Top College Football Jerseys That Don't Get Enough Love

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2021

Top College Football Jerseys That Don't Get Enough Love

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    Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

    The beginning of the college football season is always exciting. Fans cheer on their favorite programs and the pursuit of rivalry wins, conference titles or a national championship. Millions of us watch this sport pretty seriously.

    Sometimes, though, viewers have no rooting interest. And a timeless way of picking a team to support is based on uniforms.

    Throughout the fall, the beloved classics of Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame and USC hit the field. Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas are longtime top choices. Boise State's blues and Oregon's endless combinations are among the modern staples.

    But let's go beyond them. The following squads have a uniform that may help you discover a favorite team to watch.

Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    The mid-2010s Arizona State teams walked so the 2020s squads could run.

    Over the past half decade, the program has found a sharper combination of both colors and fonts. The gold has shifted from a brighter yellow, and the maroon is deeper, too. The font size has increased with an edgier, less-rounded look.

    Throw in the pitchfork logo on helmets, pants and accessories, and Arizona State has a compelling look.

Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors

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    Marco Garcia/Associated Press

    The little details are a major appeal for Hawai'i.

    On the front, there's a custom font that includes a tapa pattern inside the school name. The back of the jersey features the eight major islands of Hawai'i. Both the tapa and state's geography are printed on the left side of the helmets, too.

    While the white jerseys are terrific, our preferred combination is when Hawai'i sports a black helmet and green jersey.

Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    In a conference filled with classicsMichigan, Ohio State, Penn State and even NebraskaIowa doesn't have the same clout.

    But the Hawkeyes keep it simple.

    Whether they're home or away, the black helmet and gold pants are a constant. The only exception is when Iowa unveils a black-on-black or gold-on-gold alternate. That immediate familiarity leads to brand recognition, which leads to brand loyalty. And that's the whole point of marketing.

    If we have one gripe, the white shoulder stripe isn't anywhere else on the uniform. In fairness, that's been a part of Iowa's jerseys for decades, so we understand that's unlikely to change. Otherwise, please just leave the wings in the 1990s.

North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Once the football team incorporated the school's famous argyle in the mid-2010s, North Carolina's jerseys hit a higher level.

    The important adjustment is a less in-your-face presentation of that argyle pattern. Initially, the Tar Heels emphasized it around the entire collar. They've since decreased the size, making it more of a complementary detail and less of a decoration. The argyle runs along the stripe on the helmet, as well.

    And, quite honestly, we're always here for Carolina Blue.

    Again, brand recognition is key. North Carolina football has capitalized on the massive appeal of the basketball program.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

    You want depth of excellence? Check out Oklahoma State.

    Most specifically, we love the logo featured in the accompanying picture. Any uniform with the Pistol Pete helmet is remembered as a winner in our book.

    Oklahoma State has a superb catalog of combinations. Notable favorites are OSU's white helmets with white jerseys and black pants, the black/grey/black mix, the white/orange/white seen above and the all-black uniforms with an orange font.

    Mix in the Barry Sanders-era throwback uniforms, and Oklahoma State is loaded with terrific options.

Ole Miss Rebels

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    See, even Matt Corral agrees.

    Ole Miss receives a technological thumbs-up for its commitment to powder blue. Last year, the Rebels wore blue helmets in five contests and broke out powder blue jerseys in three more. They opened the 2021 season in both the helmets and jerseys.

    Additionally, the two-stripe shoulder look is consistent across their four jersey colors. The numbers are always readable, which is an underrated part of any uniform.

    Win or lose, Ole Miss looks good. Isn't that what matters?

Pitt Panthers

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    As far as we're concerned, the only combination Pitt should ever wear is yellow helmets, blue jerseys and yellow pants.

    The white jersey and yellow pants are passable and yellow helmet with blue-on-blue is decent. There's a time for the Panthers' steel gray alternates, too. But the yellow-on-blue-on-yellow option is nearly perfection for a college football uniform.

    Now, similar to Iowa, Pitt has a non-matching stripe. Although both the helmets and pants include the white stripe, it's much thicker on the pants relative to the blue stripe on the helmet.

    But that's a petty negative to a 5-star uniform.

TCU Horned Frogs

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    There is so much good stuff here.

    Without question, the most unique part of TCU's jersey is the geometric pattern around the collar. However, the spikes are a tribute to the early 2000s when future NFL superstar LaDainian Tomlinson roamed the Horned Frogs' backfield.

    Close behind are both the custom font, black-and-purple helmets and the horned frog logo itself. They're all important parts of an outstanding jersey set with purple, white and black.

    Oklahoma has tradition, and Oklahoma State has range. But TCU has a strong argument for best uniforms in the Big 12.