BCS of uniforms: Big Ten

It's not easy to see, but adding numbers to the Michigan helmets has taken the uniform to a new level this season.

First of all, I hope everyone enjoyed the New Year’s Day bowl games, even if they did come a day later than usual. Today, we’ll look into the Big Ten’s uniform rankings, where tradition reigns supreme.

1. Michigan

The Wolverines have always had a classic, yet intricate look, but this season, they added a new feature that took the uniform to the next level. The addition of small numbers on the helmet to go along with the Wolverine claws is quite cool.

The home combination of blue and yellow is always a good look with one dark color and one light. Also, those colors are synonymous with Michigan considering all the success and tradition in Ann Arbor.

2. Ohio State

Again, the best part of these traditional uniforms comes in the details, but it is nothing new. The Buckeye helmet stickers given out by the coaching staff makes an otherwise plain helmet an interesting part of the uniform.

Again, just like the Michigan uniforms, the colors of Ohio State (scarlet and grey) are iconic in college football.

3. Illinois

The Illini don’t have the same tradition as some other Big Ten schools, but again, the combination of orange and blue works for me.

The recent addition of some unnecessary trimming along the jersey bothers me a bit and the logo of “Illinois” with an underline is a little boring, but overall, the look is stellar.

4. Wisconsin

While, the uniform might be very generic, and as my brother said, “a typical uniform for a team that wears white and red,” it is still aesthetically pleasing. The big W on the helmets fills enough of the helmet to make it cool, and the red trimming along the white pants makes the uniform work.

5. Penn State

These are the most classic or classic football uniforms. The Nittany Lions wear blue at home and white on the road. It’s that simple. If Penn State did not have any success, these uniforms would be considered boring, but now they are iconic.

Michigan State and Michigan made the biggest uniform splash of the Big Ten season in October with these two uniforms.

6. Michigan State

There’s a little bit more going on here for the Spartans. They have switched back and forth on their helmets over recent years, but the general combination of green and white has stayed consistent, save for one game against Michigan this season.

7. Nebraska

It’s still weird to include the Huskers among the Big Ten, but might as well get used to it. These are basically the same as Wisconsin’s uniforms, the only difference, the N on the helmet is small and they wear red pants on the road.

8. Northwestern

The Wildcats don’t have the tradition of most of the schools in the Big Ten, and they wear purple, so there’s that.

9. Purdue

Nothing too special here. The Boilermakers made a change to their uniforms this season (gold numbers) along with most Nike teams, but it didn’t make the uniform any more special.

10. Iowa

The Hawkeyes look like the Pittsburgh Steelers, but with the logo on both sides of the helmet. It’s not bad, but not that creative at all.

11. Minnesota

The Gophers have never really been any good. They wear maroon with yellow. It’s an all right look, but the addition of lots of trimming along the jersey has made it complicated in recent years.

12. Indiana

It feels like the Hooisers have tried to create a traditional uniform for years now, but have never been able to find the right combination. They also use a darker red than their basketball team, who has excellent uniforms.

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Week 5 College Football Review: What’s that say?

The pattern inside the numbers cause problems for South Carolina and the officials Saturday.

There was an event yesterday in the uniform world that I had never heard of happening before. If you watched the South Carolina-Auburn game Saturday, you might have noticed the Gamecocks helmets and pants looked different than normal, but their shirts were pretty much the same.

Well that comes from a decision made by the officials prior to the game. South Carolina was wearing their “Wounded Warriors” uniforms for Saturday’s showdown with Auburn, which it eventually lost, 16-13, in pretty dramatic fashion. The Gamecocks have gone to these uniforms in the past as have other teams.

Basically it is supposed to honor our armed forces by putting names like “Courage”, “Honor”, “Pride, and “Serve” on the back of the players’ jerseys. A very good idea in theory, although it lends itself to inevitable, “there’s a lot of guys with the same name on this team” jokes.

South Carolina has done this in the past, but the numbers have looked just the same as always.

Anyway, the names were not the problem Saturday, but rather the numbers. The patterns inside the number made it very difficult to read, and that is why officials told the Gamecocks to change back to their regular jerseys after coming out for warm-ups.

As a friend of mine with a history of working in athletic departments said, “It’s about time they started considering their sports information people.”

I completely agree with this. The point of a uniform is to identify what team you play for and who exactly you are. That’s why there are uniforms in the first place, to figure out which team is which just by sight, otherwise, there would be mass confusion in every single game.

Identifying the player is also very important to the uniform. While those of us watching on television can do that by reading the names on the back of the uniform (in most cases) those who are actually working the game (the officials and score keepers) rely on the numbers, and that is what caused the biggest problem on Saturday.

Illinois wide receiver Spencer Harris matched the orange end zone Saturday in this orange uniform. Photo by Associated Press

And with that, here’s your quick hits:

  • Illinois went with an orange look in their comeback victory over Northwestern. I think the look works pretty well since the rest of the field and the helmet has copious amounts of orange in it.
  • Stanford went with their alternate black uniforms. At first sight, I was not a huge fan of these uniforms, but after further review. They actually do look pretty nice. The red and black works for me.
  • Arizona State did a bad job Saturday after a nice look the week before. The white helmets with the red jersey and white pants, makes it look like a practice jersey.
  • It was interesting to see Michigan go back to the helmets it used to defeat Notre Dame in Week 2. I really like how the helmets have the numbers on them. They are not that noticeable and work well for me.
  • Air Force wore a nice uniform against Navy Saturday. I believe the color is supposed to look like the suit an Air Force member would wear. It’s nice.