When it comes to team uniforms, the Oregon Ducks have been beating to a different drum for well over a decade, thanks to a partnership with a “little” hometown company called Nike. The Ducks have 384 possible uniform combinations and are well on their way to wearing each one, trying a new and more gaudy style each week. Well after all these years, it might have finally caught on, much to the dismay of several, more traditional schools such as Penn State.
In an era where plain is blah and boring, many college football teams are shedding their old, more reserved jerseys in favor of a uniform that looks like something Lady Gaga threw up during the Oscars. Apparel has been a huge topic of conversation during this early college football season, thanks in large part to the University of Maryland who unveiled their new jersey during their season opener against the University of Miami.
Within minutes, the new jersey – which looks like a Picasso rendering of the state flag – was trending on Twitter, while every curious sports fan performed a Google search to see for themselves. Whether you love them or hate them, they are generating a ton of publicity for their manufacturer, Under Armor. Maryland recently signed an agreement with the Baltimore based company and both parties decided to try something a bit different, the likes of which we have never really seen before.
However, they are not all quite as bad as we make them out to be and soon could pay off big for certain degree granting institutions. While some mocked, others were drooling over the new look, especially the players on Maryland and it could draw in more big name recruits than in the past.
Under Armor currently has contracts with 10 Division I football programs, which is a fraction of the schools its biggest competitor, Nike has on its resume. Every kid wants to look like an NFL star in their jersey, which might be one of the reasons why, a recruits decision has a lot to do on a team’s fashion sense.
“Since a lot of these guys are watching football, the teams are in a position to influence and get the regular guy thinking, ‘Hey, if (Maryland quarterback) Danny O'Brien is looking sharper, I could, too,’ ”, fashion editor for AskMen.com Sachin Bhola told FOX Sports. “Of course, a lot of this is in theory. In practice, some of these teams haven’t exactly executed the style thing impressively. If these teams are going to take this seriously, I would recommend bringing in some contemporary menswear designers who I believe could totally pull it off.”
It seems that facilities and academic programs are now second fiddle compared to team apparel or even TV contracts when it comes to making a decision for talented college football recruits. It is nice to see companies and schools thinking outside the box and changing it up from the typical cookie cutter look but we fear this could just lead to jerseys that just look more like a four-year-old’s coloring book, than a 19-year-old’s college uniform.
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.