Extreme Makeover: College Football Uniform Edition


Nov. 10, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Teondray Caldwell (34) breaks the tackle of UCLA Bruins cornerback Sheldon Price (22) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that Nike executive  Tinker Hatfield, and his alma matter, The University of Oregon, forever changed college football’s look.

Oregon first introduced the idea that a team could wear multiple combinations of jerseys and helmets in the 2005 season, when they sported nine different combinations and took it a step further in 2006 when they introduced even more combinations.

Since then Oregon has worn hundreds of different uniform combinations, each year with a little more flash and a little more pizzaz.

The advantage to this was (#1) it caught everyone’s attention and “what’s Oregon wearing this week” began to be a common question among college football fans, but more importantly (#2) recruits.  Even though the alumni of Oregon seemed to have strong feelings against the non traditional uniforms there was one thing everyone could agree on, kids love to look cool and some of the top recruits knew they could do just that at the University of Oregon.

Well recently other schools have been catching on to this and we have seen the look of college football change completely.  Multiple uniforms have been introduced at many schools and it’s often times for the better.  Among the ingenious designs presenting an updated look but respecting the tradition of the programs also have come massive failures causing a major identity crisis.

From Oregon State’s “failure to re-launch” to the terribly, regretful candy striped helmet at Indiana, the new look that some teams are coming up with not only disappoints, but successfully makes these teams look silly.

The #1 problem I have however, are not teams embarrassing themselves with ridiculous schemes and oddly placed stripes. No, my #1 complaint is now teams are wearing colors that are not in the school’s color scheme. The exception and the ONLY exception to this rule is either Black or white because they are neutral colors, but more and more teams are releasing gray jerseys and pants which have absolutely nothing to do with those schools.

For instance lets look at Cal’s new look.  Although I love the updated look for the bears and think it was much needed as last year they were sporting a series of stripes that made no sense to anyone, I do not see the need for gray uniforms here.  They are not blue and gray, same with west virginia.

If you ask me I think Washington State’s uniforms are the most true to the university they represent, at least in this conference.  There are many different combos the Cougs can wear and they are simple but very sharp and very exciting at the same time.  They stay within the Cougs’ color scheme and even when they wear different combinations, one solid identity is maintained. This has helped the Cougs be rated in the top 10 best looking teams in college football back to back years.

Not everyone can be Oregon, I think it would do some schools good to remember that.  In any case I am excited to see how this updated Pac-12 conference looks like when the real season starts and as always GO COUGS!