What’s Maryland Wearing This Week? Week 5

Maryland will go with a pretty simple look of black-on-red-on black against Towson on Saturday.

I apologize for the delay in getting this post up, but with the madness in baseball Wednesday night, there was no time.

Coach Randy Edsall announced last night that this, to the left, would be Maryland’s uniform choice this week.

The yellow jerseys against Temple clearly did not help, so the slight change to red was inevitable.

The choice on red goes back to what Maryland used to wear before they decided to become the Oregon of the Northeast. That is a nice thing to see. Also, the small black stripe on the side is not as noticeable as the red one was on the yellow uniforms, and that is a good thing.

The black helmets and black pants have become a staple over the past three weeks. It’s hard to imagine that will stay consistent for the rest of the season.

Overall, it’s a fine look. Nothing too special to it, keeps in simple in what should be an easy victory for the Terps. Of course, I said that last week, and look at what happened.

Gray Power?

Here we have it, the first post from a contributor. This one comes from a good friend of mine, Alex, who can give a better perspective on the Oklahoma State uniform situation. He attended the school for two years for grad school. Here is his deeper view on the Cowboys’ recent uniform changes.

Oklahoma State receiver Michael Harrison helped the Cowboys begin their gray trend this season in the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. Photo by Associated Press

Before the 2006 NCAA football season, the University of Oregon unveiled its 384 different uniform combinations that would forever change college football.  Call it jealousy, or just an overwhelming desire to be the same as their peers (a character flaw that is prevalent in our society), but since then, other college football teams have decided the simple distinction of “home” and “road” uniforms were obsolete.  This has led to a rash of teams trying to outdo (see Arizona State) or out-weird (see Maryland) other teams.

That brings us to my alma mater, Oklahoma State, who, backed by seemingly unlimited funds from oil-tycoon-turned-wind-power-guru T. Boone Pickens, unveiled a uniform combination that, while not as egregious as Oregon’s, is still nonetheless perplexing.  Using the Oklahoma State Combo Creator, fans can choose between four sets of pants (gray, black, orange and white), four different jerseys (gray, black, orange and white), and three different helmet colors (black, orange and gray).  While some regard this as a way to put OSU on the map (as if an AP #5 ranking doesn’t do the trick), lost in the cornucopia of uni-combos is the idea that Oklahoma State (and arguably along with other teams), have lost their identity.

You don’t have to attend grad school in Stillwater to know that the town simply loves orange.  The color is as common as dandelions in the spring. At any and all OSU event, the cheer that is most common is simple: one side of the stadium yells “Orange!” while the other side attempts to outdo them by yelling back “Power!”.  Students are not encouraged but expected to wear orange to games, and wearing any other color, no matter what the weather, makes one stand out (and not in a good way).  So, what is curious to me (and to perhaps many other OSU fans) is why Oklahoma State’s uniforms, with all their national attention, a Top 5 ranking, and an offense that can seemingly score points even while sleep, has yet to feature orange in 2011.

Two seasons ago, Oklahoma State football debuted an all-black look for their Thursday night ESPN showdown with then-conference rival Colorado.  The black jerseys and pants, coupled with white helmets with the black “OSU” were met with mixed results in Stillwater, but looked neat nonetheless under the lights in front of a prime time audience.  But OSU followed the tradition of orange over white at home, and white over orange on the road that season, with the exception of their all orange look for Homecoming (which is, as advertised, the best Homecoming celebration in the country).  In 2010, OSU again donned the all-black getup for their yearly Thursday night game, this time against Texas A&M in a 38-35 thriller.  Despite their 2-0 record in the black, OSU stuck with its regular road home combination.  That is, until their game at Kansas, when they wore their road whites with black pants for the first time since 1994.

Justin Blackmon and Oklahoma State kept up their tradition of black on a Thursday night earlier this season against Arizona. It was slightly different from past years because of the orange numbering and lettering on the helmet. Photo by Getty Images

And thus, it started.  The idea that the orange and white simply was not good enough and that black and gray needed to take a more prominent role, giving birth to the highly questionable uniforms they sport in 2011.  Let’s review:  their opening game against UL-Layfette saw the debut of gray jerseys with white and pants and helmets.  Game two, on ESPN’s Thursday Night prime time slot, featured the return of the all black and the white helmets.  Their third game against Tulsa, played in the early hours of the morning thanks to Oklahoma’s signature tornado warnings (I actually survived a few when I was out there) saw the Fighting Gundys in white helmets and jerseys matched with black pants.  The gray helmets and pants, matched with white jerseys, made their debut in College Station last Saturday against A&M.

