Bulldogs 'blackout' could aid game

University of Georgia football coach Mark Richt says he wants to fire up the crowd -- and the team -- for Saturday's game against Auburn. But will a "blackout" in Sanford Stadium help them win?


Experts say it might.

"Just the fact that the crowd is going to wear black is a great demonstration of solidarity," said Ralph Gillies, a clinical psychologist at the Medical College of Georgia. "It may just push the win over."

From a perception standpoint, he said Wednesday, the color black is both fashionable and menacing.

"It's associated with mystery: darkness and night, showing that things are not always as they appear," Dr. Gillies said.

Hollywood has long appreciated the use of black.

"The evil character had the black hat or black clothes, so we've learned that association there," he said. "Black also has a message of power, although in Eastern culture it might mean something entirely different."

Mr. Richt announced Tuesday that the team's seniors requested fans wear black; the coach has denied that the team will join in with special-edition black jerseys.

Georgia is not the first to call for black in football or other sports. The tactic was the subject of a scientific inquiry at Cornell University almost two decades ago, Dr. Gillies said.

"It was a study about the use of black-uniformed players in sports, and Cornell had college students rate uniforms of different colors," he said. "Students found black to be more malevolent -- meaning they raised bad, mean, aggressive impressions."

Such emanations, Dr. Gillies said, likely helped the sporting cause. But they also had a downside.

"The flip side they found, in that same study, was that ... referees tended to penalize teams that wore black uniforms more often," he said. "If Coach Richt is using uniforms to intimidate, and he can keep them from being penalized too much, I think it's a great strategy."


WHO:No. 18 Auburn (7-3, 4-2) at No. 10 Georgia (7-2, 4-2)

TIME/TV:3:30 p.m./CBS (Channel 12)


Tommy Lee Jones/ Will Smith: The agents from the Men In Black movie defeated aliens and saved the universe (twice.)

Johnny Cash: Music's "Man in Black" walked the line and fell into a burning ring of fire. Survived to win Grammys.

Oakland Raiders: Known for tough image, funny coach John Madden and eccentric owner Al Davis. Currently 2-6 and last place in AFC West.

Nasghul: Shrouded spooks from Lord of the Rings. Dark, menacing. Can't swim.

South Carolina Gamecocks: Wore all-black uniforms in game with arch-rival Clemson in 1983. Lost 22-13, in Columbia.