The 20 Worst College Football Uniforms: There's More Than One Ugly Duckling

Mike Foster@michaelsfosterCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2011

The 20 Worst College Football Uniforms: There's More Than One Ugly Duckling

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    The college football offseason is the time where everyone involved with their respective schools looks back and assesses the good and bad of what was.

    What needs to improve?

    Most of this has to do with on field performance, player character, recruiting, etc.

    But aesthetics can be an area of concern too. 

    Such is the case for the Oregon Ducks, who to no surprise, along with many other schools dropped the ball in the uniform department. This offseason will be a time where the school's branding departments take a look at nicer looking uniforms.

    Check your computer's brightness, contrast, and saturation. Maybe throw on some sunglasses.

    Here are the twenty worst uniforms in major college football. 

Dishonorable Mentions

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    Here's a list of a few teams who have problems, but are safe from being put on the wall of shame for now.

    West Virginia - More of an equipment issue here, but the Mountaineers helmets are always so scuffed up by seasons' end. Also, the jersey stripes are random. The colors and overall look keep them out of the doghouse.

    Maryland - Absolutely great home uniforms, but the road uniforms are way too black. The helmet needs a hint of yellow in the stripes, and the combinations they wear can be sometimes hideous.

    Miami - One of the weirdest jersey stripe designs I've seen. Something about their uniforms is "clunky" to me.

    Virginia - Ruined a great uniform with their new Nike set last year. They took a beautiful jersey and turned it into generic mush. Also, the pants stripes are horrendous.

    Minnesota- This school has just never looked good. Unless you have really crystal clear high definition, the Gophers are unbearable to watch on screen.

    USF - Really messed up their look by switching to white helmets. 

    Temple - Nice, clean uniform, except for the most awkward and uninspired pants design (alternating red and white blocks going up the side).

    Delaware - Paints the blue part of their "Michigan style" helmet on top of a gold shell. The paint wears off, and you get the ugliest looking helmets in the world by season's end. If they fix that, they are okay.

No. 20: Oregon Ducks

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    Oregon has always been known as the ugliest team in college football. But, I'm not putting them at number one on this list.

    As a matter of fact, putting them at 20 is just my way of saying, you're ugly, but it's okay.

    It is okay. Oregon's trademark is crazy uniforms. Unlike the other schools you will see on the list, the Ducks don't really surprise anyone when they trot onto the field looking like storm troopers or robots.

    As a matter of fact, some of Oregon's recent uniform combinations have been absolutely beautiful! (white helmet, white jersey, green pants especially)

    They are almost off this list, but they continue to wear head scratching uniform combinations just for the heck of it.

    The one shown above is my least favorite. Also, if you will notice, Nike's latest jerseys produce really awkward looking sweat stains on mesh areas. When the Ducks get into humid environments their jerseys turn green, silver, and black.

    Also, the endless addition of colors (steel, carbon, charcoal, highlighter green-yellow) need to end. 

    Eh, scratch that. Don't let it end. What's Oregon without it, right? 

    When it comes to the Ducks, more power to them. They should be proud to make this list every year...OK, I've said too much.

    Moving on...

No. 19: Southern Methodist Mustangs

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    The Mustangs switched from horrific uniforms to bad uniforms when June Jones arrived.

    But, they are still pretty ugly.

    There are just way too many jersey stripes going on here. In the day and age where sleeves have disappeared off of football uniforms, jersey striping has become more of a fine art.

    Teams that try to rock classic jersey stripes usually can't pull it off.

    SMU is a prime example. If they could just fix their jersey stripes, they would be okay, but right now they look like the Buffalo Bills. 

No. 18: Fresno State Bulldogs

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    It's not necessarily "ugliness" that makes Fresno State's uniforms so unlikeable.

    What lands them on this list is the fact they have been wearing the same uniform since the turn of the millennium.

    For traditional schools like Auburn, LSU, and Alabama, that's okay. But, when you are a progressive football program in California and the local middle schools have cooler uniforms than you, you've got an issue.

    The Bulldogs uniforms aren't even classic. The drop shadows belong in the mid 1990s, and with red and blue as a color scheme, the Bulldogs have yet to sport blue pants or blue jerseys.


    Plus, Fresno sports a giant green "V" decal on the back of their helmets. Sure, the decal means something, and that's great, but make it a tiny sticker or something.

    Instead, they look like they are all running around with Christmas ornaments on their heads. 