So, where’s the orange?  Sure it’s in the numbers and trims, but that still doesn’t mean it’s featured.  Even in what the Oklahoma press called Mike Gundy’s signature win, OSU’s signature color, orange, was hardly visible.

Sure, new jerseys are great, and they certainly create a buzz for a program, but at what cost?  A team’s mainstay is their uniforms, which in turn, helps to create their identity for fans, alums and a national audience.  Besides, a team doesn’t need all kinds crazy uniform combinations  to garner national attention.  Just look at these two teams.

The Details in Dallas

Jason Witten must notice some of these uniform intricacies while he is working against defensive backs like LaRon Landry. Photo by Getty Images

How ’bout them Cowboys uniforms?

Well, there are two distinguishing features America’s Team possesses, and they are both only noticeable to the truly obsessive. Besides the fact the Cowboys are one of the only acceptable teams to wear white at home (because they always have), their pants and helmets provide a bit of uniform intrigue.

Let’s start with the pants. Have you ever noticed the silver color of the pants with the white uniforms seems a bit different than their helmet. Well, that’s because they are.

The home pants have a blue-ish/green tint to them, which is a bit of a change from the silver pants they go with on the rare occasion the blue jerseys must be worn.

It’s a bit of a difference but it is something interesting that should be noted by the obsessive uniform observer.

Dallas also has a throwback uniform they usually go to on Thanksgiving that has no silver in it at all, but white instead. It is a departure from the usual white at home look for the Cowboys, and uses white in the helmet and pants.

The second minor detail in the Cowboys uniform is the little blue label at the back of the helmet. It lies between the two thin dark blue stripes and the thick white one.

Besides looking pretty neat, there’s actually a function to this stripe. If you look really closely, you can see the blue stripes have the players’ name written in white lettering on it. It’s nearly impossible to notice when watching on TV, but quite satisfying when it actually is noticed after further inspection.

That’s all for today, with the baseball playoffs starting up later this week, hopefully I’ll have time for a bit of a look at the playoff team’s uniforms during the Division Series. Also, expect a guest appearance from a friend soon on this blog.

Week 3 NFL Review: An Alternate Throwback

Brian Urlacher may seem happy here, but he couldn't have been thrilled with what he was wearing. Photo by Getty Images

As per usual, there was not too much noise made in the NFL this week in the world of uniforms, so I will keep this relatively short.

The Bears went with a look they have gone to in the recent past, but one I was hoping they had abandoned last season.

On two occasions, da Bears went with a throwback last season. I liked the way the orange numbering blended into the dark blue jersey. I also enjoyed the gray facemask which usually indicates a throwback uniform.

The blank helmet was the most distinguishing feature of the uniform that made it a throwback. The look worked considering the history of the Bears.

Now, Sunday’s uniform choice did not have those same nice features. The most 0ffensive aspect of this uniform is obviously the orange. It’s somewhat blinding and does not make you want to watch the game anymore. When it was matched against the yellow in the Packers jersey, it made what was a pretty good game not enjoyable.

I also think it takes away from a great rivalry game. If the Bears had gone with their usual home uniforms, the game would have a better feel to it. It was tough to take the game all that serious with the Bears in these stupid uniforms.

Now, apparently, these uniforms are a sort of throwback as the Bears used to wear orange home uniforms in the 30s. Those uniforms had navy numbers though, which makes me think these monstrosities (of the Midway) are simply alternates.

Anyway, that’s my rant on that. Here’s your weekly quick hits:

Pierre Thomas and the rest of the Saints looked great Sunday in these throwbacks. Photo by Getty Images

  • The Saints went with a throwback Sunday in their victory over the Texans. It’s a pretty good look, especially the stripes on the side of the sleeves. The Fluer de Lis is slightly bigger than the current helmet is and the pants are a different shade of gold but it’s nice. While it may remind fans of a time when the Saints were constant losers, it’s nice to see this look make a comeback.
  • The Vikings also went with throwbacks. That have similar characteristics withthe Saints. The stripes on the sleeves are very nice as well as the stripe on the white pants. The color of the helmet is also a bit of a darker purple which works well, and the Vikings logo is slightly different than the current one. The Vikings also had a different look during the 90s.
  • Bad job by the Chargers going with white uniforms at home. I mean, they have the best uniforms in all of sports, use them, please.
  • Lastly, a tip of the cap to the Rams, who must have read this blog last week because they went back to their gold pants for Sunday’s loss to the Ravens.
That’s all for this week, if there’s anything I missed or you want to add your comments, please feel free.

