Week 11 College football review: Uniform games

Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd sported the Irish's new green look as Maryland's Trenton Hughes and the rest of the Terps didn't show much Maryland Pride. Photo by Associated Press

As the college football regular season begins to wind down, most of the games do not mean all that much to the national title picture.

As much as it pains me to say it, Notre Dame has participated in many of those over the past years, and Saturday night against Maryland was an example of that irrelevance (unless you’re into placing for the Champs Sports Bowl.)

Instead, this game was about the uniforms.

We had known for about a week the Irish would be wearing a Shamrock helmet with a different background than the helmets they wore against Michigan earlier this season. We also found out last Wednesday that Maryland would be going back to their Pride uniforms they wore earlier this season to defeat their only FBS school in Miami this season.

Clearly, most of that Maryland Pride has worn off for a 2-8 team, that got absolutely no lift from these special uniforms. In my humble opinion, special uniforms like these only work once a season, if even that often. When the Terps came out on the tunnel on Labor Day in those special uniforms, the home crowd got pumped up, and it helped Maryland pick up one of its two victories this season.

However, Saturday night’s game was more of a Notre Dame home game even though it was played in Maryland. The team is down and if these uniforms are used too often, they will have little to no effect on the team.

The same goes for the Irish who wore green uniforms last night. Wearing green at Notre Dame used to be a very rare and special occasion. Usually, this coach would not say anything about the uniforms until the team came out on the tunnel for the game. It was special.

After wearing green against Army last season, and again Saturday night, it’s no longer as special.

Besides the green, the helmets were a little offensive. First of all, with the reflection of the lights at FedEx Field, the helmets looked like golf balls. The facemask was also black instead of the usual gray for the Irish. That bothered me.

The look as a whole was seemingly very futuristic, a departure from what the Irish are usually all about.

Now, let’s move to our quick hits:

It was a tough night for Boise both on the field and in the uniform department. Photo by The Idaho Statesman

  • Boise State had some blinding orange alternates in an upset loss to TCU. The Broncos went with these all-orange uniforms before, but this time, they went with a white helmet to compliment it. They looked very strange, and obviously it didn’t help them in the loss.
  • Texas Tech went with a very patriotic uniform for Veterans Day. The stars and stripes on the helmets were a nice touch to go along with the camouflage on the shoulders.
  • Oregon’s uniforms were very interesting for their victory over Stanford. The helmets looked black from one angle, but when the lights hit it in a certain way, you could see the green. The Ducks also chose to have their names on the back of the jerseys in white so it takes ultra concentration to see. That’s weird.
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BREAKING: Maryland Pride is back

Maryland will be going back to these court jester-like Maryland Pride uniforms against Notre Dame this weekend.

They’re baaaaaaaaack. Maryland will be making waves again in the uniform world this Saturday against Notre Dame. They broke these out first against Miami in the season opener. And they will make a comeback at FedEx Field this week.

The move was announced on coach Randy Edsall’s Twitter page Wednesday night.

Hide the women and children for this game. The Irish will also be wearing a new helmet as part of their Shamrock Series. It has a very strange background pattern and a larger shamrock than what was seen when the Irish took on Michigan in September. This is getting out of hand.

What’s Maryland wearing this week? Week 10

Maryland will go with a pretty conservative but sharp look on Saturday against Virginia.

As the Terps’ play on the field continues to decline (see their 2-6 record,) their uniforms continue to get better. Let’s be honest there was no choice after the Maryland Pride debacle.

This week, Maryland will host a resurgent Virginia squad in a uniform that look very similar to their old jerseys. The look is very clean. I believe “sharp” is the best way to describe  it.

The turtle shell helmet with the white pants looks very nice, and overall, it just might remind Maryland fans what a football uniform actually looks like.

In other uniform news, Ohio stepped outside the box for a Wednesday night ESPN game. The MAC is loving the NBA lockout the most considering all the national TV time they are getting because of it.

The Bobcats had a striking resemblance to Hawaii with the designs on the shoulders. Overall, I was left feeling uninspired by the uniforms, nothing special really.

What’s Maryland wearing this week? Week 9

Maryland will sports these uniforms for a home game against Boston College on Saturday.

The differences in the Maryland uniform are getting hard to tell. This week’s look for an ACC pillow fight with Boston College looks very similar to past home looks from the Terps.

The black jerseys have been worn twice before, but those two times there were black and yellow pants to compliment the black.

If Maryland was trying to be the Oregon of the East Coast with their uniform combinations, they are failing. Outside of the Maryland pride jersey for the opener against Miami, all their jerseys have been pretty low-key and not necessarily in a good way.

Oregon has been going with extravagant uniforms for years now and consistently find ways to keep us guessing. It seems like the Terps have nearly run out of ideas just nine weeks into the season.

Besides Maryland this Saturday, look for Ohio State to make a uniform splash, and here’s a little preview of their helmets.

What’s Maryland wearing this week? Week 8

Maryland will wear white on the road for the first time this season against Florida State.

The Terps will travel for the just the second time all season when they visit Florida State on Saturday. They will debut their white helmets that look like a turtle’s shell for the game along with this white-on-black look.

I’m glad to see some design on the helmets after weeks of a plain black look and a brief glimpse of the Maryland state flag made into a helmet.

The white jersey with the black pants are pretty standard, but the weird designs up the back of the legs are weird. So are the multi-toned numbers on the jerseys, but nothing too crazy for Maryland this season.

What’s Maryland wearing this week? Week 7

Maryland will go with all-red uniforms and the plain black helmets they have used all season for this week's tough matchup with Clemson.

In what is the Terps’ toughest test so far this season when Clemson invades College Park, Md., on Saturday night, Maryland will go to a look that is very similar to one that worked well for them earlier in the season.

The only difference between this look and Week 5’s look in a 28-3 victory over Towson is the red pants. I actually like the fact that Maryland will go with all red, it’s a pretty normal look for a team trying to always make a splash with their uniforms.

Beating the undefeated Tigers will be no easy task, so perhaps the Terps want the focus to be on the way they play on the field and not what they are wearing.

What’s Maryland wearing this week? Week 6

Maryland will go with this black-on-black-on-yellow look for a trip to Georgia Tech, who wears white at home.

The Terps will finally take their show on the road this week with a trip to undefeated Georgia Tech, but in an odd quirk, they will still be able avoid wearing a plain white road jersey.

The Yellow Jackets are one of only a few college teams (also LSU) to regularly wear white at home. This means Maryland is able to choose from more options for this week’s game, and their selection is very similar to their Week 3 look.

The yellow pants are just fine, and in fact it took me a few seconds to notice that was the difference between these uniforms and Week 3’s edition. It’s likely we won’t see a true road Maryland uniform until Oct. 22 when the Terps travel to Florida State.

We’ve already seen a white uniform (for a home game) and it wasn’t pretty, so here’s hoping they can come up with something better.

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.

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.