No. 17: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (and Russell Schools)

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    This slide is a warning, not just to Western Kentucky, but to all of the FCS teams out there who are wearing boring Russell uniforms.


    You don't see it much in the Bowl Subdivision, but many smaller schools with Russell contracts simply sport stock templates, which all look very cheap and do nothing for a school's identity.

    Western Kentucky, who has transitioned into the FBS, has yet to realize how out of place they look. In fact, in 2007, the Hilltoppers wore a much nicer looking get up.

    But most schools with Russell uniforms switch to newer and uglier jerseys each year, and rarely even get their home and road jerseys to match in the same season (they'll wear new home jerseys, and last year's road jerseys).

    Any team who has fallen into this hole, including Georgia Tech, needs to rethink things. Also, if this list was intended to include FCS schools, it would be one hundred times longer.

No. 16: Louisville Cardinals

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    What was Charlie Strong thinking?!?!

    Louisville walked out of the tunnel for the first time in 2010 and made a lot of college football fans sick.

    They broke the rules of athletic aesthetics.

    Never, ever, try to combine modern jerseys with classic helmets and classic pants.


    Strong, the new head coach, wanted to return a classic look to Louisville. We all said, "great idea!", but little did we know he was going to completely overlook the piped out jerseys. 

    Hopefully the Cardinals fix this before 2011. If they do, they could work themselves into the best uniform category.

No. 15: Cincinnati Bearcats

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    There is only one thing, and one thing only, I hate about the Bearcats uniforms.

    The pants are terrible.

    Many Adidas schools are currently rocking the big, fat, ugly pants stripe, as seen here with Cincinnati. The Cats pants stripe, however, is even fatter than the other Adidas teams' pants stripes, and makes the players look very slow.

    Cincinnati's black pants on the other hand, don't have a huge stripe, but do have the claw design, and look really great. Why they didn't just use claws on white pants is beyond me, but until Cincinnati fixes their pants they are going to look terrible.

    It's a shame, because their helmets and jerseys are awesome, though they could trim the jersey numbers.

No. 14: Iowa State Cyclones

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    These are just the epitome of boring.

    Iowa State has always been known for having ugly uniforms (look no further than the Seneca Wallace days), but with their rebrand came a safe and snooze inducing uniform design that does nothing more than slap the Kansas City Chiefs in the face.

    Nothing upsets me more than when teams switch to grey facemasks during redesign periods.

    The reason classic teams wear gray facemasks is because in the early stages teams didn't paint them, so they were worn gray on the helmets. In fact, some teams would wear different colored facemasks at the same time, depending on where they got them from (some might be black, some might be gray and some might be white).

    But, if you've been wearing a painted facemask for so long, switching back to gray to look more authentic really makes you look like nothing more than a poser.

No. 13: California Golden Bears

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    California's uniforms can look pretty darn awesome from the front.

    But the pants stripes from behind are terrifyingly awkward.

    They are so awkward in fact, that I cannot keep the Golden Bears off of this list.

    Even the extra collar stripes are a little weird, and overall, without television numbers or white trim, the colored uniforms Cal wears can be difficult to watch for three hours.

    The Bears look okay, but I think many would like to see them switch back to a classier uniform.


No. 12: Texas-El Paso Miners

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    UTEP, like Fresno State, has been wearing the same ugly uniform way too long.

    Their combinations are endlessly disgusting, and their helmet might be the worst in the FBS.

    Plus, unless you are the Denver Broncos, the giant swoosh stripe shouldn't be allowed, even if you are a Nike school.

No. 11: East Carolina Pirates

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    East Carolina has a great color scheme, but they fail to use it.

    Nor do they try to look unique in any way.

    The Pirates are just another example of a team who's taken zero interest in their own identity. They sport "highschoolish" uniforms, that include the most mismatched pants stripes ever.

    Where is the gold?  

No. 10: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

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    Speaking of teams who don't use their school colors, what in the world happened with ULM?

    The Warhawks actually had some pretty spiffy uniforms, but recently switched to the same boring Adidas template everyone is wearing these days.

    But they also dropped the gold trim, making way for one of the blandest uniforms in the country.

No. 9: Central Florida Golden Knights

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    UCF has always had really cheap looking uniforms, which have always offset one of the more beautiful helmets in college football.