Week 4 College Football Review: Cowboy Down

Oklahoma State cornerback Brodrick Brown helped the Cowboys rally in the second half on Saturday with this interception, but they sure looked bad doing it. Photo by Getty Images.

Stillwater, Okla., is a different sort of place for someone who has spent the vast majority of his life in the Northeast.

In two trips there, I have learned a few things, and here they are.

The state of Oklahoma is very flat; apparently using forks to eat barbecue and cake is the sign of a wuss; in life, I should “play the game,”; getting a first down is nearly as exciting as a touchdown; and chief among them … Orange Power.

The chant of “Orange Power” reverberates through the stands of Boone Pickens Stadium on most Saturdays in the fall. There are even shirts in the various gift shops, displaying this very phrase, and it all comes from the orange jerseys their beloved Cowboys wear for home games.

However, this season, it seems like Oklahoma State has abandoned that very concept with their uniforms.

The Cowboys did make a roaring comeback to defeat Texas A&M on the road in the game of the day yesterday. OK State could now be on their way to its first Big 12 title, but that doesn’t really matter here, let’s examine their uniforms.

Before the season started, Oklahoma State announced they would be introducing a new line of uniforms, complete with this uni-builder. While some of the combinations have their merit (mostly because they include orange), the gray-white-gray combination they went with Saturday was terrible.

Oklahoma State has seemed to totally abandon orange in their uniform scheme. Granted there was orange in the lettering of the helmet and in the numbers, but it’s not enough. The standard Oklahoma State uniform should have orange shirts for home games and orange pants for away games.

This season, the Cowboys have yet to wear orange of any sort in their first four games. The first game saw a gray jersey for a home game, the second, a black jersey for a Thursday night home game, the third, black pants for an away game and then yesterday’s monstrosity.

The results thus far have been more than productive, but I have to wonder what the chants of “Orange Power” sound like at Boone Pickens Stadium when the team has clearly abandoned this concept.

A few other teams made a splash in the uniform world on Saturday and here are your weekly quick hits:

Virginia Tech running back David Wilson looked like a member of the Cleveland Browns against Marshall on Saturday. Photo by Associated Press

  • Virginia Tech resembled the Cleveland Browns in their victory over Marshall. The Hokies went with this same look in the Orange Bowl last season. It’s a little jarring, but overall the look works.
  • Arizona State continued to change every week, but this week’s ensemble was more of a return to their usual color scheme. It certainly worked as they dominated USC for a huge Pac-12 victory.
  • Oregon went back to what could be considered their standard road uniforms of white shirt and green pants with a green helmet. The Ducks must have read this blog where I begged them to go back to a green helmet at some point, much appreciated.
  • West Virginia’s all-yellow look was fine, and it seems like the Mountaineers might be going with the yellow shirts as a permanent look since that is all they have worn at home so far this season. Just no yellow helmets please.
  • Staying in the Big East, I like what South Florida is doing this season. Saturday’s look was no exception. It was a good idea to go with black on gold pants and the gold helmet. Definitely looks better than the white helmet.
  • I sure was wrong about that Maryland game. Those yellow jerseys should be thrown away after the debacle against Temple. Bernard Pierce ran all over them.
  • Lastly, I’m going to miss these all-blue Boise State jerseys. Once they get into Mountain West conference play, they will not be able to wear these against the blue turf in Boise.

Ohio is So Excited

With Rutgers taking on Ohio in Piscataway, NJ today, we won’t get to see these jerseys in action, but it sure seems like the Bobcats are more than eager to don these things.

The uniforms are pretty good overall. The black with the green numbers and such works well, it is not too jarring. I also like how Ohio stuck with their usual white helmets instead of trying some sort of matte finish that teams like Oregon have gone with when wearing black jerseys. You don’t always need to look like Darth Vader when playing football.

