25 Greatest Throwback College Football Jerseys of All Time

Alex CallosCorrespondent IMay 13, 2013

25 Greatest Throwback College Football Jerseys of All Time

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    Throwback uniforms might be more popular in other sports, but college football also has some excellent throwback jerseys it can brag about.

    While some are not as easy on the eyes as others, the jerseys on this list not only have historical significance, but also are not painful on the eyes to view.

    The dates of these retro uniforms goes back nearly 100 years, and there is plenty of history that goes along with each and every one.

    Here are the 25 best throwback college football jerseys of all time.

Honorable Mentions

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    Here are five jerseys that just missed out on making the list.

    Rice Owls: The old jerseys worn by Rice during the 1950s were probably the best the school has ever seen. It all started off with the stripe on the helmet.

    Nebraska Cornhuskers: When Nebraska took on Wisconsin a few years back, both teams wore throwback jerseys, and needless to say, they were both very interesting.

    Auburn Tigers: The Auburn jerseys have not varied much over the years, but the one from the 1980s, worn by the likes of Bo Jackson, was the best of the bunch.

    USC Trojans: The traditional style jersey worn by USC during the 1960s and 1970s was the perfect color combination. O.J. Simpson looked pretty good in one.

    Wisconsin Badgers: As evidenced in the picture above, the Wisconsin jerseys were very similar to those of Nebraska and almost equally as impressive.

No. 25 Alabama Crimson Tide

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    The Alabama jerseys have not changed very much over the years, similar to Penn State.

    There have been many different variations and slight changes in the uniforms, as nearly every decade there were minor changes.

    The uniforms in the picture above featured numbers that were slightly smaller on the front than most of the uniforms in the past.

    Joe Namath wore it rather nicely for the Crimson Tide.

No. 24 Michigan Wolverines

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    When Michigan and Notre Dame squared off in 2010, both teams wore throwback jerseys dating back to the early 1960s.

    It was the first night game in the "Big House" and both teams sported very interesting uniforms, but the Fighting Irish' were just slightly more impressive than Michigan's.

    The big "M" on the front clearly stood out.

    Michigan players liked them so much they kept the uniforms after the game. Maybe it had more to do with the comeback victory than the look of the uniforms.

No. 23 UCLA Bruins

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    What makes these UCLA throwback jerseys so unique is the fact that they are only light blue and white. There are no other colors involved and that gives them a very different look that stands out from a lot of other jerseys.

    These jerseys were worn in the 1960s, and the No. 16 represents that worn by former Heisman Trophy winner Gary Beban during the 1967 season.

    Even though most people couldn't tell it was a UCLA jersey, it is still one of the most trendy on the list.

No. 22 Texas Longhorns

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    Led by head coach Darrell K. Royal, the 1963 Texas Longhorns won the national championship and they did it with some very cool jerseys in the process.

    What helps to set these bad boys apart is the interesting helmet. There was a lot going on with that helmet as both the player's number and the Longhorn symbol are clearly visible. The number on the front of the jersey is also extremely large.

    The helmet here says it all.

No. 21 Syracuse Orange

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    These jerseys worn a few years ago by Syracuse are very similar to those worn by Jim Brown 50 years ago.

    While the all orange jerseys the Orange have worn in years past are some of the ugliest in all of sports, these are slightly better.

    There is a good color combination going on here and the stripe running through the middle of the helmet is a nice added bonus.

No. 20 Kansas State Wildcats

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    The Kansas State uniforms from the 1970s can be seen on the left-hand side. Former linebacker Gary Spani wore them rather nicely. The same can be said for his flowing hair.

    The all-purple and white top are a very nice touch, but what allows these throwbacks to reach the top 20 on the list is the "K-State" written across the front of the jersey near the top.

    Instead of making it a little smaller and fitting the entire name of the university, the makers of this jersey decided to shorten it up a bit.

    It certainly worked quite well.

No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers

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    The jersey worn here by Reggie White is without question the best uniform the Volunteers have ever worn.

    While they might be similar to those ugly all-orange pieces of junk that Syracuse can be seen wearing every once in a while, these are the original all-orange jerseys and that is why they are so high on the list. After all, originality does count for something.

    Even the trainer helping Reggie White off the field has all orange on.

No. 18 Kansas Jayhawks

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    In honor of the 1961 team, the Kansas Jayhawks wore throwback jerseys in 2011 and they were quite a hit with everyone. 

    Like many other jerseys of the time, the helmets are simply the number on the top with nothing else.

    There is a slight red trim outlining the numbers on the jersey and the light blue color is a little different from what Kansas fans today are used to seeing.

    Still, these are some very interesting jerseys.

No. 17 Stanford Cardinal

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    The thing about the Stanford uniforms worn during the John Elway era was the sleeves that seemed to be just a little too long.

    This helped make the shoulder pads seem much larger than they really were.

    The all-red jersey with the white numbers is an added touch and the helmet matches it perfectly with the Stanford "S" on each side.

No. 16 Penn State Nittany Lions

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    The Penn State jerseys are similar to those of Alabama. They take on more of the traditional look and have not changed too much over the years.

    One of the best squads in Penn State history was the 1982 team that won the national championship.

    They did it with excellent uniforms in the process. While there is nothing special about them, that is what makes them so unique.

    The plain helmet sets it apart even more.

No. 15 Virginia Cavaliers

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    The Virginia Cavaliers jerseys from the 1980s look very different than the ones they are wearing today. It actually almost looks like a completely different team.

    While the helmets are virtually all-white, the blue and orange stripe in the middle makes it stand out.

