Rutgers looking more like Knights

Rutgers football will have a brand new look this upcoming season. It is a move toward looking like the Scarlet Knights they are named after. Photo by The Star-Ledger

Over the past few seasons, Rutgers football started to cause a stir in the uniform world with some black alternate jerseys, but Tuesday, the Scarlet Knights took it to another level.

Rutgers showed off their new threads in a televised uniform reveal in the SNY studios in New York City, and they’re significantly different than anything they’ve worn before.

Director of Athletics Tim Pernetti explained the uniforms as a move to look more like knights. Without that explanation, you might think it looks like Rutgers is ready to jump in a spaceship and head to the moon.

The silver helmets might give the opponents a hard time during day games because of the intense reflection of the sun. They’re supposed to look like the helmets of knights, and with that explanation, the helmets are not as offensive as first thought.

The primary problem I have with the helmets is the thick stripes that go over the top of the helmet. They’re unnecessarily huge and have become the trademark of these new Nike college football uniforms.

The uniforms themselves aren’t  too bad. I like the all-white for road uniforms and all-red for the home garb. The numbers bother me a little bit just because silver numbers can become distracting while watching games.

It should be interesting to watch these uniforms in action this fall.

Here’s a full photo gallery of the uniforms courtesy of The Star-Ledger.

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Bowl review: Helmets like solar panels

LaMichael James and the rest of the Oregon Ducks probably gave Wisconsin fits with their extremely reflective helmets for the Rose Bowl. Photo by Getty Images

Now that we’ve had a week to reflect on the college football season after a dominant performance by the Alabama defense, we’ll take one last look at the uniforms for these special games.

It comes as no shock that I’ll lead off with Oregon and its very shiny helmets for the Rose Bowl. It’s a wonder Wisconsin did not complain it couldn’t see as the Ducks ran out in the Pasadena sun light wearing what more closely resembled solar paneling than a football helmet.

Overall, I thought the look was neat and innovative for even Oregon. The use of “liquid metal” for the helmets and facemasks was cool to see. It added another dimension to the beauty of the setting for the Rose Bowl.

It was also very cool to see the reflection of the field and the mountains surrounding the Rose Bowl whenever ESPN gave the audience a close-up view of the helmet.

Oregon’s helmets worked for the most part, but the one drawback was the helmet had virtually nothing to do with the uniform. I understand it would require a completely silver uniform for the Ducks that might have blinded the 100,000 in attendance, but it’s justa  pet peeve I’m airing here.

Wisconsin also brought a subtlety to the game with the helmets. If you look really close, you can see the pattern of a rose in the W of the Badgers’ helmets. It’s stuff like that, that makes the Rose Bowl great.

The game presented a contrast of style in both style of play and general style. It was neat.

There was plenty of other fashion statements made over the bowl season, and here are a few highlights in our final installment of quick hits for this season:

Virginia looked pretty gross when they took on Auburn in the Chick-fil-a Bowl and it showed in its performance on the field. Photo by Getty Images

  • Virginia went with a frighteningly bad look in a blowout loss to Auburn in the Chick-fil-a Bowl. I have no idea what the Cavaliers were going for. Maybe they thought since the game was being played on New Year’s Eve night, everybody would be too drunk to notice. Luckily for this blog, I work on Saturday nights so I noticed.
  • Oklahoma State went all-black in their Fiesta Bowl victory over Stanford. I still wish they would go with orange and white one time. This look made it seem like it was Halloween, not New Year’s.
  • Baylor more closely resembled the old New York Jets than the Baylor Bears in the Alamo Bowl, but I guess it helped them score a lot of points so that’s great.
  • Notre Dame wore names on the back of their jerseys for the Champs Sports Bowl so there’s that.

Look at Oregon’s helmets

The Ducks are going to make another uniform splash on Monday when they take on Wisconsin during the Rose Bowl. Check out this video of the helmets.

 

Army-Navy review

Kriss Proctor was the primary runner for Navy, and he was the quarterback. Most of the ground action looked pretty neat in Nike Pro Combat uniforms. Photo by Getty Images

Let me first say I love the Army-Navy game, absolutely love it. Call me old-fashioned, but to me, there’s something special about all the cadets and midshipmen entering the stadium in formation and the president switching sides of the field at halftime.

The game is simple, it’s what college football used to be, and to me, that is very cool. The triple option is the only play run and while both teams are not playing for a BCS game, their fans (and the players) are truly emotionally invested in the outcome.

Now, this season the game was given a little extra boost when the teams ran out of the tunnel. The uniforms were different than the usual.

The best part of these uniforms came in the details. And we’ll start with Navy, who made the biggest splash.

The Midshipmen usually have a simple look of blue with gold pants and a simple gold helmet. They have changed up the look in recent years for the Army game, but nothing like the drastic change they made to the helmet this year.

Navy came out with a white helmet featuring the Navy logo in gold. There was also a thick stripe down the center of the helmet, giving it that signature Pro Combat look.

It was a little stunning to see Navy come out looking slightly different than usual, but it was definitely something I got used to as the game progressed. The logo was neat to see prominently displayed, and the tapper at the back of the stripe was kind of neat too.

Perhaps the best feature to this uniform was the one that went unseen by those watching on television. Under the uniforms was a stars-and-stripes shirt with the words, “Don’t Tread on Me” written across the chest. Army also had a similar shirt, but it was far more simple.

Army quarterback Trent Steelman looked cool with this awesome font in Saturday's Army-Nay game. Photo by Associated Press

Now on to Army’s uniforms. I always liked Army’s uniforms in general. They are simple and the black with gold always is a nice combination. The Black Knights have gone to a camouflage for a recent Army-Navy game, and frankly, that just seemed a little strange for a football game.

