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Are the 2010 Pro Combat Uniforms Ruining College Football?

If you watched last night’s much anticipated Boise State-Virginia Tech game then I pray you hated both team’s uniforms with every fiber of your being, because they were a monstrosity of epic proportions.

Before I really get into this topic, let me state that I love talking about uniforms. It doesn’t matter if it is football, basketball, baseball or hockey…I find it all extremely interesting.

I was the type of person who drew uniforms as a kid and sat in school trying to perfect the Atlanta Falcons logo or come up with a way to improve the Cleveland Indians hats and jerseys.

Today, I’ve stopped drawing (although I’ve thought about dropping hundreds of dollars for computer programs and really feeding another hobby) but I have become one of the regular visitors to websites like and others like that. Rest assured I have plenty of ideas floating around in my head as to how to improve many teams’ uniform designs.

And yes, they are all awesome.

But what about these Pro Combat uniforms so graciously brought to us by the fine folks at Nike?

While I won’t uphold the title of this article and say that they are really ruining college football (that would take some truly major changes to the game), the fact is most of these designs are as bad as it gets.

Not every single one is bad, there is some hope yet, but you’ll see the pattern emerge whereby the more change and designs that Nike made, the worse off the uniform ended up being.

And what’s with this name, Pro Combat?

Whiskey already alluded to this in a post from last week that the whole military comparison doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.

Yes, we know football is a lot like real battle and the two things share a lot of similarities and it’s great that Virginia Tech’s uniforms were a salute to that school’s corps of cadets (although I’m still trying to figure exactly how), but it’s just not the right thing to do.

Originally, I was going to just comment on the Boise State and Virginia Tech uniforms alone, but why not go big and criticize evaluate the entire 2010 crop?

Here’s a good website for you to really get a good look at the entire package offered from each school.

One of the main reasons why I find the Pro Combat series so ridiculous is because you can’t even make out half of the stuff on the uniform unless you see them from inches away. What’s the point of designing so much crap if it has people on television saying things like, "what is that on their shoulders?" or "why is that player sweating excessively out of his gut?"

The amount of such useless tripe was bad last year and became much, much worse this year. God help us all if Nike continues this further down the road.

I never thought we’d see uniforms worse than the MLB futuristic series from a while back, but it looks like Nike is giving those a run for their money.

Boise State


I really like the chrome blue with gray facemask and leaving the right side completely blank was a very nice touch. I even thought the placement of the uniform numbers on the back right of the helmet was pretty cool too.

Still, the way they blew up the logo made it look very creepy and a lot like those ugly baseball hats you sometimes see people wearing ruined it for me.


When this uniform was debuted a week ago I actually thought it was one of the better designs out of the whole bunch. That is, until I actually saw them in action on Monday.

First off, when I was watching last night’s game I couldn’t understand why Nike would put a darker shade of gray under the arms, back and in the gut area of the players because it looked like sweat.

Turns out, it was sweat! As you can see, Nike designed the uniforms with a mesh-like material in those areas and will probably say that it made the uniforms "lighter" and allowed the players to be "faster."

Or uglier.

Other issues I have with this jersey are the bronco head peeping out of the right shoulder (pointless) and the way the team’s name is spelled out in a slightly darker and shiny gray which is almost impossible to see unless the right amount of light hits it. They also decided to put orange trim on the left arm, but not the right, I’m assuming because they didn’t want to take away from that lovely orange bronco eye ball that menaces the rest of the college football world with dreams of a BCS title.

The pants aren’t too bad, the "B" on the left knee was an interesting idea (although practically the same as my hometown AAA ball club) but the "Broncos" typeface running down the right pant leg should be outlawed. Luckily it’s practically unreadable while watching on television.

SCORE: 4/10

This Boise State concoction was one of the designs that looked to have some promise when those first pictures came out that didn’t really give you a good look at the whole package. But once you look closely at everything on here, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a pretty awful uniform. Good color scheme, just so much not to like.

Virginia Tech


On one of the message boards I frequent a couple of people were hyping this helmet as something totally awesome, or something that effect. Sometimes I don’t understand the world.

Had they just left the helmet black with the normal "VT" logo then all would be fine. But then they had to go and add the stripe, which starts out maroon and two-striped (honoring the campus shooting victims perhaps?) before combining into one stripe and changing colors with the patented design that is all over the uniform.


And the design inside the numbers and everywhere on the entire uniform…what is going there? It’s like the inside of a battery meets a playbook or something. Who thought this would look good?

These uniforms were supposed to resemble the original Virginia Tech football team, but I don’t see how they do and it does not look like a Hokie uniform to me in any way.

Plus it’s all black, which is such a played out fashion statement. Can we please stop doing this already?

SCORE: 2/10

I was prepared to throw my television out of the window before watching the game yesterday and it was really hard not to. Boise State’s uniforms took me by surprise with their ugliness and distracted me from the Hokies, but Virginia Tech’s still suck.

They’ll go down as one of the worst uniforms ever.



Nothing different about the helmet except the white stripe is filled with the houndstooth pattern made famous by Bear Bryant’s hat.


Alabama kept it simple (probably forced to at gunpoint by Alabama administrators) and put the houndstooth design inside the numbers and in the back of the collar. There’s also an American flag on the right shoulder.

