Sons of Style: Ranking the 130 FBS Uniforms - #104-92
We're in the nitty gritty now. And by that I mean like sand.
Figuratively and literally. Sand. A little bit of grit mixed with a whole lot of boring. Not a lot to ride home about with some of these. And I'm not talking about laying on a beach with warm sand between your toes, no. I'm talking dirt path at your local park type sand. Sandbox stuff.
Truthfully, the first couple installments of this have produced very few surprises. I think that will start to change over the next few weeks. Reminder, to me a good uniform is one that is identifiable, representative of the school, clean, and creative. If you're a traditional power then you get a pass for the traditional uniforms because, well, you kind of were the ones that made them famous in the first place.
This week's group of 13 are a good mix of traditional and new age with a bit of rebranding dripped in there. The issue with most of these is the color schemes, which have either been altered for the uniforms or were just fundamentally awful. Nature vs Nurture I guess...
#104 Miami (OH)
Okay so what in the world are we doing here? What's the end goal with this? Two steps forward for creativity, 5 steps backwards for having a dumb imagination.
When I looked at my final rankings, I was a bit shocked I ranked the Redhawks this well, actually. I do think they deserve some credit for stepping out of the norm and trying something different, but the execution is just abysmal. The single large, horizontal shoulder stripe with the logo on the sleeve is just vial. And somehow, that hideous diaply isn't the worst thing about these uniforms. The pants have this super large, almost wavy stripe that also has the 'M' logo embedded in it. And when I say wavy, I mean that it looks like you gave a drunk guy a highlights and asked them to draw a straight line.
Then we get to the alternate helmets which have the gradient two toned color. The white coloration only covers the bottom inch or so of the helmet, so it doesn't look as bad as Troy's, for example. But just not a clean look at all. Overall, just bad. Not what I want to see when I turn on MACtion on a Tuesday night.
Rebranding gone wrong. Charlotte felt like they needed a new look as the team has completed its transition to a FBS program. The 49ers went with a 'C' logo the looks to have the shape of a miner's pick axe in it. That's okay, I guess. But they can do better. It gets the job done, I guess.
I do like the shiny dark green helmets with the large white logo. I think that's a crisp look that highlights the new logo well. The alternate white helmet could do without the gold stripe in the middle of the two green ones, which are a more muted green than the main helmets. Still, not bad. I also really like the 'CLT' onthe shoulders using the new 'C' logo. That's a cool way to incorporate the identity of the city and your logo. Now if only they could throw on a Ernst & Young sponsor patch and a fill the stadium with 22-30 year old young professionals. Then they'd really be in the spirit of things.
Those triple stripes on the jerseys and pants are just very old fashioned for a rebrand. I don't understand what they were trying to accomplish with that. And we have to mention those old gold jerseys. Oh no, sweetheart. Oh no. It looks like sand.
Congrats to Duke! You've won the award for most uniform combinations that look exactly the same!
There are more than what I show here, but Duke has rocked the simplistic double stripe on the shoulders and pants for a while now. They alternate between the royal blue, white and black for all aspects of the uniforms, with all of them looking the same outside of color. Usually, I'd applaud this kind of consistency. However, there just seems to be something really missing here. It's all very boring.
While I'm not a massive fan of just using stripes to stylize a uniform, my biggest issue is the helmets. The helmet stripes is massively thick. It looks a bit gaudy. The 'D' logo is also a bit bland to be the only logo featured on the uniform. The 'D' logo really disappears when it's in black and the helmet is royal blue or....black. Yeah, that's bad. Outside of 'DUKE' written on the chest in a very basic font type, there's nothing to represent the school as the "Duke Blue Devils" which is a big miss for me.
#101 Southern Mississippi
Hey sports teams, there's a difference between between gold and yellow. And Southern Miss, this is yellow. Woah. It's just too much.
Overall, I don't mind Southern Miss's template from Adidas. It's very clean, and the number font has been used for a decade or so and looks really good. The big issue for me is how they are literally just using Iowa's yellow pants. Same giant black stripe down the side. The whole thing just lacks creativity.
Oh yeah, and Adidas hit 'em with the heather grey jerseys again, which is just such a dumb concept. For Southern Miss, the jerseys are a bit darker than Troy's, per se. However, it still doesn't work. The American flag helmets are a good look, though. Using a royal blue instead of navy blue works well with the all black helmet and makes the logo really pop.
Another knock on these is the traditional "Southern Miss" logo on the helmets. It just doesn't look crisp at all. The yellow lines on the logo and then having two yellow helmet stripes is a bit much.
#100 Georgia Tech
For such a historical football program, it feels like Georgia Tech has really struggled to find an identity in the uniform department. The 'GT' logo gets the job done, and the 'Tech gold', navy, and white is a good look. Despite that, Georgia Tech has failed to settle on a clean, consistent look for the football program. The newest installment features a classic gold-white-white combo with beautiful gold numbers. A simple, clean look that matches the history and tenure of the program.
The attempt to modernize is what Adidas and GT fall short on. The alternate white and navy jerseys look odd with a very cornered numbering font that doesn't match the 'GT' logo at all. The jerseys and pants also have a double strip on the back of the shoulders and the hips. On the shoulders, the stripes are both gold and located at the neck and at the sleeve. On the pants, the stripes are one gold and one thicker navy with the latter extending a bit further down. It's all a bit disjointed. The idea of making a uniform more high-tech (pun very much intended) for an engineering school is something that has really never worked out as we will see later in the series.
Georgia Tech also unveiled a brand new black jersey this year that features some more classic features to honor the 'Black Watch' Yellow Jacket defenses of the 1980's. These are decent and a black and gold combo is always fun, but it really just looks like a bad Colorado uniform.
