For Buffs fans, powder blue is the color of defeat.
It’s the color of losing streaks, of (arguably) poor coaching, of lackluster fans.
It’s the color that the University of Colorado Buffaloes football team wore from 1981 to 1984, when they won a total of 10 games out of 44.
Ten games in four years.
On Saturday, when the Buffs face Texas A&M at Folsom Field, CU senior Taylor Rhode wants to bring back that blue as a symbol of fans’ frustrations.
The 22-year-old accounting major started a Facebook group called “Wear POWDER BLUE to the CU game!!!” that encourages fans to don the color to “show our university officials where we think our current regime stands. With the worst of the worst.”
“This is nothing negative toward the players,” said Rhode, a season-ticketholder and third-generation Buffs fan from Denver. “They’re all here, they’re all students just like us and they’re working hard to do what they can on the field.
“It’s not their fault that the coaching staff hasn’t helped out.”
The team has lost six of the eight games it’s played this season, a trend Rhode blames on the coaches and higher-ups. But even though fans might feel disappointed, Rhode said the worst thing for them to do would be to not show up on game day.
“CU fans will always be CU fans and it’s our responsibility to support that team,” he said. “This is kind of showing we’re still coming to the games and supporting the team, but the team isn’t what we think it should be.“
Rhode’s Facebook page has generated some heated discussion about whether a silent protest is the way to go — or whether donning powder blue is a sign of disrespect.
CU senior Adrienne Scheffey agrees with Rhode.
“If the students are going to make a statement, as far as this is concerned, it’s relatively mild,” said Scheffey, a 21-year-old political science major who said she goes to every home game. “I’m wearing blue because I feel like there needs to be a change somewhere.
What: CU vs. Texas A&M
When: 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Folsom Field, CU campus, Boulder
“I don’t think change is necessarily disrespect.”
Stephen Buechner thinks differently. The 22-year-old senior said he won’t wear blue to Saturday’s game because he doesn’t want to take the chance that it could offend the players.
“I wouldn’t want to be out there playing and working hard and (have) people who go to school with me not support the fact that I’m trying to represent them,” said Buechner, a civil engineering major and die-hard Buffs fan.
Junior Alex Howard is on the fence. The 20-year-old chemical and biological engineering student said he’s seriously considering joining the powder-blue crowd.
“For me, personally, it’s sort of saying I don’t want my time at CU to be remembered as a dark time, like when we wore the blue in the ’80s,” said Howard, who also holds season tickets. “That’s what my message would be.”
The color was technically “sky blue,” and it was supposed to represent “Colorado’s sky at 9,000 feet,” according to a history of football uniforms compiled by the CU Athletic Department. The change from black to blue was proposed by then-Regent Jack Anderson and approved by the Board of Regents in May 1981.
Fans hated it. They complained that they couldn’t identify the players from the stands and that the uniforms looked washed-out in black-and-white photos. By 1985, the Buffs’ black jerseys were back for good.
The students who plan to wear blue on Saturday said they won’t completely abandon CU’s black-and-gold color scheme.
Rhode plans to wear a powder-blue T-shirt over a black CU shirt. If Howard joins in, he said he’ll wear a blue shirt along with his CU baseball hat and black-and-gold shorts.
Scheffey, whose Facebook profile photo shows her and several friends in short yellow dresses made out of CU T-shirts, said she’ll likely wear a long-sleeved blue shirt under a black CU shirt.
“I’m going to go cheer and sing the fight song and have fun,” she said.
But Scheffey said she’ll also be making a statement she hopes the coaches hear loud and clear: “I think it’s a way to say, ‘You’re affecting your fans.’ And fans are one of the most important parts of team.”