10 College Football Teams That Need New Uniforms
In what is quickly becoming an annual tradition, several schools unveiled new logos, uniforms and helmets this past month or so. Most of it is an effort to lure in potential recruits with something shiny and new, but not every uniform combo works and not every redesign is a good idea.
More often than not, the changes work, especially those that have been thought through and look towards tradition and history for inspiration.
However, we've all seen some major duds, and even those that haven't changed in decades or a century are just plain awful.
So, let us take a look at the 10 uniforms that are in need of an overhaul (in no particular order).
Iowa's Hawkeye logo is one of the more iconic in college football and there are no qualms about that here. However, the rest of that uniform...snooze.
Don't get me wrong, I love the classic and old school probably more than most. There's a difference between that and just playing copycat to a professional team, though.
If you took Herky's head off the helmet, no one could tell the difference between the Hawkeyes and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Get your own look there Iowa...then again, maybe there's a reason not to do that—remember these beauties?
Iowa hasn't changed its helmets since 1979, and their uniforms are just too similar to the Steelers for my liking. Time to freshen at least the uniforms up a bit, you are a Nike school after all.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
There are two trends in college football uniforms that have overwhelmed the sport—chrome and matte schemes. Wake Forest hasn't been immune to that, adding a matte black helmet last season.
While new color schemes, uniforms and helmets are designed to attract potential recruits and fan attention, these efforts join the rest of the regular uniforms in putting us to sleep.
In the world of flash and attention-grabbing designs, I give Wake Forest credit for staying muted. However, there's being muted and being completely irrelevant. Black, gold and white are pretty classic colors, and a lot can be done with them, yet the Demon Deacons chose to put us all to sleep.
Wake Forest needs to add something to its "classic" WF logo or add something more to the uniforms in a bad way, especially when you've got a new coach and a team that has gone back to irrelevancy in recent years.
Air Force Falcons
The Air Force Academy used to be the kings of the military academies on the gridiron, but those days are long gone. Speaking of yesterday, the Falcons uniforms need a serious makeover too.
Nothing like a crazy lightning bolt to represent a Falcon, right? Sure, the San Diego Chargers found a way to make a single lightning bolt look cool, but Air Force's version is nothing like that.
Add in a nearly all-grey version of the uniform in recent times, and one has to wonder if the Falcons could blend into the background any more.
Now, if they found a way to incorporate more of the black, silver and blue look that they've put out in recent years, I'd be all on board. Heck, give the lightning bolt a jolt, and the overall uniforms could work.
Come on Nike, the Air Force deserves uniforms as awesome as the ones you've given Army and Navy in recent times.
One thing I know about Barry Alvarez is that change won't be done just because it's time to keep up with popular trends. That's one of the very few things he and I have in common, and I respect Wisconsin's nod to classic jerseys, but it may be time to revisit that motion 'W' logo.
New head coach Gary Andersen helped facilitate some change last year, introducing two red helmets. One helmet had a white facemask and the other had a black facemask and accents. However, it's really the only version of the helmet where the motion "W" actually works, because it's the white version.
Wisconsin could do well to introduce some more black to the equation as well, maybe in the striping it uses or in the uniform itself.
I respect UW for trying to stay classic with its overall uniform look, but there's got to be some compromise between that and staying somewhat current. After all, UW hasn't changed its helmet look (besides last season's red versions) since 1991.
Wyoming...err, "WYO," as its uniforms tell us, is in serious need of some help in the uniform department. When you're a school in the middle of nowhere USA, I get allowing Nike to experiment a bit, but what the Cowboys allowed Nike to produce for them since 2012 has been awful.
Exhibit A is above, where we see grey uniforms with some digital camouflage in brown and yellow—complete with the matte brown helmet.
The one good thing about Wyoming's uniforms is that the logo is at least decent. I get the cowboy on the horse thing they've got going on, but the rest needs a serious overhaul.
None of the jersey combos are as bad as the camouflage, unless you also see the ones where they wear matte helmets with yellow jerseys and pants.
Sure, there's not a lot you can do with brown, yellow and white, but using all three would be a wise choice at least. Perhaps there needs to be a complete re-think of the color scheme or lettering as well?