Honestly, just upset they don't use the yellow jacket logo at all. No one is scared to play GT anymore, but you know what is scary? Bees. People hate bees. Leverage that, ya enginerds!
#99 Kansas State
Honestly, if I were to have done this last year Kansas State would've been ranked lower. Everything is just so bland and boring.
Then Kansas State finally mixed things up and dropped a really clean, icy white helmet with the purple wildcat logo. A really nice addition to the uniform set. Other than that though, there's not much here to digest. It's all very bland and grey. Classic, easy, boring. Somewhat forgettable, but that white helmet will make you look once or twice a year, much like the Wildcats football team.
Wanna know a beta move? Let's have a history lesson.
In the early 1920's, Tulsa coach H.M. Archer said his team looked like "Golden Tornadoes" in their new gold and black uniforms. Makes sense since the team is in the heart of tornado country. The issue was Georgia Tech at the time also had gold uniforms and were referred to as the "Golden Tornadoes" which makes absolutely no sense. So, the Tulsa team held a vote and decided to go with the Golden Hurricane. Georgia Tech would later phase out the nicknames they had been given over the years to stick with the yellow jackets. Tulsa bent the knee harder than Jon Snow in season 7 of GoT.
As for their current uniforms, Tulsa has an interesting color scheme with royal blue and gold. It kind of works, but also looks a bit haphazard. 'Hurricane' written vertically on the pants looks good, but the font is the polar opposite of the script that is used in the logo and on the chest. Another weird thing about the pants is the other side say 'Golden'. How am I supposed to read both side of the pants at the same time? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Overall, there are some really good looks including the all white helmets, well executed gold pants, and a really cool hip logo of the hurricane warning flag. Everything just seems a bit random, though. That tracks with Tulsa football.
The Bobcats didn't do much to hurt themselves, but they really didn't do much at all. They're kind of like that basketball player that just sets good screens, doesn't foul, crisp passer, but doesn't do too much in the stat sheet.
Ohio really just looks like FCS Northeast from NCAA 14. Not much else to say. Great colors, cool mascot. Just not a whole lot of flair. Tough to do for a school that has all but gotten rid of their 'bobcat' logo and just started writing out 'OHIO'. Not a whole lot to work with here.
The throwback uniforms were something, at least. But they can barely be called
#96 Western Kentucky
The original chrome helmets. Gotta love 'em.
These are a really new age, flashy uniform set that I think a lot of people would have ranked much higher. It hurts to put them this low, but I had to. It's the logo. It's gotta change. At lest for the uniforms. Why is there a human hand on your logo? It makes me extremely uncomfortable.
I'm also not a big fan of the white pants, which used a grey stripe down the side that is in a mesh pattern with 'Hilltoppers' on it. It looks phenomenal on the black pants, and I actually think that's the best paid of trousers we've encountered so far.
Another miss is the script 'Tops' helmet which uses basically the same script font that Maryland uses. It's an unnecessary alternate helmet, in my opinion, that just copies off of a more prominent program.
#95 New Mexico
Here's a program that has a sneaky tradition to their uniforms that most of the country outside of the Mountain West don't know. New Mexico was historically known for the silver helmets. A few years ago they went away from that tradition, and that's when the downfall of this once proud, mediocre program in the desert began. In 2019, former Lobo Danny Gonzales was hire to resurrect the program and brought back the silver helmets. After a 2-10 season in 2019, the Lobos won their last two of the 2020 season against Wyoming and Fresno State. Maybe there's something in those silver lids?
Well, regardless they look pretty decent. The Lobo logo is incredible. I also really like the white pants with "LOBOS" written vertically down the side. It's a clean look and adds some flair in a simplistic way. I have an issue with the grey pants though, which are not the most attractive shade of grey. Also, the writing down the side that works so well with the white pants lacks the same pop. There seems to be a darker shading of grey down the sides of those pants, which is an interesting decision to say the least. the grey pants also don't match the shade of silvery helmets. That's the kind of mistake that just feels so elementary for a FBS program. Overall, I think new Mexico is almost there with their fits.
#94 South Carolina
Ugh. Why did they go and change things. South Carolina always had such cool uniform sets but these, these are not their best.
I don't understand the pattern on the numbers at all. It just throws me off. Everything else is decent but those just knock it down a tier or two. I also don't think the triple stripes on the sleeve are necessary. You already have triple stripes on the pants and helmet. It's too much.
I really like the 'Carolina' on the chest. The font is consistent with the logo and it's sized nicely. The hip logo is another good add. A small detail that is a bit overproduced, however, is the triple stripe on the collar. Again, why? That's the fourth place on the uniform that you've put a triple stripe. It's not needed. also, what is up with the sand dune photo shoot? Columbia is hours from the nearest beach and is certainly nowhere near a desert.
My guess is that in a couple years USC(e) will change things up again and be back to having some of the better uniforms in the SEC.
Liberty was so, so close to nailing a really clean look. Then they had to throw triple stripes on the pants and jerseys. Why? I get it for one or the other, but both is too much. teh collar is also very big, which cuts into the uniform itself and looks a bit awkward. I question some of the combos used, as well. The red, blue, red is too much and takes away from the clean look that the font and logo is trying to convey. Speaking of the logo... c'mon. Where's the flaming eagle guy?! 'LU' is pretty bland.
the chest font on the white and blue jerseys is okay, but the outlining is not needed. Those white and red helmets though are so clean. Liberty will get there with the next set, I believe. There's a ton of material to work with.
A classic uniform that shouldn't and won't be changed. That doesn't mean it looks particularly special. It just is what it is.
I mean there's not much to say. Black and yellow, classic logo, simple stripes. I do wish the pants stripe wasn't so large. That's really what tanks its ranking for me so much. When you don't have a lot going on, one mistake can ruin the whole thing.