Penn State Football: Power Ranking the Uniforms of Nittany Lions' 2013 Opponents

Kevin McGuireAnalyst IIApril 26, 2013

Penn State Football: Power Ranking the Uniforms of Nittany Lions' 2013 Opponents

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    Penn State fans love the look of their beloved Nittany Lions. Last season Penn State did something nobody ever expected to see by adding names of the players on the back of the jerseys. With or without the names, Penn State's uniform remains one of the most revered and iconic in college football.

    Still a target for uniform criticism by some, the long-standing tradition of plain white helmets, blue jerseys, white pants and black sneakers continues to be one of the more respected uniforms in the sport.

    But Penn State is not the only program in the Big Ten with an iconic look. Michigan has the winged helmets. Ohio State has the silver helmets covered in Buckeye stickers. Nebraska has that plain "N" on the side and Wisconsin has the arched "W."

    Playing in the Big Ten gives Penn State fans a chance to see some of college football's best uniforms on an annual basis, and today we rank the 2013 uniforms of Penn State's opponents from worst to best.

    Feel free to leave your opinions in the comment section below at any point. Do you agree or disagree with any of these choices?

12. Kent State

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    We can only assume that Kent State will stick to their typical look when they visit Beaver Stadium in September. If that is the case, the Golden Flashes will have a look somewhat reminiscent of West Virginia's older, pre-Big 12 look.

    The basic difference, of course, will come at the helmet, with the Kent State logo featuring a blue "K" being protected by a combination of a lightning bolt and a fierce-looking bird. Compared to the rest of the logos Penn State has on the schedule, Kent State's is one of the more original, if not awkward.

    Kent State is not a team Penn State will be able to afford to look past, but you may be forgiven for wanting to stop looking at these uniforms.

11. Central Florida

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    Central Florida is showing off an updated look this season with a little help from Nike. The Golden Knights actually have one of the nicer underrated helmets in the country with a white helmet featuring a triple stripe down the middle and a "UCF" logo slapped on the sides.

    Personally, it would be cool if Central Florida had a reflective chrome gold helmet, but this design works well enough.

    Central Florida will likely be wearing a white uniform when they visit Beaver Stadium in September. Overall, Central Florida actually does not have a bad look, but compared to some others Penn State will line up against in 2013, they may be some of the least intimidating,

10. Eastern Michigan

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    Eastern Michigan showed off a variety of new uniform possibilities last season with a little help from Adidas.

    Taking a cue from the Oregon Ducks, Eastern Michigan added wings to their shoulders and put together enough uniform and helmet combinations to not have to wear a uniform combo more than once. That should once again be the case in 2013, when the Eagles fly to State College in early September.

    Eastern Michigan's look is actually pretty simple. Though the color schemes are abundant, the basic premise of the uniform is rather consistent. Wings on the shoulders, basic block numbering and the word "Eagles" across the front in a plain block text.

    The complete look just works regardless of the helmet color used. Each helmet has the same design, featuring a block "E" on the sides, with a color palette switch.

    But the only way for people to really buy into the new look is winning on the field.

9. Indiana

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    Indiana is not known for their football program of course, but there is something to be said about their football uniforms. To the common eye, Indiana actually looks a little bit like Oklahoma. Fortunately, the Hoosiers place their nickname across the front so we can tell the difference between the two programs.

    Off course, with a former Oklahoma assistant now in charge of the program, we should expect some similarities from time to time. One thing Indiana did last season was break out a white helmet for some games. It's not bad, but the standard helmet design is just fine.

    With the familiar "IU" logo on the sides, Indiana has one of the more underrated looks in the Big Ten. If the program could ever find a level of continued success, perhaps they would be more recognized for it.

8. Illinois

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    The Illini showed off a new helmet for some games last season, including a home game against Penn State. The matte-blue helmet branded with an orange Illini "I" outlined in white trim on the sides actually did look really good, and it works with home and road uniforms.

    Whether they wear them on the road at Beaver Stadium or stick with their more familiar orange helmets with the word "Illinois" on the side remains to be seen.

    If Illinois is on the road, the orange helmets may actually look better than the matte-blue finish, so hopefully the Illini stick with that for their road trip to Penn State.

