SBD/Issue 244/College Football Preview

Nike Unveils Pro Combat Uniforms To Be Worn By 10 Schools

Alabama, Ohio State Alter
Helmets In New Design

Nike yesterday unveiled new designs of its high-performance Pro Combat uniforms for Alabama, Boise State, Florida, Miami, Ohio State, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, TCU, Virginia Tech and West Virginia (Nike). Nike PR & Community Relations Manager Cindy Hamilton said that schools were chosen to wear the uniforms "based on the visibility and relevance of their college programs" (The Daily Athenaeum, 8/31). In Birmingham, Don Kausler Jr. noted Alabama will wear their uniform during the Nov. 13 home game against Mississippi State. The uniform "features a little houndstooth trim in honor of legendary coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant." The trim "includes a houndstooth stripe down the middle of the helmet, replacing the regular white stripe." The houndstooth "also will be incorporated in the uniform numbers" (AL.com, 9/1). In Columbus, May & Baptist note Ohio State's uniform, which the team will wear during its Nov. 27 home game against Michigan, will "pay homage to the 1942 national championship team." The jerseys "feature an American flag on the right shoulder in honor of the members of the team who went on to serve in World War II" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 9/2).

FASHION SHOW: In Pittsburgh, Kevin Gorman notes Pittsburgh and West Virginia both will wear the uniforms during their Nov. 26 game. The unis are "designed to represent Pitt's ties to the steel industry and pay respect to the deadly explosion at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine this past April." West Virginia "will wear a shade of white 'that looks as if it has a fine layer of dust on the jersey' and has accents in university gold that 'references the canaries used long ago to test toxicity in mines.'" The helmet "has a thin yellow line, designed to look like 'the beam of light emitted by a miner's headlamp'" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/2). In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay notes Miami will wear their uniform during their Nov. 20 home game against Virginia Tech, while Florida will wear theirs during their Oct. 30 game against Georgia. Miami's uniforms are orange with green helmets, and the phrase "The U" is "on the back of the waist band." Also, when players' hands "form the U, their gloves show off a white and black 'U' like the team's logo." Meanwhile, Florida's uniforms "have an alligator skin pattern in the number, shoulders, pant legs and shoes," and when Florida players "put their gloves together, they form the Gator logo" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/2).

VT, Boise To Wear New
Uniforms In Monday's Game

WEEKEND LOOK: In Idaho, Chadd Cripe noted Boise State will wear the uniforms during Monday's game against Virginia Tech. Boise's "silver Bronco head logo with an orange eye is only on the left side of the helmet," while the team's motto, "Bleed Blue," is "on the inside of the gloves and the inside of the collar" (IDAHOSTATESMAN.com, 9/1). Virginia Tech also will wear the uniforms during Monday's game, and their black uniforms reference the cadet gray-and-black colors worn by the school's original football team (Virginia Tech). In Ft. Worth, Stefan Stevenson notes TCU will wear their uniforms during Saturday's game against Oregon State. The uniform's "lizard-skin print in 'Night Silver and White' evokes TCU coaching legend Dutch Meyer." The phrase "Til hell freezes" is "stitched into the back yoke of the jersey and on the inner cuff of the gloves." The "lizard skin aesthetic is repeated throughout the uniform, on the base layer, jersey numbers, pants, gloves, helmets and cleats" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/2). Oregon State will wear their uniforms during the Dec. 4 home game against Oregon, and an orange, "called solar orange, is the predominant motif." To "match the dirtied white look of 1967, the pants color is sail instead of stark white," and an "O" is "used on the front left hip of the pant" (CORVALLIS GAZETTE-TIMES, 9/2).

WARDROBE MALFUNCTION: ESPN.com's Paul Lukas writes the uniform designs are for you if "you think football is kind of like a video game played by superheroes." But "if you think football is a sport played by athletes,  you may react a bit less enthusiastically." The usual "litmus test -- 'Is it good or is it stupid?' -- doesn't really apply here, because all these designs are stupid," and they "have no reason to exist, except as a function of Nike's hype machine" (ESPN.com, 9/2).

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