Grading the New College Football Uniforms for 2013
College football will kick off in just over a month, and many of the Division I FBS programs have unveiled their new digs for the new season.
With the year 2013 comes a wave of interesting new trends, including chrome helmets, grey jerseys and excessive helmet options.
Within all of the trends are a few diamonds in the rough, for good and bad reasons.
There's no doubt college football uniforms are getting weirder and weirder, as more tradition is booted in the wake of a race being run by equipment managers.
Here's an individual grade for all of the new uniforms unveiled so far.
It appears Wake Forest will experiment with some new helmets this season. With a primary helmet that is simple and looks great, this is a lateral move.
The real question is, when are they going to dump the Nike stock template they've been wearing?
One off the more shocking changes of the season has happened in Chapel Hill.
UNC has dropped navy blue as an accent color and has evolved its uniforms into a new Carolina blue and black color scheme.
Considering the team is called the "Tar Heels," black seems justified. The aesthetics aren't too great, though. The gaudy v-neck insert is one of Nike's worst offenses, and the sleeve loop and generic pants stripes make the design look very uninspired.
This is one of the strangest things you will see on the list.
UConn made a smart move by updating its logo, adding the "UConn" script to the uniforms, and sprinkling in some red accents.
But, what in the world is going on with the helmet? This is the first time we've seen a helmet where the logo decal is literally a stripe along the crown.
The aesthetic problem here is that the glossy decal doesn't translate well on a matte shell. You think someone would have easily noticed that and declared to make a change, but we all know how unfiltered the uniform creating process has become.
This is a classic case of a team using an online uniform builder tool, rather than letting some professionals work on a design.
Houston has gruesomely downgraded its uniform into a clusterdump of fill-and-color features. These might be the clunkiest and slowest looking uniforms of the season.
Also, it's curious how Houston has phased out blue and phased in silver.
Memphis, which wore generic mush for a few years, has finally come through with a unique and exclusive look for its football team.
The new jerseys are way cleaner and feature a neat tiger stripe pattern on the sleeves. Thanks to the color contrast of blue and black, the pattern is subtle.
Also, the number font is pretty decent, and the chrome silver helmet is trendy, but works well and is attractive to recruits.
UCF has switched to a new number font, along with a new jersey stripe that is way less generic than the swoop they had previously worn.
The new pants are designed the same way the other Knights, Rutgers, had done last year.
Apparently there's also a new helmet coming into the mix, but we will have to wait and see.
Baylor has introduced new uniforms with a unique number font, a pretty cool bear-claw design on the sleeves and a black alternate that includes a gold-chrome helmet.
Check, check and check.
Considering how generic and awful Baylor's uniforms have been in the previous seasons, this is a major upgrade.
Kansas has shown off some new helmets.
The best addition is the red lid, which will look great with a blue jersey and white pants.
The worst is the black helmet, which is completely pointless. It will pair with the absolutely terrible black and white jersey that Kansas wore last year. Whatever happened to team colors?
Texas has made very subtle changes by switching to Nike's latest template.
The only really notable change is the addition of the longhorn logo to the collar, as well as the T.V. numbers getting moved up to the shoulder.
The Red Raiders are having a bit of an identity crisis.
Not only is this new template kind of boring, but the addition of a grey jersey is pointless.
Check out the sublimated 'Texas Tech" font pattern in the numbers. There's really no point in that either.
West Virginia needed new uniforms, but these just don't cut it.
From the awkward armpit inserts, to the addition of black into a navy blue color scheme, to the pick-axe number font, these are about as generic and boring as it gets.
The number font really is hideous.
Small change here.
Illinois has switched to this helmet design, which is a little bit more simple than using the script.
Nothing much to see here; time to carry on.
Indiana will have the strangest helmet of the season. Wait, no, Indiana will have two of the strangest helmets of the season.
The weird crimson trim along the edges of that white shell is something new, but not nearly as mind blowing as the candy-striped chrome helmet.
Indiana unveiled three other helmets it can wear this season.
The 'Blackshirts' will finally be in black shirts.
I guess these are okay for a one-game thing, but there's nothing here that looks inspired.
The worst part is the two-toned facemask. This is a trend that needs to go away quickly. You will find out later in this list that it isn't.
FAU used to look remarkable for a second-tier team.
So, how have they gotten here?
It's kind of hilarious that they preserved the classic pants stripe by using one-third of it, and the new Adidas wing design is the next worst thing to happen to college football jerseys.
But, to ruin a perfectly good helmet with a slew of sloppily thrown together alternates? Woof.
From the above photo, Southern Miss' new uniforms look pretty nice.
They are a definite upgrade over their last set. The pattern in the number is an ode to the stadium name, "The Rock."
But, wait until you see the pants.
Okay, now we've got problems. The only other team who has worn a two-toned pant like this is Florida A&M, who was seemingly winning the worst uniform award for a decade.
Why Southern Miss switched from Nike to Russell is a mystery.
Minor change from Louisiana Tech, but a good one.
The Bulldogs changed the 'T' on the helmet logo from white to red.
Tiny update, but makes a pretty big aesthetic improvement.
Tulane has had one of the more unappreciated uniforms in college football. Seriously, these digs are beautiful.
Of course, a great uniform doesn't sell as much as a grey one for the sake of having a grey one, which is what we see here.
There's also been a heap of prototype helmet designs that could hit the field.
Tulsa made a minor change by taking the piping off of its jersey.
Still, the number font is way too squared and boring. Tulsa has a really nice blue, red and gold color scheme, but for some reason the team has never been able to make it actually look good on a uniform.
