College Football 2011: The Top 20 Schools That Need a New Uniform

Amy DaughtersFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2011

College Football 2011: The Top 20 Schools That Need a New Uniform

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    Just this Tuesday, Arizona State publicly introduced updated logos, color schemes, etc. that will transform its athletic uniforms across several sports.

    To complement a new helmet emblem, the Sun Devils' traditional maroon and gold will now be accented with black and copper hues and, at some juncture this fall, ASU will go with all black uniforms.   

    In the freshness of our youth, our mothers firmly advised us to “not judge a book by its cover,” and we were encouraged to ponder deep thoughts such as “it’s what on the inside that really counts.” In reality, visual appearance has an important place in all facets of life.

    Yes, even in a topic as critical, important and essential as college football, what’s on the outside matters.

    The goal of all sports is winning. Why not look good doing it?

    The following slideshow attempts to point the finger at 20 programs in need of an extreme makeover: uniform edition.

    Whether you prefer traditional garb or a more modern twist to the football kit, this subjective frenzy proudly presents (in no particular order) the attire that should retire.

Delaware

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    The Fightin’ Blue Hens are a perennial FCS powerhouse and have won six national titles since they started playing football in 1889.

    In 2010, Delaware came up just one point short of earning its seventh national crown against Eastern Washington in the FCS championship.

    The challenge offered by the university’s athletic department is “Dare to be a Blue Hen.”

    OK, seriously, dare to be a Blue Hen who looks like an off-colored Michigan Wolverine.

    “Hey...I was in Delaware this weekend and I saw Denard Robinson but I think something went wrong at the Big House laundry...his jersey looked lighter...”

    It’s maize and blue versus royal blue and gold, and any way you slice it and regardless of who started wearing it first, Delaware needs a new outfit.

Ohio State

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    ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 21: Head coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes encourages his players before the game against the Michigan Wolverines on November 21, 2009 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ohio State won the game 21-10. (Photo by
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Why in the world do the programs that are traditional powerhouses, oozing with success and folklore, want to wear alternate uniforms?

    In the words of a wise man I once knew: “Dance with who brung you.”

    Recently, it seems that every season the Buckeyes come up with some historical twist on their costume that is supposed to beckon the ghosts of the past and spur a team that is not having a problem winning to victory.

    Ohio State’s regular uniforms are iconic; no need to improve on what already works and works so well.

    Seriously, don’t you sell enough of that stuff to the hypnotized residents of Ohio already?

    Oh, I see, maybe that’s the whole idea.

Rice

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quarterback Taylor McHargue #16 of the Rice Owls throws downfield against the Texas Limghorns> at Reliant Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Houson, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Rice may be the “Harvard of the South,” but they still play major college football in the state of Texas.

    The old English script on the Owl’s jersey and helmet is just taking things too far. Look, your mascot is an Owl and you are a bunch of really, really smart people.

    This isn’t junior high school and nobody expects you to fit in with the popular SEC crowd, but maybe just a small step in their direction would make you feel better on the inside?

Hawaii

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    Black and green are great colors for a college football uniform, but do you ever get the feeling that Hawaii’s uniforms are Under Armor’s answer to Nike’s work at Oregon?

    The tropical “H” on the helmet is definitely a step up from the rainbow that used to be there, but what’s up with that Def Leppard bandana look on the left pant leg?

    You need an imposing look when you are the Rainbow Warriors and you live on an island, but perhaps Hawaii has pushed the envelope too far.

Boise State

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    Now don’t get excited, I’m not going to say that the Broncos' uniforms don’t belong in the BCS.

    But I am going to say that I am not a big fan of Boise State’s regular gear. While I think the all-orange get-up would be stunning if not combined with that obnoxious blue turf, I don’t fancy the regular helmet which seems to say too much.

    However, mentioning Boise State on this list has more to do with the Bronco’s Nike 2010 pro-combat uniform.

    While I could live with the weird gray jersey, and the helmet could even be a slight improvement over their regular head gear (OK, maybe not), the pants are nothing short of disturbing.

    I mean, seriously, who placed the horse head there?