For Saturday’s game, I really like the font for the numbers on Army’s uniforms. The thick black stripe on the matte-finish gold helmet was cool to see.

The best part of the uniform was the shoes. Army was sporting these gold shoes that went very well with the gold pants they had. Here’s a closer look at everything the Black Knights chose yesterday.

The Army-Navy game always has just the right pageantry for a college football game, and in this case, the uniforms struck just the right chord to match the game.

Championship Week College football review: Numbers game

Southern Miss's Khyri Thomton has three ways of displaying his number as he hit Case Keenum on Saturday. Photo by Associated Press

Although the college football schedule was cut down significantly on Saturday, there was no absence of uniform intrigue. Mostly coming from two teams displaying a subtle, but effective, uniform quirk.

One came from a team that has been using it all season, but finally came to light on Saturday when Southern Miss stunned Houston in the Conference USA Championship Game.

Astute observers would notice that one of side of the matte-finish helmet the Eagles were sporting was the typical Souther Miss logo, but on the other side was the player’s uniform number.

It was pretty cool to see when I first noticed it while watching the game. It’s unusual to see the number on just one side of the helmet while the logo goes on the other, but another team went with the same combination Saturday as well.

Boise State who has changed up their helmet many times this season, went with their nifty Pro Combat helmets, but added a twist as the numbers were featured on one side of the helmet. This one was pretty surprising to see since it is a truly new addition to the helmet.

I have always liked when teams decide to put the numbers on their helmets. It’s not because I need another way to identify the players on the field, but it is a bit of a throwback to the retro helmets when more teams featured numbers.

This season, Michigan has decided to make numbers on the helmets a permanent feature and it has looked great all season. Obviously, Alabama has featured the numbers on the helmets for as long as I can remember.

For two seasons (2005 and 2006) Syracuse experimented with numbers on their helmets before going to a block S on the helmet. It was my favorite feature of my alma mater’s football uniform and I was very sad to see it go.

We only have one quick hit this week, as Oklahoma State continued to change up their uniforms and may have found the perfect combination (for them at least) as their black helmets on orange uniforms with black pants resulted in the program’s biggest victory.

Helmets like White Elephants

Here we have another entry from Alex. This one regarding the emergence of white helmets in football.

Auburn has employed the white helmet for a long time. Always looking good at home and on the road.

But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?”

– From “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway

Indeed, there was a time, particularly in pro football, when white helmets were considered a white elephant, or rather, a fashion faux pas. When the Houston Texans were born in 2002 and they introduced white helmets, many alleged “experts” bristled at such a uniform statement.  Arguably, an expansion team should have made a better impression on the league with a better helmet idea, or could have actually made the playoffs once in their first nine seasons.  With neither feat accomplished, perhaps the Texans were on to something with their white helmets. Today, the trend toward the white helmet, in the NFL and even more so in college, is quite prevalent.

More and more teams have gone to the white helmet because it offers that classic look. With the constant uniform changes happening in college football, many teams have either opted to keep or have opted for the white helmet. This weekend, LSU, wearing their not-as-deplorable-as-it-could-be Nike Pro Combat looks, opted for a white helmet with purple “LSU” on each side, went up against Auburn in a rare white helmet vs. white helmet matchup.

Also this weekend, Oklahoma State, in their victory over Mizzou, looked good with an all-white getup that included white helmets.  A revisit to the Oklahoma State Combo Creator reveals that OSU, in addition to their gray and black helmets, actually have two white helmets, one that features an orange “OSU” and another that features that same logo in black.  Of course, OSU has always had white helmets, but it was nice that, when they did decide, for whatever reason, to redo their football unis, they kept those two white helmets, rather than discarding for something that looks like this.

Barry Sanders sported a white helmet with Oklahoma State in the late 80s. The letters on the helmets were bigger, but the helmet has largely remained the same.

Like the Cowboys, many schools have had white helmets as far back as anyone can remember, making the white helmet not a burden to an team’s look, but rather an enhancement. Penn State and Stanford have never deviated from their white lids (although Standard will feature a black helmet on November 27th, when they Pro Combat for a primetime game against Notre Dame). Many other schools have also gone to the white helmet in recent years, with even Oregon finding room in their cornucopia of unis for a classic, white topper.

But this trend is not only limited to the college game. In addition to the Texans, the Jets, Cardinals, Dolphins, Colts, and Titans (formerly the Oilers) all sport white helmets. Additionally, both the Bills and Chargers have made the move from their old helmets to white helmets.

Clearly, the white helmet is (and has) made a comeback.  And, rather than being like white elephants, are embraced by teams looking to return to a more classic, and overall better look.

A new gold standard at Notre Dame

Notre Dame will upgrade its helmet for Saturday's showdown against rival USC.

For the second time this season, Notre Dame will make a change to their helmets for a big night game. When USC visits South Bend, Ind., for the first night game at Notre Dame Stadium since 1990, the Irish will be sporting a bit more shiny look.

After adding a shamrock to the side of the helmet in an epic loss to Michigan in Week 2, the Irish will try to look more like the famed golden dome on the Notre Dame campus with their helmets.

I am not sure if these helmets will be used for the rest of the season or if it is just for the USC game, but either way, the look is very nice. It seems like it is a permanent change, though.

It will be interesting to see how the helmet translates to television. Some of the small details might not be visible on television.

Here is a facebook gallery and a video the Notre Dame athletics department released.