UMass has added white and maroon helmets to the uniform set.
Nothing awful here. The Minutemen will look just fine in the Fall.
Western Michigan basically copied the other FBS team called the Broncos.
It's actually a cool and steady look, but it just reeks of monkey see, monkey do.
Nevada has joined the multiple helmet club.
I can't say these will look bad, but the change is just boring.
San Diego State
Not a terrible change at San Diego State.
The Aztecs have finally put the right logo on the helmet, and the classic style uniforms are nice. The number font kind of reminds you of Cincinnati, but that's a minor issue.
It's kind of upsetting, however, that they never really ran with the cherry, black and gold color scheme. There's always been potential for a really original and striking design for a team with the best identity in college sports, but they've always gone the more generic route.
Gradient numbers: Check.
Goofy number font: Check.
Really weird colored holsters on the pants: Check.
Completely random bronze lids: Check.
Arizona will definitely look different this year. That's not necessarily a good thing.
Very minor change at UCLA.
A lot of the Adidas schools with new uniforms will rock a new jersey that has these weird tire-tread vent holes in it.
It's almost distracting enough to appear as a design element. The only actual tailoring aesthetic that comes close to this is the sweat squares that Nike's speed machine template has given us in the past.
Cal has basically evolved its previous look, and this set definitely is cleaner and faster looking.
There's a sublimated bear logo pattern that runs in the numbers (one of the more annoying new trends in design) and on the sleeves (a cool idea).
The helmets are now matte, which is a lateral and acceptable change here.
The only bad part is a completely pointless grey alternate. If you have not noticed already, pointless grey alternates are getting about as annoying as pointless black alternates.
Oregon's spring game helmets will likely see the field in 2013. Here they are paired with a new combination of yellow on yellow.
This is actually a really neat look.
We are 1-for-1 so far in the new year. And yes, because of Oregon's reputation, the two-toned facemask just looks good on them.
Here's a case of the opposite. Oregon State, who might want to try to differentiate from its in-state rival, did the opposite.
Yes, the Beaver's new helmets have three-toned facemasks. Not only does this look ridiculous, but why knowingly jump onto the same boat as your rival?
The new uniforms feature a clunky number font, a pointless addition of bronze, the same generic sleeve swoop that UNC adopted and a truncated pants stripe pattern.
Yes, the youth might think these are "kewl," but they are really just a hapless attempt at trying to be trendy.
Florida has made a very subtle change by using a new number font. The new font is more similar to the style the basketball team has recently worn.
Nothing much to see here, but this does make the Gators more original.
Tiny changes for Georgia as well, but it's not anything of an improvement.
Sure, a new number font might add some needed change without killing tradition, but its not necessarily that great.
Also, there's nothing aesthetically pleasing about Nike's flywire collar, as Georgia fans will learn.
The look is still pretty good, but Georgia could have done itself better by just announcing it was going to bring back the black jerseys for a game or two. All fans really want that on the inside.
Kentucky is jumping in the GFGS (Grey for Grey's sake) bandwagon.
With blue, white and black jerseys already in the mix, why muck up the identity?
It's bad enough that Kentucky and Tenneseee, two rivals, are sharing the checkerboard pattern.
Speaking of, here's Tennessee's new digs, thanks to a screenshot of the NCAA Football 14 video game.
The biggest changes include the checker design in the road uniform numbers, as well as the 'TENNESSEE' script on the road jersey. There's also no more black trim.
The state of Tennessee is also patched on the back of the jerseys above the nameplate.
Arkansas has made some excellent changes, removing the gradients from the numbers, going with a more legible number font, and creating a red hog decal for the white helmet.
The scripts on the jerseys are also no longer grey, which is a huge upgrade. Obviously, Bret Bielma took interest in his team looking good.
Ole Miss wanted to join the parade by adding some new uniform options, but rather mucked up its look.
What you are going to start seeing is this new lower shoulder stripe (LSU adopted it last year in its bowl game). The point is to kind of fix the aesthetic of stripes, which used to wrap around under the arm, but forcing that on a modern jersey is obviously a bad idea. These stripes look like they are just kind of hanging over the shoulder.
The jerseys still look way too plain, and instead of having a road jersey with red and blue in it, they curiously just added a new road jersey with blue accents instead of red.
The new navy blue pants read 'REBELS' on the side, which is cheap looking, as are the new white pants.
These are pretty disappointing. The Rebels would have one of the best looks in the game if someone could design a complete uniform for them.
Georgia State, which has joined the Sun Belt, has upgraded with cleaner looking jerseys and a few additions.
The blue pants are a welcomed addition, as are the black pants and black helmets with the "PANTHERS' cursive script on the side.
Considering how boring the previous uniforms were, these are nice. They may not win many games this year, but they will look good while they do it.
Welcomed change for the Warhawks, who previously were wearing that gaudy Adidas template with the tusks and paintbrush pants stripe.
The only negative is that they have never really used enough gold. There's a lot of potential for a great uniform here, but these are just good. Not bad, but nothing special.
And for the grande finale, check out Western Kentucky.
The Hilltoppers will feature well, the weirdest feature of the season. The school seal is actually sublimated in the numbers. That's a first.
These are very modern, and kind of look like something you would have seen five years ago, but honestly for a program like WKU they are better than the bland style they previously wore.
Chrome helmets are annoyingly trendy. The number font is also pretty bad.
Overall, though, it's safe to say the players will prefer this over the other set.
Mike Foster is a Featured Columnist for BleacherReport and a local sportswriter in northwest Atlanta. Follow Mike on Twitter!