One of the most overlooked elements of a college football program is the team uniform.
Take the Michigan Wolverines, for example. Their maize and blue color scheme is one of the most recognizable in all of sports. If you're a casual college football fan and happen to find the Wolverines on television, you don't have to look at the scoreboard graphic to know it's Michigan. In other words, the uniform is as important to the Wolverines program as Charles Woodson, Bo Schembechler and other Michigan greats.
Some uniforms are simple, yet effective. Alabama's crimson jerseys are not flashy with cool designs. Still, the Tide has one of the most imposing presences in all of college football.
Others are interesting to say the least. The Maryland Terrapins are one bunch that comes to mind. Their patterned shoulder pads have drawn a fair share of attention from fans.
This year, football fans have been introduced to some uniforms that have taken football fashion to an entirely new level. Others, however, prefer attire that maintains a sense of classic tradition. Either way, college football programs have given us some of the coolest uniforms in the world of sports.
Here are the 11 that stand above the rest.
The Gators have become synonymous with their blue home jerseys. That's why it is always interesting when they decide to switch it up and wear these cool orange ones.
I can see why they don't wear them too often. Orange is rival Tennessee's color after all, and they wouldn't want to be seen as copycats. However, these duds seem to shine just a little bit brighter beneath the Florida sun. Furthermore, they match the interior of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The Gators bring these out only once a year usually, but I would like to see them do it more often. They are a cool deviation from the school's regular home attire.
What can I say... I like orange. This is why Clemson's orange duds are among my favorites.
Clemson has one of the best helmet logos in the tiger paw that adorns each side. It's a simple design, but it's also one of the most unique graphics in the country.
The Tigers' orange and purple colors are also one of the most unique pairings in the country. Because the pairing is so different, it has given Clemson an identity all its own.
One of the best sights in college football is seeing Clemson players touch Howard's Rock as they run onto Frank Howard Field. With these uniforms, they look quite good while doing so.
Because they are a member of the WAC, the Spartans don't get a lot of attention. However, San Jose State was a Top 25 team this past season. Furthermore, it sports a pretty cool home uniform.
The blue and gold on San Jose State's home attire seems to "pop" a little more than that of UCLA. The Spartan helmet logo is also a bit more creative than Michigan State's in my opinion. If you use some sort of transitive property, therefore, it is fitting that San Jose's home dress code makes this list.
The Spartans just won their first bowl game in six years. The program is on the rise, which means the team and its home uniform should get more attention in the future.
Florida State put together its best season of the new millennium with a 12-2 record in 2012. For a team that's progressing into the future, however, the Seminoles have retained one of the best uniforms in college football.
The centerpiece is the home garnet jersey and gold helmet. On the side of the helmets lie huge spears like the one thrown by Chief Osceola to begin all home games. More accomplished players also get to accessorize their helmets with tomahawk decals, which are a nice touch. The jerseys only contain neck and cuff patterns that are barely visible in game action. However, the garnet color makes them intimidating enough.
Florida State's uniforms are a great example of those that rely on both school traditions and modern designs to make a cool piece. They add a cool dimension to the overall experience of seeing a game at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Notre Dame's home uniform is not very creative. Gold pants and a gold helmet complement a solid navy blue jersey. Really, there's nothing exotic or eye-catching about it.
The history and tradition of Notre Dame's football program, however, give the uniform a certain mystique that still makes it one of the coolest in football.
Think of all the terrific players hat have worn this uniform. Tim Brown, Joe Theismann and so many others have donned it and played to Notre Dame's standard of excellence.
Now that the Fighting Irish are playing for a championship, you can expect to see a lot of navy blue jerseys throughout the country. Its effectiveness lies in its simplicity. Perhaps another title will make this staple of college football even more special.
Northwestern just won its first bowl game in decades a few days ago. The Wildcats did so in their home purple uniform, which is the best of the school's new trio.
Purple and black may not seem like the best choice for a color combination, but the Wildcats pull it off nicely. I saw the road white uniform in person at the Carrier Dome, and it isn't quite as attention-grabbing as the purple.
The stripe across the front of the chest area is a cool touch as well. You would be hard-pressed to find a similar design on another team's jerseys.
The new black helmets they wore against the Cornhuskers earlier this season were also pretty awesome. They featured a metallic wildcat with a lightning bolt design underneath. Of course, the traditional purple ones with the Northwestern "N" on the sides are also cool in their own right.
It was only appropriate that the Wildcats ended their best season in recent memory with a Gator Bowl victory in this awesome uniform.
Army rolled out these black and gold masterpieces for its annual clash with Navy. As far as the service academies go, I think this is the best uniform I've seen this season.
One could make the argument that camouflage uniforms are cooler. However, teams use them so often that they have lost their originality.
This black and gold scheme, on the other hand, is effective. It exudes strength and toughness. The shine on the helmets is pretty cool as well.
Army's football program might not be one the elite. However, this uniform ranks among the best.
Before this season, Rutgers unveiled its own series of new duds that have become more than noticeable on the field.
The series consists of matching pants and jerseys in three different colors: red, black and white. The highlight, however, is the metallic silver helmet worn with these different combinations. The futuristic helmet looks like something one of the robots from the Terminator movie series would wear. It adds a certain luster to a uniform that otherwise is void of weird patterns or graphics.
These uniforms are definitely the flashiest of the Big East. They also happen to be some of the coolest in college football.
Nike also created new attire for the Horned Frogs of TCU that debuted this season. The new duds combine both old and new elements to make one of the coolest series of uniforms in all of college football.
TCU's color scheme of purple and black remains one of the sport's most unique pairings. Much like Rutgers, the team's helmets are what complete the overall package. They feature a scale pattern in both silver and purple that looks really cool when seen up close.
Even the team's gray-colored alternate manages to look good on the field. Whatever primary color the Frogs are wearing, however, is also complemented by one of the more unique number designs. Toss in the somewhat traditional shoulder-pad design, and you have a terrific uniform.
I look forward to seeing these uniforms next season. Much like the school itself, they are some of the most underrated in the sport.
Arizona State's combination of black jerseys with black helmets serves as one of the most intimidating uniforms in all of college football.
This video provides a good look at the revamp of the uniforms of the school's various athletic teams. The black football jerseys are highlighted, just as they should be. Also highlighted is the team's updated pitchfork design on its helmets. These two pieces are the perfect look for a program that's trying to build a solid reputation within the tough Pac-12 Conference.
I hope the Sun Devils use these more in the future. This combo certainly stands out as one of the better college uniforms.
It should come as no surprise that Oregon's array of extravagant uniforms is at the top of this list.
With jerseys, pants and helmets of many different colors, the Ducks are a fashion lover's dream. One week they are wearing green jerseys with gray pants. A week later, it might be black jerseys with bright yellow helmets. Simply put, you never know what they'll be wearing on game day.
Yes, I admit the metallic wings on the helmets and wing patterns on the jerseys are not exactly traditional in appearance. However, their uniqueness has allowed Oregon to stand out and brand itself. Even if it is about the uniforms, the school has become one of the best at generating conversation in the college football world.
The Ducks may run a creative offense, but it's still not as creative as their attire.