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.

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.

Week 10 College football review: Yawn!!

This week’s uniform changes had about as much action as the Game of the Century. Not one team stood out. It seems most of the uniform surprises were saved  for the start of the season.

Hopefully, things will change as the national title game comes into focus.

With that, we will move directly to a decent amount of quick hits:

The Iowa Hawkeyes got a little patriotic for Saturday's victory over Michigan. They also had a striking resemblance to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Photo by Getty Images

  • Iowa probably made the biggest splash in a very subtle way when they defeated Michigan. The changes came in two parts. First, the Hawkeyes made their usual yellow decals into a version of the American flag. The second part was a continuation of the Steelers look-a-like uniform. They did not have anything on one side of the helmet, very Steeler-esque.
  • Oregon State went with an alternate orange uniform with black pants in a loss to Stanford. The look is pretty good overall. I like the normal black uniforms as well. Oregon State games are always fun to watch because of the uniforms.
  • Washington State has a very odd away uniform against Cal. They wore gray pants to go with their usual red helmets and white uniforms. The look seems strange. Red or white pants would have worked much better.
  • Oklahoma State kept the tradition of black uniforms for a night game that is nationally televised. The gray helmets with the black uniforms ans gray pants was odd, but as long as the Cowboys keep winning, I’m sure they’ll stick with it.
  • Boise State went with white helmets on the road. Instead of their odd Pro Combat helmets, these had the normal Boise logo, just added the white factor to the helmet.

Week 8 College football review: Uniform sanctions

The Mountain West's uniform restrictions for Boise State finally took effect Saturday against Air Force. Photo by Getty Images

The offseason was filled with scandal in all of college football. From Ohio State to Miami to Oregon to even Boise State there were scandals and sanctions galore.

One of the sanctions to Boise State that went unnoticed was the Mountain West immediately putting some restrictions on their newest member by telling Boise it could no longer wear its blue jerseys for conference home games. The trademark blue turf in Boise, Idaho, made for a camouflage look for the Broncos.

Boise finally ran into this problem on Saturday when they hosted Air Force.

Boise has been changing their uniforms a bit over the past few seasons as it has become a consistent national title contender. They’ve gone with all-white at the start of the season against Georgia and used a new helmet for their bowl game against Utah last season.

Yesterday’s look was similar to what they wore to defeat Virginia Tech in the season opener last year. The only difference is the helmet Boise wore yesterday is similar to the helmet they usually go with.

Personally, I was hoping Boise would decide to go with its orange look it employed for a game last season. It would certainly accomplish what the Mountain West was looking for in that they would stand out from the blue field.

At the very least, this adds a bit more intrigue to the uniform selection for the Broncos every week. They might be falling a bit in the BCS standings, but the uniforms should keep us on our toes.

With that, we’ll move on to our quick hits:

A host of LSU defenders dominated Auburn all game in these alternate uniforms. Photo by Getty Images

  • Top-ranked LSU turned some heads with its uniform selection in a blowout of defending champs Auburn. The white helmets and white pants are the primary departures from the normal yellow here. There is also gold weaved into the stripes on the shoulders and the helmets. Overall, the look is fine, nothing too jarring and not that far from the norm.
  • Virginia Tech went with an orange throwback look against Boston College. The Hokies have started to mix in some surprises in the uniform department recently. For the most part, they work.
  • Both Oregon and Oklahoma State went with all-white in road victories yesterday. Sometimes it’s nice to see a simple look from these teams.
  • Rutgers went away from being Scarlet again on Friday night. They chose black helmets, white jerseys and black pants in a loss to Louisville. The only difference between this and the look they wore at home against Pitt was a white R on the helmet instead of the red seen against Pitt. Maybe Rutgers didn’t feel as fierce with the white R and that’s why they lost.

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.