What’s Maryland wearing this week? Week 4

Maryland will go with a black-on-yellow-on black look Saturday against Temple.

As he does on most Wednesday nights, Maryland football coach Randy Edsall answered the biggest question in college football. What uniform combination will his Terps go with this week? Edsall answer it on his Twitter page.

I like this uniforms choice. It’s a bit of a change of pace from last week’s all-black choice, but it works for me. The matching helmet and pants are good, and while the yellow might be a bit bright and useable for an away game as well, it’s a fine look overall.

The only thing I don’t like is the red stripe on the yellow shirt. It looks out of place. I’m not sure what function it serves. I also can’t tell exactly what the stripe on the pants is, I’ll reserve that judgement when I see them on the playing field.

The way Temple looked on the field last week against Penn State, the Terps should outperform them just by walking on to the field.

End Zone Designs: Painting on the Field

The Super Bowl always does a good job of matching the importance of the game with good end zone designs.

Every player on the football field wants to reach the end zone. Those special ten yards on each side of the field create the most excitement of any game, and therefore, it should be no coincidence they look better than the rest of the field.

While there might be a few exceptions (Boise State and Eastern Washington), football fields stick to green to cover the 100 yards of the playing field, probably because that is the color of natural grass.

As it is with uniforms, it seems like college football has more freedom with end zone design than the NFL.  Two designs in particular that stand out to me are Tennessee and Maryland. The Vols have stuck with the same orange-and-white checkered pattern for many years now.

The pattern works very well for me. It goes away from the usual lettering that goes in an end zone. Everyone knows Tennessee is the home team, so it is a good move by the Volunteers to go outside the box with this.

The other cool feature of this end zone is the pattern does not cover all 10 yards of the space. The yard or so of green showing on all sides of the pattern adds a bit of classiness to the design.

Maryland takes its cues from Tennessee when it comes to their end zone. In similar fashion to their pride uniforms that got everyone’s attention, Maryland’s end zone pays homage to their state flag.

Bowl games are some of my favorite fields because each zone is totally different from the other. Some games like the famed Beef O’Brady’s Bowl decide to keepboring end zones telling everyone what city they are in, which is clearly necessary for those who have made the trip to support their school.

A few other collegiate end zones that stick out are Penn State, who uses a yellow goal line, which is nice. Notre Dame sticks with the stripes in the end zone, keeping with tradition. I’ll throw in Syracuse here too since I have a weakness for blue and orange and the Orange have gone with that since switching over to FieldTurf in the Carrier Dome.

When it comes to the NFL, there is not as much variety form year-to-year, but I will focus on the local teams here.

Since moving to MetLife Stadium (or New Meadowlands Stadium as it used to be known), the Jets and Giants have greatly improved their end zone designs. The move to natural grass for the 2000 season turned out to be a disaster in terms of keeping the grass lush and end zone design.

In the first year, both teams decided to paint the end zones at Giants Stadium, making for a good look, especially for the 2000 NFC Championship victory for the Giants. However, as time went on and even as Giants Stadium went to FieldTurf, the end zones got much more boring. Without any paint in the end zones, it looked like a preseason game for the entire season.

For the last few seasons at the old stadium, the Giants did paint the lettering in the end zones, but it still left much to be desired because of what the field used to look like with AstroTurf.

Now, with MetLife Stadium, the end zone have gone back to their exciting past, and I think we can all say we are glad to see it. They have even added a logo and conference logo at the ends which makes for a nice touch.

That’s all for today’s display of obsessiveness. We’ll take a bit of a break until this weekend’s football action, unless something exciting happens in the uniform world.

Nice Pants

The Giants' Domenik Hixon made a nifty catch against the Rams Monday night. Photo by The Star-Ledger

I know I promised a bit of history on the Rams and Giants uniforms, but it turns out I don’t have the time to get all that done before work today, it will come some time this week though.

The Rams and Giants played a truly ugly game Monday night at the Meadowlands that saw the Giants come out on top, 28-16. As a good friend of mine who was there said, it was the most underwhelming victory in recent memory. Now I know how Penn State fans felt after that Temple win on Saturday.

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about the actual games that would be silly, let’s talk uniforms!!

I was glad to see the Giants went back to their usual home pants after going with their away pants for preseason home games this season. The panic that had swept through the Meadowlands for much of the preseason had nothing to do with injuries, but the concern that the home pants had gone away forever. Another friend informed me these away pants featuring thinner stripes were for cost-saving reasons, let’s hope so.

