BCS of uniforms: Pac-12

The UCLA players are pretty pumped to be named the best uniform in college football according to this blog. Photo by Associated Press

So even though the college football season has come to an end, we’ll have one last look at a major conference before reviewing the style displayed in the bowl games this season.

1. UCLA

These are the best uniforms is college football. The combination of a gold helmet, with purple lettering and a light blue uniform that features gold and white stripes on the shoulders. The uniform is completed by gold pants that complete the uniform in a perfect way.

2. Oregon

The Ducks have to get some credit here for being the pioneers behind this uniform revolution. It’s very difficult to pick one uniform combination because there must have been about 100 over the years. The general idea of green with yellow is cool, and again major credit going to Oregon for starting this craze.

3. USC

This is another example of a classic college football uniform that still works. The stripes on the shoulders are a bit different than the usual, but the combination of red and yellow still works.

4. Colorado

I like black with gold, and the logo on the helmet is subtle, but still works since the buffalo is neat.

5. Oregon State

These are pretty simple uniforms, but still solid. Orange with black is pretty cool, and I am a fan of the font used for the numbers.

6. Washington

The Huskies have a pretty regal look with gold and purple featured most prominently on the uniform. The W on the helmet is a good look.

7. Stanford

It’s a simple look for the Cardinal, but it goes along with the persona of the team. They never try to do anything too flashy and the uniform displays that.

8. Arizona State

The Sun Devils tried to liven up their uniforms this season, but it didn’t quite work that well. I enjoyed the old yellow helmets, but I understand what they were going for with the change.

9. California

If not for some unnecessary changes to the helmet that saw a paw and a weird stripe added to the helmet. The general color scheme is good, but there’s a little too much going on there for me.

10. Arizona

The Wildcats can’t really decide what they want their helmets to be. Sometimes they are blue, sometimes they are white, and I can’t find a rhyme or reason to it.

11. Utah

It’s a look that could be more simple if they wanted to improve it. There’s no need for some of the piping along the sides are crawling up the uniform.

12. Washington State

The Cougars don’t do much to get creative here. They even added some gray uniforms which was completely unnecessary and just looked weird.

Week 13 College football review: Who are they playing?

Andrew Luck and Ryan Hewitt had a moment in this all-red look against Notre Dame Saturday night. Photo by Getty Images

It’s never a good thing when that question has to be asked at the start of a game. Usually that means the uniforms for one teams have failed in doing their jobs of identifying the team.

For two game played on the West Coast Saturday night, this question was brought up in The Star-Ledger newsroom. The first instance came when Stanford took the field in an all-red Pro Combat uniform for their easy victory over Notre Dame. The second was when UCLA abandoned the best uniform in college football for a sloppy white look that matched its play on the field.

We’ll start here with the Cardinal.

For Andrew Luck’s final home game, Stanford was, as one friend put it, “looking like they were going to a burgundy party.” I’ve personally never been to one of those, but if everyone looks like Stanford did last night, count me out.

The black, matte finish helmet made Luck look somewhat mean on the field, but it must have worked for the Cardinal, who probably locked up a spot in the Fiesta Bowl and their second straight 11-win season.

The look for Stanford was not nearly as offensive as what UCLA went with.

UCLA's Shledon Price played and looked miserable in a blowout loss to USC. Photo by Getty Images

I have said this for a long time and I will continue, UCLA has the best uniforms in all of college football. The powder blue home jerseys with gold stripes on the shoulders to go along with the gold helmet just looks regal.

For some reason, the Bruins decided to abandon much of the gold in their uniforms and switch to an unrecognizable look. I understand the game was on the road, but the Bruins could have still stuck with their stripes on the shoulders, gold helmets and gold pants that make their uniforms so distinguishable.

I was sorely disappointed in the Bruins for this, their play on the field in a 50-0 blowout to archrival USC was perhaps their punishment from the uniform gods.

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.

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.