The College Football Fashion Show

By Michael Citro on July 1, 2013 at 11:30 am
The least offensive OSU alternate uniforms in recent years - 2012.

In the last decade, college football uniforms have blown up.

The Oregon Ducks have turned eyesore uniforms into an art form, of course — somehow striking a chord with many high school football players. Maryland and Oklahoma State have followed suit with many different color combinations and styles.

While Oregon and Oklahoma State have seen their on-field fortunes improve over the past several seasons, the Terrapins have yet to see positive results. I’m not suggesting the Ducks and Cowboys have had increased success because of their uniforms, but for some reason the kids aren’t repulsed by some of these aesthetically offensive designs the way they should be.

Boise State is among the wave of schools that have created alternate uniforms that they break out periodically.

Many other schools have used one-off uniforms that change out every year. You have no doubt noticed this with the Pro Combat designs the Buckeyes have worn once a year. Michigan adopted a bumblebee look. Even Indiana has gotten into the act. It's crazy.

One thing most of these new uniforms have in common is that they are hideous. You may recall the Nebraska-Wisconsin abominations.

All of this uniform madness flies in the face of one of the best aspects of college football — tradition.

I’ve always loved the tradition and pageantry of college football. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely stuck in the past. For example, I’m in favor of teams like Penn State and Notre Dame putting player names on the backs of the jerseys. Call me crazy, but I like to watch televised games without team rosters in hand.

I’m interested in knowing whether the alternate uniform trend is a passing fad or if this is a permanent part of our beloved game.

Scarlet helmets eliminate the use of the term "silver bullets."The 2010 Pro Combat unis. No thanks.

Ohio State’s uniforms have been transformed slowly over the years, but the majority of the changes are subtle — a black shoulder number here, a tweak to the shoulder stripes there, etc. The Buckeyes’ look is, in my opinion, a part of their identity. I love their uniforms and don’t believe any major change benefits the team in any way. But I also recognize that might just be the old fart inside me talking and maybe modern day recruits want new and “interesting” uniforms to wear week in and week out.

Is that what our sport has become? Excessive accessorizing?

How do you feel about an Ohio State team with tens of color and style combinations that change weekly like Oregon or Maryland?

I find the idea highly unpalatable. I love the scarlet jerseys and the metallic gray helmets just as they are. Last year’s Michigan game Pro Combat unis were the least offensive ones in recent years, mainly because they didn’t deviate much from the regular weekly uniform. But some of those in recent years have just looked weird. It’s like I’m watching a different team.

If I had to rank the recent Pro Combat looks, I’d go with 2012 first, followed by 2011 and 2010. That either means they’re getting better or I’m getting more used to them, I’m not sure which. I couldn't get used to those scarlet helmets in 2010 at all.

How do you rank them? Should Ohio State keep tinkering with their traditional uniforms? Do these new looks excite you? What about recruits — do they care about tradition or are they looking for fresh new duds every week?

If any of the old styles are brought back, I'd favor the giant numbers (torso and shoulder) of the Eddie George era. Those must have been a broadcaster's dream.I know many of you have strong feelings about shoulder stripes and what colors they should be. The gray ones from the linked photo of Orlando Pace are pretty cool, I must admit.

Like most everything in life, money seems to be the driving force behind these ever-changing uniforms. You can keep your fancy clothes. I'll stick with the modern uniforms that have changed very little since 1968.

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