    There is also a multiple-colored stripe down the pants legs, which is something that few teams can stake claim to.

    No question these jerseys are top 15-worthy.

No. 14 Oregon Ducks

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    Oregon has worn some very interesting uniforms over the years, particularly in recent seasons, but from 1996-1998, the Ducks wore what might have been the best jerseys in the history of the program.

    These past few seasons, there has just been to much going on with the Ducks uniforms, but during the 1996 season, they came out with these gems.

    With yellow pants and green jerseys, what more could somebody ask for?

    The finishing touch has to be the helmets with the U and O overlapping.

No. 13 BYU Cougars

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    The BYU Cougars won the 1984 national championship and they did it in style with the sickest jerseys around. 

    While there are dual stripes down the side of the pants legs, the BYU at the top is very unique. The uniform is a dark blue and there is also a lot going on with the sleeves.

    Check out the helmets as well. There is a lot happening up there also.

No. 12 Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Not many people can sport the Texas Tech Red Raiders jersey like former linebacker Zach Thomas did a in the 1990s.

    The number on the front of the jersey took up a very large portion of it and both shoulder pads featured a white patch as did the bottom left of the jersey under the numbers.

    Another cool feature is the outlining of the white name and number in red.

No. 11 Florida Gators

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    Some people might not like the Florida uniforms of the 1970s, but I for one am a big fan.

    It all starts up top with the helmets. The U and F run through one another and are very different from what Florida fans are used to right now.

    The jerseys are all blue with the numbers in white.

    While some may not be big fans, wide receiver Cris Collinsworth seemed to think favorably of them.

No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Like Tennessee, Oklahoma State had its own version of an all-orange jersey and Barry Sanders donned it perfectly during 1980s.

    The all-orange jersey with the white helmet was the perfect combination, and the OSU in orange across the top of the helmet capped everything off.

    Even when they wore the white tops with the white stripe in the orange pants, it was another excellent combination.

No. 9 Southern Miss Golden Eagles

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    This is when the jerseys really start looking good. The Southern Miss football team did a throwback recently and they looked better than they did back in 1970.

    The helmet is where the fun all begins. I love how the "S" is bigger than the other two letters on the helmet.

    The yellow and black stripes on the shoulder pad are a nice touch, and nothing is better than yellow pants to cap off the outfit.

No. 8 Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Former linebacker Dick Butkus did an excellent job of displaying the Illinois jerseys from the 1960s.

    Like many other uniforms on the list, it all begins with the helmet. The stars above the number were something very unique for the time, and the three different colors on the helmet are also something not seen very often. 

    The white and black jerseys might not necessarily be the colors the Illinois faithful are used to, but they look great.

No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes

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    The Iowa jerseys date all the way back to 1921, making them the oldest jerseys on the list.

    They were brought back recently and displayed quite nicely by the Hawkeyes. 

    The age of the jerseys is very easy to tell because of the plain numbers displayed on the helmets. They almost look like something the Pittsburgh Steelers wore back in the day.

    Plain and simple, but also very historic.

No. 6 Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    All-white is a color rarely seen on a football field and the Mississippi State Bulldogs have been known to bust these out every once in a while to commemorate the 2000 Independence Bowl known as the "Snow Bowl."

    Even though they are not the typical throwbacks, they made the list because of the game they commemorate.

    There is something about these jerseys that just stands out. It could be the fact that they are all white. That is something that is very rarely seen on a football field.

    While they definitely get dirty very quickly, there is no question that these jerseys one of the more interesting on the list.

No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners

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    Similar to those of the Iowa Hawkeyes, the throwbacks of the Oklahoma Sooners date all the way back to 1929.

    While it is nearly impossible to find a picture of the jerseys, it can be found in the picture above directly to the left of the "O" in Oklahoma.

    These jerseys were around before the helmets of today were used, and they look like something tribal as opposed to a football uniform.

    No doubt that these jerseys are something that will never be seen again.

No. 4 Colorado Buffaloes

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    This is another old jersey that dates back to 1937. They were brought back to life in 2009, and while they might not be the prettiest, they are as unique as jerseys come.

    It is very difficult to describe exactly what type of color it is, but it looks to be something between a yellow, gray and light green.

    The helmet is also something to take note of as the design is very weird to say the least.

No. 3 Miami Hurricanes

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    The old Miami uniforms of the 1980s are very truly a sight to behold.

    No player wore it as well as former quarterback and Heisman trophy winner Vinny Testaverde.

    While there was nothing odd or very eccentric about the jerseys, there were some subtleties that helped it to stand out. Among those was the green trim around the white numbers and the multi-colored "U" on the helmet.

    The orange jersey and the stripes on both the arms and the helmet capped off the outfits.

No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes

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    When Ohio State busted out the 1954 throwbacks in a game against Michigan three years ago, they looked very good.

    These uniforms do not particularly look like anything the Buckeyes would typically wear, and fans turning on the game might not even recognize the jerseys, but they were spectacular to say the least.

    The "O" on the top of the left pants leg is a nice touch.

    The numbers on the helmet is a great way to kick off any jersey, and while there have been other uniforms Ohio State has busted out, including one honoring the 1942 team, this is at the top of the list.

No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Topping the list are the throwback jerseys worn by Notre Dame against Michigan during the first-ever night game in the Big House.

    While Michigan's uniforms were excellent, it is Notre Dame's that take the cake.

    Just look at the helmets. They have the gold and green with the clover to top it off. The white jerseys and the gold pants are an excellent touch. The green mixed in throughout is excellent as well.