    They went out of their way to get new uniforms in 2010, and still failed to produce a clean look. The Knights wear black jerseys with gold pants and the white helmet, making for a very strange and mismatched combination.

    And their road jerseys have gold numbers, which is almost impossible to see on white material.

    Not to mention the fact they are sporting the same Nike template that bigger schools wore three to four years ago, when it was actually in style.

    Central Florida looks like a high school team from neck to toe, and it's a shame.

No. 8: Toledo Rockets

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    Toledo has always been known for ugly uniforms, but they shot themselves in the foot in 2010 when they switched to new Under Armour uniforms.

    Apparently everyone in Toledo, Ohio has major vision problems, because the numbers and font on the Rocket's new digs are absolutely huge!

    Even the nameplates are gigantic, and the pants stripes are vastly uninspired.

    There is nothing good going on here.

No. 7: Boise State Broncos

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    Everything Boise State wears is hideous.

    Combine that with blue turf, and Boise should be paying their fans to show up and watch games. (Though they show up anyways, for some reason)

    Not only is the combination of blue, orange, and silver bad enough, but the special Pro Combat uniforms the Broncos have worn have boggles the mind.

    The material on their latest bowl uniform, pictured above, looked terrible on television. 

    Their biggest issue is gray. They looked cool without it, and many wonder why they switched to it. It's almost like Nike forced them to, considering it's apparent Nike makes uniforms with real steel...or something like that.

No. 6: Tulsa Golden Hurricane

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    There is so much bad going on here I don't even know where to begin.

    Tulsa's color scheme is terrible. Their jersey number font is terrible. Their uniform template is outdated.

    Oh, and they have some of the worst ideas for alternate uniforms ever (I'm even sparing you of looking at them).

    I'd really like to see Tulsa drop red and go to a simpler uniform. 

No. 5: Indiana Hoosiers

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    Indiana broke out new uniforms in 2010, replacing their old Oklahoma replicas.

    But, I'm not sure slapping giant crimson and white blobs on a classic jersey design is the answer.

    The Hoosiers now have one of the most questionable uniforms in all of sports. 

    Some decisions made by designers these days just don't make a lick of sense.

No. 4: Florida International Panthers

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    What do you get when you combine a boring logo with a boring Adidas template, mismatched jersey stripes, and a helmet that is too dark for the jersey color?

    The fourth worst uniform in college football.

    It bothers me enough that the "tusk" template has been worn by so many teams (even Michigan), but how in the world did FIU screw it up so bad?

    The stripe on their blue pants is gold. The stripe on their blue jersey, around the back, is white.

    So, their blue jerseys and blue pants don't go together at all.

    Yet, they try to combine the two all of the time. Plus, they have black jerseys, which they wore with blue pants and the blue helmet, creating one of the ugliest uniforms I've ever seen (though I could not find a picture).

No. 3: Wyoming Cowboys

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    You know when you are at dinner, and you've eaten way too much, and the waiter asks if you would like dessert.

    And you almost throw up.

    That is what I think of every time I see Wyoming. Their color scheme makes them look like a bunch of yellow cupcakes, and their logo, despite it's "classic" label, just doesn't go well on a helmet.

    Their uniform combinations are pretty bad. White helmets, brown jerseys, and gold pants can be the worst.

    Plus, they are wearing the same boring Nike template most teams switched over to a few years ago. The white pants and white jerseys don't go well together at all, considering the white pants have a brown stripe.

No. 2: Florida A&M Rattlers

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    Florida A&M changes their uniform so often it's hard to keep up.

    But one thing is always for sure.

    It's going to be hideous. Their helmet is bad enough, but they've never ceased to amaze us with their discombobulated uniform designs.

    They even wore pants in 2009 that were green on the front and orange on the back.

    It's like they are trying to be the Oregon of the FCS, but instead of people thinking they look cool, they just barf and turn their head the other way.

    Not to mention having terrible uniforms seems to be mandatory in the MEAC.

No. 1: Rhode Island Rams

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    Do not let this image fool you.

    It was taken in the year 2010, believe it or not.

    Rhode Island has always had bad uniforms in terms of color placement, but at least their jerseys have looked nice.

    So, what in the world did they do?

    The Rams trotted out in these uniforms in 2010, much to the disbelief of competitors.

    Their new uniform color is an electric "Carolina Blue", and their jerseys and pants would be laughing stocks on a pee wee field... 1988.

    There may not be a worse uniform in all of sports.