    There is not too much to say about the road uniforms for Illinois. They feature a pretty standard number design shaded in blue and outlined in orange. Put it all together and you have a middle-of-the-pack uniform set compared to the rest of Penn State's opponents in 2013.

7. Purdue

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    Purdue, to their credit, has a pretty solid appearance. A while back, the Boilermakers experimented with their visual identity a little, but thankfully they have come to their senses. Fortunately, there is not too much they can do with their road look, which they will wear when they visit State College this fall.

    Purdue's white road jerseys feature a numbering style slightly more modern compared to others in the Big Ten, but it's far from being too excessive. The gold Purdue helmet is branded with a black Purdue "P"on the sides, and nothing about the uniform strays along the borders of ridiculousness in uniform design.

6. Minnesota

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    Minnesota's look may be somewhat bland with the color scheme the Gophers have adopted, but their helmets may be among the best in the Big Ten. The matte finish on Minnesota's maroon helmet looks sharp and was debuted last season with a complete overhaul of the uniform design.

    Minnesota has altered some of the technical aspects of the uniforms with the help of Nike, but the basic home look is fairly simple. Maroon jerseys with golden yellow block numbering, with the patented Nike wire neckline.

    As long as Minnesota sticks to the maroon uniform set when Penn State visits the Gophers, all will look fine. But if the Gophers trot out their yellow alternate uniforms, then Minnesota will deserve to be knocked down a few pegs in this ranking.

5. Wisconsin

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    Wisconsin's look has not changed much at all in a very long time. The Badgers have taken the field with a similar look to Nebraska for as long as most fans can probably remember at this point, and the "W" logo may be one of the best letter-helmet logos in the country.

    As long as the Badgers don't break out the Scrabble uniforms, Wisconsin's red jerseys with simple block numbering and some white trim will look familiar to any fan tuning in for the final game of the regular season.

4. Syracuse

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    Syracuse's look is probably an underrated one, but it has been a pretty consistent one for a long time now. When Syracuse opens the season in MetLife Stadium against Penn State, the Orange will be the designated home team.

    As the home team, Syracuse will get to wear their home uniforms, with orange pants, blue jerseys and an orange helmet.

    Syracuse recently added a blue "S" on the sides of the helmets after years with just a plain orange helmet. What remains to be seen is whether the Orange break out a reflective chrome orange helmet for the big 2013 debut as a new member of the ACC on the big NFL stage.

3. Michigan

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    Michigan still brings a classic look to the field, although they have tweaked it a few times in recent years to make it a little bit more modern. The premise still remains pretty straightforward though, with white away jerseys and blue numbers.

    But these days, Michigan outlines those numbers in yellow, and there is always a chance they break out oddly colored shoulders as well.

    Michigan still gets credit for owning one of the best helmets in the game, with or without the uniform numbers on the sides. The winged helmet design remains one of the best in the sport, making the Wolverines instantly identifiable as soon as someone lays their eyes on them.

2. Nebraska

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    Nebraska has one of the most classic looks in all of college football, when they keep the Scrabble uniforms in the closet that is.

    When the Huskers return to Beaver Stadium in November, they will be wearing that familiar white road jersey with simple red block numbering and those patented shoulder stripes. The red pants will have that lone white stripe down the side and the white helmet will have that simple red "N" on both sides.

    Nebraska has not changed their look much over time, and anyone who was watching college football in the 1970s would be able to quickly identify who Nebraska is if they turned on a television today.

    There is something to be said for that tradition, and most Penn State fans would probably agree about that in the blink of an eye.

1. Ohio State

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    Ohio State will be Penn State's toughest opponent on the 2013 schedule. There is little dispute to that. They will also be sporting the best look by any of Penn State's opponents.

    Ohio State is known to wear a specially designed uniform every now and then, but they have yet to unveil any alternate look in a game against the Nittany Lions. The scarlet and gray uniforms are one of the best in the sport.

    The silver gray helmets lack any design other than a stripe down the middle and the scarlet home jerseys feature a basic block numbering with appropriate shoulder stripes.

    This is why any time Penn State and Ohio State get together, it makes for some great photography featuring two of college football's classic looks going head-to-head.


    Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast and an analyst for Bleacher Report. Follow Kevin on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook.