Nothing pumped up the crowd like Mr. Two Bits or unifies the faithful fan base inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium every Saturday like UF’s “We are the Boys” chant. Don’t even get me started on the latest and greatest Tom Petty tribute that rocked “The Swamp.”
Florida’s most recognizable tradition isn’t a chant or a cheer, though. It’s the historic combination of orange and blue you’ll find on the jerseys of the football team, in the sea of T-shirts at each basketball game, and everywhere you walk on that beautiful, brick-laden Gainesville campus.
The orange and blue is embedded in UF’s DNA.
“The Orange and Blue” is the name of the school’s fight song. In the UF’s alma mater, the colors are mentioned in a line: “‘Neath the Orange and Blue victorious.” During home games in one chant, the east side of the stadium yells “ORANGE!” while the west side responds “BLUE!”
But why did the University of Florida settle on orange and blue as its official colors? The answer lies in a story that dates back more than 100 years go.
The Florida Gators Colors
Let’s get one thing straight here: Florida’s orange and blue is NOT the same as other orange and blue combinations you’ll find in the NCAA.
UF’s specific orange (you can find the exact CMYK, RGB and hex color codes here) is much easier on the eyes than that of Clemson or Tennessee. The Volunteers have one of the ugliest oranges in all of the land, no offense UT fans. For fans of Pantone colors, the Gators’ orange is listed as PMS 172, while their blue is PMS 287.
Florida’s blue is also darker and more defined than the blue you’ll find with at the University of Kentucky, which might as well change its nickname from Big Blue Nation to Big ‘Ew’ Nation.
Florida isn’t the only school to boast these two hues. Auburn’s blend is the ugly cousin to Florida’s, and Boise State or Virginia just doesn’t quite stack up.
The Gators are also the best dressed team in the state, with far more pleasing uniforms than their in-state rivals, the Florida State Seminoles.
UF’s orange and blue is as classic as Alabama’s crimson and white, Notre Dame’s blue and gold, Ohio State’s scarlet and gray and the Michigan Wolverines’ navy and yellow. Other state colors like Florida State’s garnet and gold and Miami’s orange and green don’t compare.
If you ask me, it’s possibly the best in college football.
Why Are UF’s Colors Orange and Blue?
Common thought might lead you to believe Florida chose orange and blue because the Sunshine State produces more oranges than any other state and is surrounded by blue oceans.
That would be incorrect.
UF’s origins trace back to 1853, but it wasn’t until 1905 that the Buckman Act consolidated multiple schools and led to the creation of the University of the State of Florida, which was shortened to the University of Florida in 1909.
In 1910, Florida adopted its team colors from two of the schools that united to form the new university. The University of Florida at Lake City’s school colors were blue and white and East Florida Seminary in Gainesville featured orange and black. UF took the two prominent colors, orange and blue, and Voila! A legendary color combination was born.
It was around this time that the Florida Gators logo of an alligator was born, and the university’s athletics officially adopted the “Gators” nickname in 1911.
SEC Team Colors
Alabama Crimson Tide: Crimson and White
Auburn Tigers: Burnt Orange and Navy Blue
LSU Tigers: Purple and Gold
Texas A&M Aggies: Maroon and White
Mississippi State Bulldogs: Maroon and White
Ole Miss Rebels: Red and Navy Blue
Arkansas Razorbacks: Cardinal Red and White
Florida Gators: Orange and Blue
Georgia Bulldogs: Red and Black
Tennessee Volunteers: Orange and White
South Carolina Gamecocks: Garnet and Black
Kentucky Wildcats: Blue and White
Vanderbilt Commodores: Black and Gold
Missouri Tigers: Black and Gold
This post was originally published on March 26, 2020.