Air Force

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    LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 18:  Quarterback Tim Jefferson Jr. #7 of the Air Force Falcons gets instructions from his sideline during a game against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium November 18, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Air Force won 35-20.  (Photo by Ethan
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Q: How many lightning bolts are too many on a college football uniform?

    A: Six.

    The Falcons are so juiced up, they should require a surge protector, a UL certification or maybe their stadium should be located on a protected circuit.

Akron

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    LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 18:  Patrick Nicely #7 of the Akron Zips throws the ball during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    “Fear the Roo!”

    Yes, that’s the battle cry of Akron athletics. 

    In reality, there is nothing wrong with the basic aesthetics of the Zips' football duds: nice colors, gentle striping, generally pleasing to the eye.

    But four times on the Akron uniform (twice on the jersey and twice again on the helmet) is Zippy the Kangaroo, which is the school mascot.

    Zippy is a girl...a girl kangaroo...from Ohio.

Texas Tech

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    Of all the upheaval the Red Raider football program experienced in 2010, one of the biggest issues for fans was a certain, temporary alteration to the Texas Tech uniform.

    Yes, Mike Leach was questionably dismissed, Tommy Tuberville was hired, the beloved Air Raid offense was no more and the talk of improved defense resulted ultimately in one of the worst defensive showings in all of college football.

    Any of these issues could have (and did in some cases) brought the Red Raider nation to its knees. But the subject that really got Tech fans hot, vocal and steaming mad was seeing the team take the field in all white uniforms.

    The all whites are substantially less intimidating when your team is playing like crap.

    Additionally, quoting the school fight song: “Fight for the Scarlett and the Black!”  Yes, not: “Fight for the White and the White.”

Wake Forest

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    PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Chris Givens #2 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in action against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    There is nothing wrong with the color package that is the Wake Forest football uniform. What needs to be revamped is the helmet logo.

    The big, bold “WF” has got to go, especially when you have a cool mascot like the Demon Deacon...indeed, that old dude with the top hat.

    It’s unfortunate in the age of instant messaging and texting that “WF” is so closely tied with “WTF”—it’s almost like having “LOL” on the side of your football helmet.

Rhode Island

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    There are several color variations of Ram helmets in college football. Most notable are the St. Louis (once Los Angeles) Rams of the NFL, and then there are the Colorado State Rams and the Angelo State Rams from San Angelo, Texas of college ball.

    All of these adaptations of the Ram helmet include a gold or yellow hue blended into a deep blue or green.

    And then we have the Rhode Island Rams, hailing from the Colonial Athletic Association, which have swirled a white horn into a background officially described as Keaney Blue.

    It’s the Smurf version of the Rams and it’s not as pleasing to the eye as one might have hoped.

Syracuse

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    I, for one, like Syracuse’s normal football uniforms and I like the color orange.  That said, Syracuse’s all-orange variation is too much even for an orange lover to love.

    The idea is made worse by only using blue striping to set off the orange-fest—seriously, a white stripe here or there might help.

    I wonder if any of the Orange players on the sidelines got mistaken for the down-and-distance markers when they were wearing these tawdry concoctions?

Houston

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback Cotton Turner #12 of the Houston Cougars throws a pass against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on September 18, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 31-13.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Cougars have basically been wearing the same uniforms for several decades.  Yes, the lines have been updated and stencil font for the “UH” was finally modernized, but other than that it’s a classic.

    When you have a program like Penn State, Michigan or Nebraska, classic is good and it works because it’s iconic.

    Houston has had a good football program for years, but they aren’t legendary.  The Cougar is an above-average mascot and could be utilized to spice up the “abino white and scarlet” color scheme.

    The Cougars compete for fans in a big market setting which is a difficult spot for a C-USA team to be in.  I’m not advocating they look to the awful Houston Rockets' pinstripe or Astros' rainbow uniforms for inspiration; don’t get crazy, just delicately update.

Wyoming

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    Brown and gold.

    Wow.

    Not a good color combination and not enhanced by the horse-bucking-a-cowboy silhouette on the helmet.

    Time for a rebranding in Cowboy country?

    As a side note, this is probably the worst photo ever taken displaying a team’s football uniform combinations. Seriously who works in marketing out West?