While I was pleasantly surprised by the Giants choice in pants, the Rams continued to disappoint in that department. The white-on-white look St. Louis displayed last night was as bad as their red zone offense.

Some of the Rams’ best days in recent memories (after they abandoned the uniforms they won a Super Bowl with) came with gold pants no matter if they were home or away.  Since then, the people in St. Louis have gone a little nuts by wearing blue and white pants with both the home and away uniforms.

It is absolute madness and I have no idea who thought this would be a good idea. The Rams have seen little success with these uniforms, and if they want some good karma going back in their direction they should go back to the gold pants. St. Louis has not totally abandoned this look, last season was a brief return to the gold pants at home, but that was quickly gone for white and blue pants with the uniforms.

There was even a time when the Rams went with white at home with blue pants, I was shocked and appalled. Hopefully, they can come to their senses soon in St. Louis and realize their up and coming team should look good while winning the atrocious NFC West.

NFL Week 2 Review: Remember the (New York) Titans

Quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets rolled in over the Jaguars yesterday in these stellar throwback New York Titans uniforms. Photo by The Star-Ledger

This week in the NFL did not have too much action in the way of bold fashion statements. The NFL has restrictions on uniforms, keeping teams to only two games in their alternate uniforms per season. This makes sure there are no teams like Maryland or Oregon in the league where they play ……. for pay (thanks, Mike Francesa).

The one team that did make people notice them for more than just their stellar play on the field in a dominant performance over the putrid Jacksonville Jaguars was the New York Jets. As they have done in the past, the Jets went with these New York Titans throwback uniforms.

Overall, these uniforms are pretty solid considering they are throwbacks. I would not like them as permanent uniforms for any team.

I am always a fan of stripes along the shoulders, which adds some solid detail to this otherwise simple uniform. The same could be said for the white and blue stripes along the side of the gold/yellow pants (I really can’t decide what color they are).

The best feature here is the decidedly gold numbers. They are simple and effective. The absence of any kind of outline on the number helps it almost fade into the blue of the shirt and makes it clear these are throwbacks.

Looking at the helmet also makes it clear the Jets have become the Titans for this particular game. Again, the stripe is definitely gold which helps with the helmet. Also, the lack of any writing on the sides of the helmets gives a clear indication it is a throwback.

While the uniforms were stellar, the look of the field at MetLife Stadium and the surroundings all pointed to this being a Jets home game. While I understand the New York Jets were actually the ones facing the Jaguars, I wish the people at the Meadowlands would have changed the end zone from the usual green coloring with white letters to a blue coloring with gold letters saying “Titans”. It would have completed the day and made everything about the uniforms work.

The Chargers make some changes to their end zone when they go with the powder blues and it completes the entire look of the game. The difference here is the Chargers play on natural grass while the Jets are on FieldTurf, which I imagine might cause some problems for a brand new end zone for just one game, but it would help immensely.

Bills running back Fred Jackson had a strong game and looked good while doing it in Buffalo's new home uniforms. Photo by Getty Images

That’s all for the New York Titans, a few other teams made some uniform news so here are a few quick hits:

  • The Tennessee Titans went with white uniforms at home in their victory over the Ravens, one of my major pet peeves if you’re not the Dallas Cowboys or Miami Dolphins.
  • The Saints and Panthers also went with white at home. I understand the move for the Panthers because it can be hot in North Carolina this time of year, but I still prefer the usual black uniforms or their alternate light blues. However, the Saints choice just bothers me. They play in a climate-controlled dome, why do you have to wear white at home?
  • The Bills debuted their new home uniforms in a thrilling victory over the Raiders that saw them score a touchdown on every possession in the second half. I really like these uniforms for the most part, the only thing I could do without is how the stripe on the helmet gets wider at the back. Why is it like that? It ruins a nearly perfect uniform.

All right, enough for today. Here’s a little preview of what is coming for the rest of the week, including what I hope to be a usual Tuesday staple of reviewing the uniform history of the teams featured on Monday Night Football:

Tuesday: A look at the Rams and Giants uniform transformations

Wednesday: End Zones, the chance for freedom in field design

Thursday: What’s Maryland wearing this week?

Friday or Saturday: What uniforms have to do with the Red Sox collapse