As the 2010 college football season comes to a close, there are five trends that have run their course. We've seen enough of these and don't need to see any more.
1) Manes of hair flowing from under the helmet. Whether it's braids or manes, lush or scraggly, we've seen enough of the hair cascading down the backs of players. What was once a cool signature look for Troy Polamalu while at USC and now with the Pittsburgh Steelers has reached critical mass. When everybody's doing it, the uniqueness evaporates. It's no longer attention-getting, it becomes cliche. And no, it doesn't matter whether you fan it around your shoulder pads like a lion's mane or just allow it to hang limply down your back like a stringy-haired teen.
You're not Samson. Cut that mess.
2) Wendy's pigtails. Sticking with the hair theme, pigtails like the red-haired girl in the Wendy's logo are another trend that needs to vanish. Alabama's Julio Jones is one of the few to adopt this ridiculous fashion statement, but even if he is the only one, there's no getting around how utterly silly it looks. If this trend hasn't caught on yet, one hopes it never will. If you're seriously thinking about making yourself look more like cartoon Wendy, we're not sure what you're thinking.
3) A uniform a week. Whatever happened to tradition? Changing uniforms week to week is something a corporate-sponsored, beer-swilling semipro softball team might do. It doesn't fit college football. College football is second only to baseball when it comes to a sense of historical perspective. Changing uniforms week after week shows a complete lack of appreciation for history.
Great teams (Auburn, Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State. Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas) rarely change their uniforms. When you see a photo from the 50s, 90s or today, you know if it's Texas or Penn State or Auburn. Auburn's Terry Bowden received scathing criticism for putting an orange shadow behind the white numbers on Auburn's uniform. Criticism was so extreme, the "new" look lasted only one season before being retired. If you've got more than three sets of uniforms (home, road and special occasions) you've got too many.
4) Outs of any kind. Black outs, blue outs, white outs. Once was fun. But when you're blacking, whiting or bluing out somebody every year, the concept has reached the end of its usefulness. In case you hadn't noticed, the concept has also lost its effectiveness. Remember Georgia "blacking out" Alabama and then getting mauled by the Tide? As one 'Bama coach noted, "they were dressed for a funeral." It's okay for the administration to ask fans to wear a specific color for the season, but we can dispense with the "show up and white out the Bearcats" single-game messages.
5) Playoff discussion. It's not going to happen anytime soon. There's no point in talking about it. The system in place is about as good as you can get. Every playoff proposal out there has flaws just as egregious as the BCS system. Taking the top team from each league? That's easily just as unfair as the current system.
Virginia Tech won the ACC. In most playoff proposals, the ACC title would guarantee them a spot in the final four or eight. Are the Hokies more worthy of consideration than LSU, Alabama or Arkansas? What happens in a year like this when four of the best ten teams (arguably) are from the same conference?
Would a playoff featuring Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Oregon, UConn, Virginia Tech and Ohio State appease anyone? No matter what playoff proposal is offered, somebody is getting the shaft. Watching the NFL wallow through a largely meaningless regular season reminds one again why college football is so special and ignites such passion. Would an Auburn/LSU game in mid-October carry the same importance if both teams knew that a loss wouldn't necessarily knock them out of the hunt? In college football every game matters. That's the way it should be.
If you're going to have one trend that needs to catch on, forget the lion manes and the ponytails. Real men sport Santa beards. Troy State punter Will Goggans turned out in a lush (real) beard for the Trojans' New Orleans Bowl win over Ohio. That's a look we'd love to see repeated. Can't be any sillier than the Wendy's do.