Oregon

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs down field against the Auburn Tigers during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christia
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Well, you knew the Ducks would be prominent on this list as their uniforms stir more interest and comment than any other in college football.

    Folks like to discuss the endless variety of possible combinations, the colors, the blending of graphic designs and weird hues, etc., but my personal issue hones in on the feathers.

    Yes, what’s up with the feathers on the shoulders?  I know they’re duck feathers, but somehow I just can’t get past the feeling of exotic dancing or even scantily-clothed Romans.

    Now, if you’re in to that sort of thing then maybe it doesn’t offend your sensibilities—but this is major college football which should remain, for all practical purposes, feather-less.

Missouri

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    The Tigers are yet another program that sports a classic, timeless regular uniform.  It’s hard to gripe about the big gold “M” and respectable colors of black and MU gold.

    But Missouri is another squad that was duped by Nike’s pro-combat scheme; I mean, those uniforms were cool, I guess, but it’s been taken one step too far when you can’t even tell who’s playing anymore.

    It reminds me of when the Green Bay Packers wore their Acme Packer uniforms last year...who the hell thinks it’s the Packers when they are wearing brown helmets and blue jerseys with a gold circle on the chest?  Even the hapless 49ers looked confused when they visited Green Bay (or Acme) last December.

    As far as the Tigers' pro-combat uniform is concerned, I even liked the flat black (non-shiny) helmet which was almost as cool as the Virginia Tech variation (minus the entire rest of the uniform which quite sucked) but what was disturbing was you couldn’t even make out the “M” on the head gear.

    It all blended together to look like the Tigers were representing an unknown, generic university.

Louisiana Tech

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach Derek Dooley of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs talks with his team during a time out in the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The Tigers defeated the Bulld
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    I really like the color scheme and the jersey and pants of the Bulldogs' costume; classic, celebratory and quite patriotic.

    What’s got to go is that helmet logo; it’s old school, but not in a good way.

    Trying find a way to shove the entire state of Louisiana and a “T” (or a “La Tech”) on the side of helmet isn’t easy to do without it looking awkward.

    Why not incorporate that fetching mascot, Champ the Bulldog, on the protective headgear?

Florida A&M

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    As far as noxious color combinations go, the Florida A&M Rattlers have the worst uniforms in college football.

    Hailing from the MEAC, the Rattlers’ green-and-orange get-ups are about as visually offensive as possible.

    So then, why do I just want to stare at them?

TCU

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    The Horned Frogs are among the teams that make purple a great football color.

    The NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, the ECU Pirates, the Northwestern Wildcats and the LSU Tigers all make purple seem fierce.

    However, whoever at Nike designed TCU’s pro-combat extravaganza must have started drinking before they finished the job.

    The jersey and pants are OK...but who threw that helmet into the mix?

    Is it white, gray, silver or what?  Regardless, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the picture.

    It’s almost like the guy who designed the bottom half keeled over just before the deadline. Then, without even looking at the jersey and pants, somebody in accounts payable ran in and just stuck a helmet from the supply closet on top and sent it to production.

    “Wait Bernard!  Don’t forget to stick the TCU logo on there before we get it to the plant!”

San Jose State

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    Though the current uniform, notably the shade of blue, is difficult to digest, for sheer terror value you should check out the 2001 version of the San Jose State Spartan’s kit.

    Is that gold-foil lettering and numbering on the jersey?

    Yeah, that’s definitely a better blue but why am I thinking girls soccer?

Notre Dame

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    Now we can’t be credible (like this list has any remote chance of being credible) and argue that Notre Dame’s traditional gold-and-navy blue uniforms aren’t anything other than stellar.

    But who is not tired of hearing of the fabled" green uniforms for “special” occasions?

    I guess it might be less sickening if we didn’t have to hear NBC cheesily, in Jim Nantz’s emotional style, bang on about whether or not the Irish will make a surprise uniform change before the game.

    And then it’s right into “Rockne, Devine, Faust, Holtz, Leahy...”

    Yeah, it’s all really cool, but aren’t they like 1-5 the last six times they wore green?

    “Oh no, for the love of all that’s sacred and merciful, don’t put on the green shirts Mr. Kelly. We’ll lose for sure then...” 

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