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.
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BCS of uniforms: Big 12

Oklahoma State's Richetti Jones and the rest of Oklahoma State went with this look for their biggest victory of the season over Oklahoma. Photo by Getty Images

As we approach New Year’s Day, we’ll start to move deeper into this BCS of uniforms. Today, the Big 12:

1. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys made a huge splash this season by wearing a different uniform combination for every game. Turns out it worked for them as they won their first Big 12 title and are headed to the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2.

I always preferred the normal white helmet with orange uniform, but at least the Cowboys showed  a great effort this season for uniforms, and it’s hard to argue with the success they had in them. The best part about the changes was they did not abandon the primary OSU logo or introduced new colors into the scheme.

2. Baylor

Maybe it’s because the Bears got a little more exposure this season with Robert Griffin III, but I just began to notice how good the primary Baylor uniform looks.

The combination of the gold pants and helmets with the green uniforms is very clean and neat. Nike even introduced a new uniform line for the Bears before the season. The Alamo Bowl uniforms were a bust, but I can forgive them.

3. Texas A&M

The Aggies don’t try to get too flashy with their uniforms, and that works for them. Maybe it’s because my elementary school wore maroon, but I find the combination of maroon and white to be very cool.

The logo works because of the big T that is complemented by the A and M around it. My favorite is when the Aggies host Texas and wear all maroon.

4. Texas

These are classic college football uniforms.

Anytime you see burnt orange, you immediately think Texas and that shows the uniform has done its primary job of identifying a team. The orange is complemented nicely by the white helmets, and the road all-white look is a solid one.

5. Oklahoma

Again, these are classic uniforms. If there was ever a change with the Sooners’ uniforms, I’m sure there would be a riot throughout all of Norman.

There’s really not much to the uniforms, but since they have been around so long and are iconic in college football, they get a decent ranking here.

Jeff Woody and the rest of the Cyclones had a tough time getting going against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl. Photo by Getty Images

6. Iowa State

Recently, the Cyclones have gone to a retro look that certainly works for them. The combination of red with yellow pants is a nice look and the stripes along the shoulder are nifty, but it’s still a somewhat boring look.

If the helmets could improve here, perhaps they would move up in the rankings.

7. Missouri

The Tigers have a decent uniform, but there is simply too much going on with all the trimming in the uniform. Plus, the helmets are pretty boring.

8. Texas Tech

Again, there’s too much going on here, even more than Missouri. The lines that go up the shoulders are unnecessary, it’s far too distracting for a football uniform.

9. Kansas State

There’s not enough going on here. The purple with the silver is very boring. The part about this uniform that gets me the most is the logo which has been around forever, but could definitely use some work.

10. Kansas

Yawn! Could that helmet get any more boring? The Jayhawks aren’t even trying to do anything smart with the KU. They’re just written on the helmets. Much more effort is needed here.