Power Ranking the Football Uniforms of New Big Ten: Nebraska Included
Tradition has been a staple of the Big Ten since its beginnings and has continued through the conference expansion process. The league has expanded twice in the last two decades and has added two teams that have outstanding histories. Many Big Ten rivalries have been around for over a century and Wisconsin-Minnesota is the longest running rivalry in college football.
These rivalries are very important to the conference, and commissioner Jim Delany vowed to protect as many rivalries as possible when splitting up the new Big Ten. Tradition also plays a large part in the uniforms of the Big Ten. From State College to Lincoln, each uniform is unique. Take a look at how the uniforms stack up against each other, starting with the, well, the least attractive of the group.
No. 12: Illinois Fighting Illini
There are two types of college football uniforms; ones that are simple, but have a lot of tradition and ones that have cool designs. The problem with the simple look is that if it doesn't have much tradition to back it up, it's just bland. The color scheme is nothing special, and while having the state name on the helmet is unique, the design itself isn't outstanding. All in all, Illinois' jerseys are hardly unique and don't have enough tradition to make up for their simplicity.
No. 11: Minnesota Golden Gophers
Even if you scoured the nation searching for the ugliest uniforms in football, you'd be hard pressed to find one uglier than the Gophers'. The only things keeping the Gophers out of last place are that they at least chose a unique color scheme and that Illinois' uniforms are extremely boring.
So while maroon and gold may not have been the best choice of a color combo, at least the Gophers chose one of the most unique combinations in the sport. And to Minnesota's defense, there are no obvious color schemes for a team whose mascot is a Golden Gopher.
No. 10: Indiana Hoosiers
Like Illinois', Indiana's uniforms are somewhat bland. The home jersey is Crimson with white writing and numbers, and features no design. Unlike Illinois, Indiana does have a logo on its helmet, but the IU logo is nothing spectacular. The reason Indiana was able to beat out Illinois is because of its new uniforms. I really like the new "Hoosiers" writing above the numbers and the style of the writing. Plus, cream and crimson go together much better than maroon and gold.
No. 9: Purdue Boilermakers
Another Indiana team, another disappointing uniform. Again, the overriding theme here is that Purdue's uniforms are just too boring. The jerseys have no writing on them, with the exception of a tiny "P" on the collar, and the logo on the helmets is just average. The only thing that saves the Boilermakers from the bottom three is the color scheme. Old gold and black is a solid pair of colors, but these colors definitely could have been applied better on the uniform.
No. 8: Northwestern Wildcats
While most college football fans tend to shy away from Northwestern's jerseys (likely because purple isn't exactly a tough color), I actually like the Wildcats' jerseys. Sure, the color choice could have been better, but the block "N" logo looks pretty cool. The jerseys are also designed differently from many Big Ten jerseys.
There are stripes on the shoulders and a Northwestern logo on each sleeve. The pants have a splash of purple on them as well. This unique style earns the Wildcats a decent spot in the uniform rankings, although with a better color, they could have been ranked even higher.
No. 7: Wisconsin Badgers
While the Wisconsin jerseys do have a decent amount of tradition, the style is nothing special. The color scheme is OK, but there is nothing on the jerseys besides a Wisconsin logo on the pants and a few stripes on both the shirt and the pants.
Like Northwestern's helmet logo, I like the "W" on the Badgers' helmets, but it takes much more than that to make a uniform. And the only reason Wisconsin isn't behind Northwestern is that they sport a better color than purple.
No. 6: Michigan State Spartans
Like Indiana, Michigan State has adopted a new uniform style with the school name in small block lettering over the numbers. For some reason, I really like this new style. But where Michigan State gains an edge on the Hoosiers is its logo. The Spartan logo is one of the best in the Big Ten and it fits perfectly with the green color scheme. But a lack of style on the jersey and a lack of tradition allows Michigan State to only reach the No. 6 spot in the rankings
No. 5: Nebraska Cornhuskers
Here is where I'm going to start getting into some trouble. For some reason, most college football fans love the plain uniforms that the Cornhuskers wear. I understand that tradition should mean something in uniforms, and that kept Nebraska from being ranked much lower. But the tradition argument isn't a huge factor because the jerseys have changed over the years.
The helmet has remained the same for many years, but the "N" doesn't add much, and is actually quite small for a helmet decal. The bottom line is Nebraska has a decent ranking on this list because of its tradition, but its uniforms really aren't much to look at.
No. 4: Penn State Nittany Lions
The Nittany Lions are in basically the same boat as Nebraska; a boring uniform with a lot of history. But Penn State beats out the Cornhuskers because it stuck closer to tradition. While Nebraska has tweaked its uniforms a bit over the years, Penn State's uniforms have remained relatively the same.
The uniforms have nothing on them besides numbers and a stripe on the helmet. But hey, who needs style when you have such as strong tradition. You might as well go all out if you're going to be boring.
No. 3: Iowa Hawkeyes
Before the Iowa haters go ballistic, yes, I know that the uniforms are basically carbon copies of the Pittsburgh Steelers'. But with such a great color scheme and logo, the Hawkeyes can afford to steal ideas. The black and gold color scheme is the the best in college football, and Iowa's home jerseys are some of the best in the sport. The Tigerhawk logo is also very unique and Iowa's helmet is often considered one of the best in the Big Ten.
No. 2: Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State grabs the No. 2 spot in the Big Ten uniform rankings because of its ability to display both tradition and style. The jerseys are somewhat plain, which helps show Ohio State's tradition, but the scarlet and gray color scheme makes the jerseys look good as well. The helmets are also unique, as each helmet is different.
Players earn "Buckeye Leaf" stickers to place on their helmets for solid individual and team performances, meaning some players have bare helmets, while others have helmets that are completely covered with buckeye leaves. This unique combination of tradition and style earns Ohio State a solid uniform grade.
No. 1: Michigan Wolverines
There hasn't been much to smile about for Michigan football as of late, but at least the Wolverines know they can win in one category. Like rival Ohio State, Michigan uniquely combines tradition and style. But their design one-ups the Buckeyes. The maize and blue color scheme is unmistakable and the colors fit perfectly together.
The jerseys don't have much on them, and the pants only sport a "Block M" logo, but the helmet makes up for the smudge of blandness on the uniform. The winged helmet design is arguably the most creative and well-known in college football.
Many high schools have adopted the winged helmet and it has quickly become popular around the sport. Because of its unique helmet design and superb combination of style and tradition, Michigan sports the best football uniforms in the Big Ten.