Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking the Best Uniforms in the Pac-12

Michael CarrollFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2013

Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking the Best Uniforms in the Pac-12

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    When we think about the American West, the ideas of new frontiers, exploration and manifest destiny come to mind. Naturally, then, we should look to the West for the future of college football uniforms.

    One feature of the new uniforms I have noticed (and frankly dislike) is that many of these designs include colors that are not the official colors of their respective schools. Another huge influence on these uniforms is Nike. In either case, it appears the uniforms, including those in the Pac-12, are meeting the needs of the 21st century and never turning back.

    The connection between the Pac-12 and the new uniforms is perhaps more unique than any other across the country. Phil Knight, a co-founder of Nike, has helped make Oregon the poster program for new-age uniform designs. Knight attended Oregon and Stanford, both of which call the Pac-12 home. Nike, of course, is the global sportswear giant that has turned Knight into the 23rd wealthiest individual in the USA.

    It’s worth noting that No. 23 was worn by the biggest Nike endorser ever: Michael Jordan (sorry, Tiger Woods). But back to college football.

    With member institution Oregon leading the way, we cannot forget that the rest of the Pac-12 has also made design changes to its own uniforms. I have power ranked the uniform designs of the conference in this slideshow.

    Today, many programs have multiple uniform designs that they wear—not just Oregon—but I have tried to focus on the standard designs and discount the “alternates.” This ranking is purely subjective, so I wouldn’t expect the lot of you to agree with me, but at least we get to look at the updated designs of Pac-12 football uniforms that will hit the field in 2013.

    With that, let’s start the list.

12. Washington State

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    Nike

    Washington State last changed its uniforms for the 2011 season. I like the design but not the color scheme.

    The Cougars now have a gray uniform, which is one of the school’s colors, but it just plain looks bad. I don't like the gray helmet in any capacity, and using dark gray as an overly dominant color looks dreary. Additionally, I think the home uniforms would look better in all-crimson, not with the gray pants they now have.

    Washington State has not played in a bowl game since 2003, so maybe the program fittingly has dreary uniforms. With an exciting offensive mind in Mike Leach running the show now, though, a more attractive look might be in order.

11. Oregon

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    Nike

    When you saw the title of this slideshow, I’m sure many of you immediately wondered where I ranked Oregon. After all, Oregon and uniform redesign go hand-in-hand. The verdict: very low.

    First, the Ducks don’t have a standard look, so nobody knows what uniforms they will wear at any time. De’Anthony Thomas tweeted a picture of a uniform he wore for a photo shoot on June 15th, but we should take this with a grain of salt.

    Second, the Ducks' uniforms have way more colors than just the traditional green and yellow. I’m sure some of you like how Oregon has made constant innovation its tradition, but I’m not a fan of this behavior.

    Sports Illustrated has called Oregon’s uniform changing history “quacky,” and I couldn’t think of a better word myself.

10. Oregon State

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    Nike

    Oregon State completely redesigned its uniforms for 2013, which were released on March 4th.

    Randy L. Rasmussen of OregonLive.com posted the photos of the uniforms, which feature a redesigned beaver logo.

    The uniforms stick to the school’s official colors of orange, black and white but the details could use some work. For example, only the white uniform says “Oregon State,” while the black and orange uniforms do not.

    Putting a racing stripe on helmets has begun trending across college football, but the Beavers brought the stripe down through the facemask, something I'm not entirely on board with.

    I also prefer the previous Beavers logo to the new one, but I can live with the change.

9. Arizona

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    Nike

    Arizona Football’s official website announced on May 6th that the team will have a new uniform design for 2013.

    According to the site, “The updated jerseys feature ombre jersey numbers in the school’s traditional Cardinal, Navy and White. Nike has produced jerseys and pants in all three of those colors to suit various uniform combinations, complemented by Cardinal, Navy, White and Copper helmets.”

    I dislike the two-toned jersey numbers and the copper helmets, but otherwise the uniforms are fairly simple and easy on the eyes.

    Brian Peel of DailyWildcat.com believes Arizona’s new uniforms have nailed “the precarious balance of tradition and innovation,” and I agree that the uniforms are not too crazy.

8. Colorado

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    Nike

    Colorado has not changed its uniforms since 2007, which suggests there’s no need.

    The Buffaloes have black uniforms, though the school’s official colors are gold and silver. Oddly enough, silver was not used in the uniforms between 1981 and 2006.

    Because the 2007 updates were the first major uniform changes at Colorado since 1985, expect the current uniforms to stick around for a while. In my opinion, it’s okay that they do.

    The uniforms have only four colors (white, black, gold, silver), which keeps them simple enough. I let the black uniforms slide, because uniforms using gold or silver as primary colors would look bad.

    Now, the only thing needing improvement in the program is the play on the field itself, where Colorado has not been to a bowl game since 2007. But then again, the Buffaloes changed their uniforms the same season...

7. Arizona State

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    Nike

    Even though I subtracted points from Arizona State for using black uniforms, I think they are the best ones the Sun Devils offer.

    Arizona State used a new helmet design in 2011, as a pitchfork replaced the sun devil. Though I usually don’t support huge logo changes, I actually like this one.

    So, I like the updated design, but I think Arizona State should have considered a yellow uniform over a black uniform to match the school’s official colors. 

6. UCLA

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    Nike

    Even though I subtracted points from Arizona State for using black uniforms, I think they are the best ones the Sun Devils offer.

    Arizona State used a new helmet design in 2011, as a pitchfork replaced the sun devil. Though I usually don’t support huge logo changes, I actually like this one.

    So, I like the updated design, but I think Arizona State should have considered a yellow uniform over a black uniform to match the school’s official colors. 

5. Stanford

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    Nike

    I never thought Stanford should have changed its uniforms, but of course it followed the trend.

    The big change happened on September 18th, 2010, when Stanford wore all-black uniforms for the first time, according to Lizzy Collins of StanfordDaily.com.

    The Cardinal have also worn black helmets and cardinal uniforms with black numbers since then, as well as their traditional uniforms.

    Honestly, I like both looks, but I don’t think one program should have two distinct identities on the field. Stanford should stick with one, and in my opinion, it should be the traditional design.

    The picture comes from the 2013 Rose Bowl, where the Cardinal wore their traditional uniforms.

4. Utah

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    Nike

    I never thought Stanford should have changed its uniforms, but of course it followed the trend.

    The big change happened on September 18th, 2010, when Stanford wore all-black uniforms for the first time, according to Lizzy Collins of StanfordDaily.com.

    The Cardinal have also worn black helmets and cardinal uniforms with black numbers since then, as well as their traditional uniforms.

    Honestly, I like both looks, but I don’t think one program should have two distinct identities on the field. Stanford should stick with one, and in my opinion, it should be the traditional design.

    The picture comes from the 2013 Rose Bowl, where the Cardinal wore their traditional uniforms.

3. Washington

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    Supporters of Washington football would like to see the program find a happy medium between traditional looks and new combinations for the uniforms. In a poll conducted by Lear Pilot of UWDawgPound.com, 75 percent of respondents said they want to see traditional and new designs for uniforms.

    Like many college football programs, Washington has sported a few uniform designs recently. The school’s colors are purple and gold, but the Huskies also have worn all-black uniforms and white helmets. Lear Pilot dislikes the white helmet-purple jersey-white pants combination, but I actually think it’s the best design.

    Washington’s colors compliment themselves well, so many designs look good. The standard look (purple jersey, gold pants) still looks traditional, which works for me.

2. California

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    Cal changed its uniforms for the 2013 season, and along with the new uniforms, the program changed its logo.

    MercuryNews.com posted photos of the new design on April 10th.

    I love the new uniforms. They look simple, which was the goal of the Cal athletic department. There is a gray uniform, which is not a Cal color, but I have no complaints otherwise.

    Zac Ellis of SI.com lists some of the disagreements his colleagues have with the new logo, which I also dislike. Thankfully, the “Cal” script logo remains on the helmet.

    Overall, the Golden Bears’ look raised its stock in my opinion. 

1. USC

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    The best uniforms in the Pac-12, in my opinion, belong to USC.

    When I think of the Trojans, I think of the timeless scarlet and gold uniforms and the Trojan logo on the helmet. I’m glad the program has no plans to change the design anytime soon.

    Lisa Horne of B/R suggests the Trojans make a small change to their uniforms to attract recruits who like modern looks. Horne suggests USC has lost some recruits to Oregon, because the Trojans and the Ducks have seemingly opposite ideas about their uniform designs. Possibly, but I think the sanctions on the program had a larger effect on its recruiting efforts.

    USC has mastered the idea of associating a brand with a look that spans generations. As the most storied football program in the Pac-12, why should the Trojans change?

     

    As always, thanks for reading, and check me out on Twitter at @MCarroll_Philly!