I’m a traditionalist. I hate piped in music; I love marching bands. (I also enjoy telling kids to GET OFF MY LAWN!!!) It’s probably because I am the fan of a program that played its first game in 1879, won its first national title in 1901, and won the first ever Rose Bowl in 1902. Tradition is is important to me, and as a Michigan fan, I have had to grasp onto something the past 6 years. Michigan’s uniforms are classic and haven’t drastically changed, well, ever. So maybe that’s why I cannot understand why certain programs feel the need to mess with their uniforms so often.
Let’s put Oregon aside. They have developed a tradition in changing their uniforms every game; while their uniforms might be ugly, I can respect creating a tradition. What I cannot respect is teams changing their uniforms for one game as a money grab. That applies doubly to uniforms that are classics. And it applies triply when the uniforms are ugly. So it’s no coincidence that I will start with the abominations that Georgia wore last Saturday against Boise:
First things first, Georgia. Your uniforms are very recognizable and they are simple. And so are your helmets. The uniform here isn’t a huge problem, but WHY WOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR HELMETS? WHY? The G is a classic, instantly recognizable to even casual college football fans. So you decide to change the helmet to an ugly silver with red stripe, and the red stripe extends onto the facemask?!? Was a drunk 3 year old designing these? (Sidenote: I actually liked Boise’s uniforms and helmet, but it’s still stupid).
I could go through tons of examples here. Maryland’s uniforms were derided by everybody (except if you live in Maryland, apparently), Boise and Virginia Tech had the ugliest two uniforms in their game last year, and Ohio State, for the past two years, has run out in pro-combat uniforms against Michigan. But this is not a fashion column. If you’re interested in those, I think Brock or dirt might be able to help you out.
Putting aside how ugly these uniforms are, I hate these retro, pro-combat, or new jerseys. Why? Look, we all know that college football suffers from rampant commercialism that undermines much of the traditions we love. We can put up with that because we love the traditions so much. I can bury my head in the sand and pretend that money doesn’t drive college football for the most part. Thus, I don’t need commercialism shoved in my face when I’m trying to enjoy a college football game. We don’t want to stare at how our sport is being ruined during the entire game. Everybody knows that the teams are wearing the uniforms so Nike, Adidas, or Under Armor sell more jerseys. And it becomes even more egregious when a program like Ohio State or Georgia changes their uniforms for one game. I don’t want to be constantly reminded of that fact.
As I said before, I come from a biased view and a fanbase that hates change. Michigan is the only Big Ten team without a mascot, and when our AD suggested adding a mascot, there was widespread horror and condemnation. Michigan doesn’t have ads inside the stadium, and when ads appeared outside the stadium, there was widespread horror and condemnation. So when teams change their uniform to make their uniform-makers a few bucks, I find it stupid, insulting, and affront to tradition. Surely, Michigan would never change their classic jersey or have some stupid alternate jersey, oh wait:
Ugh. College football is supposed to be pure; students playing for nothing but the love of the game and the love of their school. These new uniforms suck not because they are ugly, but because they remind us that college football is a business.