Even though I like this design, it’s unlikely anyone will even notice the Crimson Tide are wearing anything different. The houndstooth pattern is so subtle that it won’t show up on television. Even when Nike gets it right, they get it wrong.

I like the "A" on the pants which offers something different, but the cut-off stripe is such a stupid idea and I don’t understand why this persists so much in the sports world.

SCORE: 7/10

This is my second favorite out of all the Pro Combat uniforms for 2010 and even though the houndstooth design won’t show up too well, I thought it was a creative idea.

It would definitely be a jersey worth buying and wearing around so that others could see the pattern more clearly.



Same helmet as usual except the orange background is supposed to look like gator skin. Again, it will not be noticeable on television and it’s just a stupid idea to begin with.


From far away these don’t look too bad, but once you get close they take a turn for the worse.

Gator skin pattern inside the numbers, some sort of gator skin blob on the sleeves, and a gator skin pattern running down the pants just doesn’t do it for me.

SCORE: 5/10

Uniwatch believes this version is better than last year’s design from Florida, but I have a tough time agreeing. I could handle the gator pattern on the helmet, but with it in all of the other places it just ruins the whole design.

This one still won’t look too bad on television though.



This is actually a really cool helmet and reminds me of the early versions of Oregon’s helmets when they first started coming out with such a crazy amount of designs.

I think a white or gray facemask would have really made this helmet stand out even more, but it’s fine the way it is.


And then they ruin the rest.

Orange on orange, the dreaded SCJP (Same Color Jersey & Pants) rears its ugly head once again. Along with typeface on pants, this should be outlawed at all levels of football, except of course the white on white which looks absolutely fantastic (I’m looking at you Texas and Penn State).

By itself, the jersey is pretty nice, but paired with orange pants just makes the whole outfit look retarded. I don’t care for the pant striping or the typeface "The U" on the back belt area of the pants. There’s also the "U" logo on the left knee similar to Boise State’s design.

The shoes and socks, like the helmets, are pimp.

SCORE: 4/10

I really like the top and bottom of this design, but the orange on orange is too much too overcome. It didn’t look good for Syracuse and it will not look good for Miami.

Ohio State


A blank red helmet with dark gray facemask is a huge step down for the usual beauties the Buckeyes wear. Bonus points for the bronze medal on the back in honor of Charles Csuri, but this is way too bland.


And we learn that the uniform as a whole is so bland because it is to honor the 1942 Ohio State team. Nice idea in theory I guess, but I find this entire uniform incredibly boring.

It looks like a template you’d see in Eastbay or something from which you would add some design to, but not a finished product. I really like the gray socks but not when the team is wearing gray pants and shoes to begin with.

SCORE: 3/10

This is probably too tough of a grade because the idea was a good one and I usually have a soft spot for the throwback uniforms, but this will undoubtedly be one of the Pro Combat designs that people will be saying, "what the hell is Ohio State wearing?"

Oregon State


Nike took the same black helmet as Virginia Tech’s except they didn’t screw this one up.

A nice thick white-orange-white striping pattern through the middle looks awesome.


So simple, yet so delightful.

A black jersey with only orange numbers is all that appears, while the undershirt adds the same striping pattern as on the helmet to give the uniform that old school look that can’t be obtained with the way jerseys are worn today.

This is combined with white pants and a simple striping pattern to go along with the "O" logo on the front. Maybe best of all, the socks are black with stripes as well.

SCORE: 9/10

This is the best design of the bunch and it’s not even close. The main Nike designer even said so himself.

I don’t care what anyone says, this should be Oregon State’s primary uniform from now on. It is that good. If they came out with a similar white version, we’d be talking about one of the best sets in the entire country.



This helmet isn’t too bad, but it does scream Pro Combat to me and that is generally not a good thing.

I can’t really point to anything on there that I don’t like, but for some reason it’s not as nice as I want it to be.


Here’s another example of a uniform that looks pretty good from far away but not so much once you get close to it.

Why so much black all over the place?

The uniform looks so simple from far away but incredibly busy up close and that’s a big negative in my book.

SCORE: 5/10

This Pro Combat design is tolerable, but leaves a lot to be desired.

It will probably look pretty good on television but Nike really could have done a much better job.



They put a unique background pattern on the helmet which I am assuming is supposed to resemble a horned frog’s skin or something? It gets pretty crazy in the back when it fades to white.

Overall, pretty stupid helmet and it doesn’t even match the rest of the uniform.


The jersey is nice, even with the same pattern on the helmets going inside the numbers. The pants really ruin the whole design from having any chance of looking good.

No football team should be made to wear those.

SCORE: 3/10

They need to get rid of the pants and try something different. This is the second straight year they went with them and it looks really bad.

West Virginia


The charcoal gray background is nice and the West Virginia logo and middle stripe really stand out, but this design makes me think of Missouri’s from years past.


If there ever was a uniform that I liked with a very obvious Pro Combat-like design, this would probably be it.

The gray, dark gray, black, yellow and blue come together really nicely. If they got rid of the large gray striping that wraps around the pants, this uniform would be that much better.

SCORE: 6/10

This set will look nice on television, although I believe I read that there will be changes to the uniform due to protests that Nike was profiting off of the coal miners deaths in the state (because of coal-like colors as the inspiration for the uniform).

So maybe this design never sees the light of day, maybe Nike will improve upon it or make it worse. Who knows, but I’d bet the latter.

What do you think about all of these Pro Combat uniforms?