniforms last year, and we dodged a bullet. Instead of the Techno Chicken Oregon look or the I Think Kevin Plank Threw Up On This Jersey Maryland approach, we got clean and simple - solid black, solid white, and gold with black shoulders, and solid pants and helmets, mix and match. 27 different combinations, so we could go two years without repeating. Obviously we didn't, and for good reason - some combinations looks like canned ass, and some are just Not Right. So...how can we narrow it down? Why not with sheer superstition based on performance on the field? SOUNDS LEGIT.
Without further ado, the 2012 schedule and uniforms, helmet/jersey/pants and result:
SOUTH CAROLINA: ALL BLACK ERRTHANG (L AND WHERE'S THE !-ING FLAG FOR PASS INTERFERENCE)
NORTHWESTERN: ALL WHITE ERRTHANG (L)
PRESBYTERIAN: Gold/Black/Gold (W)
GEORGIA: Gold-White-Gold (L, and worst L of the year)
MISSOURI: ALL WHITE ERRTHANG (W)
FLORIDA: Black-Gold-Black (L)
AUBURN: Gold-Black-Black (W)
UMASS: White-Black-White (W)
KENTUCKY: White-White-Black (W)
OLE MISS: ALL WHITE ERRTHANG (W)
TENNESSEE: Black-Gold-Black (STILL A W 41-18 SORRY BOUT IT)
WAKE FOREST: White-White-Black (W)
NC STATE (MUSIC CITY BOWL): Black-Gold-Black (W)
Total: 9-4 for the first time since the Kaiser got his. Well done young men.
Next, the breakdown by component. The win-loss records of the helmets:
BLACK HELMET: 2-2
WHITE HELMET: 5-1
GOLD HELMET: 2-1
Pretty clearly the white helmet is the winner here. Mea culpa; based on Cal's results with the stormtrooper look, I was loudly predisposed to think white helmets were a jinx, and after the Northwestern incident, I was proved wrong in every subsequent outing. LUV U WHITE HELMET.
Now the jerseys:
BLACK JERSEY: 3-1
WHITE JERSEY: 4-2
GOLD JERSEY: 2-1
Not to take anything away from the Gold for being present at the Tennessee victory or the bowl win, but it remains my least favorite jersey. I like black, what can I say. But all the shirts performed admirably, .667 or better. Thanks jerseys!
BLACK PANTS: 5-2
WHITE PANTS: 3-1
GOLD PANTS: 1-1
Clearly the gold pants are helpless against anything tougher than Presbyterian (there's a hell of a delta between Presby and Georgia though), and the black pants racked the most wins (but the white pants have a superior winning percentage).
So in theory, the most successful composite Vanderbilt football uniform by total wins should be white helmet, white jersey and black pants. Which was actually worn to great success twice, at Lexington and Winston-Salem, and is the only undefeated combination. Of the uniform combinations worn more than once, B/G/B went 2-1 including arguably the two biggest wins of the year, while the P Diddy White Party In The Hamptons look was also 2-1 (and might have gone 3-0 with a little less Chicago rain and a little less erratic Chicago officiating). Gold helmet and black jerseys went 2-0, once with gold pants vs Presby in one classic Vandy look of my era and once with black pants against Auburn in the other classic Vandy look of my era. But those were the closest things this school will ever have to automatic wins, so tough to draw conclusions. My personal favorite look, the vaguely-futuristic white-on-black-on-white, did beat UMass in its only outing.
No uniform combination lost more than once. But the Johnny Cash all-black and the gold-white-gold against Georgia both lost in their only outings. The worst combination for looks and wins, and I think everybody from Carson Kressley to Trinny and Susannah to Vandy Lance would sign off on this, would theoretically be black helmet, gold jersey, and gold pants. Maybe not as bad as ALL GOLD ERRTHING aesthetically, but looking at the stats only the jersey piece of B/G/G has an above-500 record.
Now by winning percentage, rather than raw win totals, the winning set is white helmet (.833), black jersey (.750) and white pants (.750 by a hair over the .714 of black). Which was the winning uniform over UMass. In theory, therefore, and in what I can only assume will be a HIGHLY controversial conclusion (COME ON PAGEVIEWS) we should arguably wear ONLY the white helmet in 2013, and wear black jersey and white pants at home and the reverse white jersey and black pants on the road - and eschew the gold components altogether.
In a world of IT'S GOOD TO BE GOLD and SHOW YOUR GOLD and Trinidad James (what, did nobody think they could get him for Rites?) and - gulp - Anchor of Gold, it would take a serious belief in the power of sartorial superstition to forego our defining metallic shade for a purely monochromatic look. But hey, if it's good enough for the most powerful man in the world and his favorite team - yes, I mean Jay-Z, ILLUMINATI SON WHAT - why not give it a ride and see what develops?
Or, you know, we could just count on outstanding talent and superior work ethic coupled with superlative coaching. I suppose that's fine too, if you believe in that sort of thing. I still think leaving Tony Kemp off the return team is a mistake.