Washington State Cougars
Could anything be more boring than grey and white colors? Well, add Pullman, Wash., to the mix, and you have about as boring a combination as possible in college football.
Washington State's "WSU" cougar face-looking logo has been around since the mid-1990s, and I'm not sure the school could do much better. Sure, the occasional "cougars" script logo has appeared, but giving the school something unique is important. Let's keep the logo on the helmet.
However, let's never see the grey helmet with white uniform and grey pants appear ever again at home. That's just way too bland for a school that needs a way to stand out above the rest of the Pac-12 north.
At least the rest of the uniform stays pretty classic looking, with some accents, but nothing super-crazy from Nike. Maybe introduce a black look to the uniforms when they go with grey helmets?
Nothing screams intimidating like the eyes, and only the eyes, of a Husky. Somehow, the athletic department decided those helmets, in white and blue versions, were good ideas.
As if just including the eyes of the Husky on the front wasn't bad enough, the "UCONN" script across the back added the final touch of awful to a uniform that was a disaster since the time it was unveiled just before last season.
I like the new script of the "UCONN" name, and perhaps that's a place for the athletic department to start. Take off the Husky stuff and just go with a simple "UCONN" logo on each side. Frankly, it would at least be distinguishing, unlike the previous block-C logo and whatever the heck the latest version is.
There isn't a fan base I feel more sorry for than the Huskies, as they have to suffer through at least a few more years with these crappy things. After all, a school just can't throw away a re-branding effort that quickly.
If there's a school that needs to scrap a re-branding effort quickly, it is the University of Connecticut.
Western Michigan Broncos
Row the boat, baby! I'm all for inspirational quotes and having a theme for a program, but seriously, keep those things away from the football uniforms.
With youthful head coach P.J. Fleck (33 years old) coming to Western Michigan last year, some things were bound to change. Fleck chose to go with a motto of "Row the boat" upon his hiring and took it beyond the meaning when applying to the helmets and uniforms as well.
It would be one thing if the Broncos were named the Oarsmen or something boating related, but nothing about a Bronco screams rowing a boat. So, when oars were on one side of WMU's helmets and numbers on the other, one doesn't have to wonder why there was much confusion and intrigue.
Sure, it's a sleek way to market the program, but it made for awful uniforms in 2013. Plus there's nothing more boring than all-white uniforms with brown lettering. Thanks for making us want to fall asleep watching you last year—on the field and with your uniforms.
Here's hoping the oars never appear again on a Broncos helmet and that there is a return to gold and brown or black for WMU in its near future.
Okay, Maryland, we get it, you're Under Armour's version of Oregon. It's just too bad no one bothered to tell you that you need to find good uniforms while allowing them to experiment.
Whether it was the new trend of spelling out the name of the school on the back of the helmet, going all racing stripe with the state flag or black pants with yellow and black piping on them, there aren't worse overall uniform combinations in all of college football.
It's bad when I'm calling for the return of the original complete state flag helmets.
What was wrong with the script "Terps" on the helmet? At least everyone knew that was Maryland and it was at least classy. Nothing UA has produced for Maryland in the past three years has been classy in the least.
The only saving grace for the Terps was the white with grey accent jerseys. Those at least masked the ugly. Here's hoping the 2014 varieties are much improved.
Miami (OH) Redhawks
In 2013, Miami (OH) took MACtion to a whole new level. I'm not really sure what you would call the uniforms or helmets that Adidas came out with, but I do know they were god-awful.
Let's start with the red, triple-layered helmets, shall we? There was the block "M" up front, "Miami" wrapped around the back of the helmet and some squiggles across the helmet for good measure. Oh, and of course the helmet is chrome too.
I actually don't mind the actual rest of the uniform much, but the helmet just doesn't work with the rest of what was put out. The uniform is contrasting, sharp and pretty simple, and it just works.
Miami (OH) could also stand to lose the Miami script across the shoulders, but I can take or leave that one. Give me the normal helmets or lose the massive "Miami" across the back and just go chrome with the "M," and this uniform would look really good.
*Andy Coppens is a national college football featured columnist. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndyOnCFB.