During the offseason we like to kick around some ideas for posts that aren't always centered on Notre Dame. It gives us a little break from the constant focus of Irish football and allows us to relax a little bit.
As the resident sports uniform sartorialist I was asked to do something more outside of the yearly look at the new uniforms.
Typically you see lists that look at the best or worst of uniforms---so I didn't want to rehash those tired subjects.
"Alabama has the best helmet in the nation!" screams Henry.
"No, Michigan does!" screams Richard.
I'm tired of those arguments.
But what about the most underrated uniforms? What about the uniforms that look great but don't get the same respect as the Penn States, Texases and Ohio States of the world do?
Those uniforms deserve some recognition too.
So I gave them some.
Mike Londin made some subtle changes to Virginia's uniforms, for good and bad.
He got rid of that silly helmet stripe that didn't really fit the Virginia identity and even though I liked the helmet logo on the sleeves, the TV numbers add a little bit more of a traditional feel to the uniform.
It's too bad Nike went away from the traditional pant stripes but it could be worse.
I just really like this uniform with the color contrasts of blue helmet, white jersey, and orange pants. In a way it seems hip and fresh, yet still pretty traditional---that's hard to pull off.
Virginia Tech wore a multitude of different uniforms combinations this past year and they were all pretty fly---so much so that their basic sets (which admittedly they don't wear that often in recent years) seem kind of boring in comparison.
Yes, the all-white Stormtrooper look is already played out (pity the teams who come out with this look for the first time next year---congratulations you're three years late to the party!) but the Hokies' bold striping on all three pieces (helmet, jersey, pants) plus the unconventional helmet logo all create a very eye-catching design.
I may have had to convince myself a little bit on this one, however, keep in mind Rutgers' uniforms used to suck and they certainly have an identifiable look and one of the best in the Big East.
The helmet may be plain to some, but I think it comes strong---in way similar to Nebraska's.
The jersey too looks good with the thick white trim at the collar and sleeves. Even the "R" logo on the pants adds a nice touch.
I have mixed feelings about this Syracuse uniform. I believe it belongs on this list, but it could be better.
I'm glad they brought back the white trim (seriously Gerg, no white at all?) but I miss that 1990's jersey. I also hate the absence of UCLA stripes in favor of this ridiculous skinny orange piping---let's get serious here Syracuse.
Two reasons that Baylor made this list:
1) RG3 makes the uniform look cool.
2) Baylor has a great color scheme that is really hard to mess up.
Not that Nike didn't try to mess the uniform up with the ridiculous "Bear claw marks" on the pants. How anyone could like that over the traditional striping from Griffin's underclassmen years is beyond me.
I look at Baylor's uniforms (specifically the ones from a couple years ago) and envision how awesome Notre Dame would look if they switched to green and gold full-time.
Kansas State Wildcats
Can you think of a team that has worn the same home and way uniforms (without a single game in an alternate/third/ProCombat uniform) than Kansas State?
Bill Snyder's grip is tight and cold. Yet I do think they have made some minor modifications in the past but it seems like this is all K-State has worn for the past 40 years.
Some people can't dig the purple, but this is just a clean and bold look. The purple and silver color scheme should be more popular across the sports landscape.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Sure the use of gray (a non-school color) is corporate as hell, but damn they made it look good. This is one of the best examples of meshing modern design (truncated lines especially) with keeping a solid traditional base that didn't betray a school's roots.
Marshall has made some small tweaks over the years and this year's home uniform is a big upgrade over the Chad Pennington-era wardrobe the Herd used to wear.
This brighter green really pops and the jerseys really stand out against the white pants and helmets. I'd probably put Marshall up there with one of the more underrated helmets as well.
You can shut your mouth if you don't think this is a beautiful uniform.
It appears SMU had stripes on their pants at some point last season (I'm guessing in the early part of the year), but they apparently made a switch to plain white pants. Not a huge deal---better to go plain than do something retarded with stripes that wrap around awkward places on a body---but those stripes looked good before.
Adidas TECHFIT jerseys warp and shorten the sleeve stripes, while the tiny SMU lettering on the front should be much larger, but this uniform just can't be stopped from looking good.
I usually don't like facemasks that aren'te white or gray, but even the red here fits in nicely.
Air Force is by far the best-dressed military academy and it helps when you have a bright color and lightning bolts to work with.
The Falcons have worn some pretty cool alternate uniforms in recent years, including this year's gray version and 2010's fighter pilot edition. However, they are one of the more fresh-looking teams in their normal home-blue uniforms.
I'd do away with some of the unnecessary piping and black trim, but seriously, thunderbolt on the pants is a winner every time.
You're probably thinking, "New Mexico has a football team?" or "Hey, that's the team Bob Davie will be coaching next year!" You're also probably correct in assuming you haven't seen the Lobos play on television in over a decade.
UNM might be terrible at football but they went with a very simple approach to their uniforms last year and look how nice it came out. Traditional striping and a solid color scheme will always bring about positive results.
Now, let's hope Bob Davie doesn't mess things up but judging by this coat I don't think we'll be that lucky.
Cal's football uniforms are a little too busy and too flashy for some, but they fit their West-Coast Berkeley style perfectly. The Bears also look good in a multitude of different combinations so they also have that going for them too.
This is a great color scheme and makes you wonder how much more appealing it would look it they simplified things a little bit.
And boy do they look better now.
Why wouldn't you wear the same uniform as Rashaan Salaam anyway?
Ole Miss Rebels
Funny thing is, they look an awful lot like the New York Giants where former Rebel Eli Manning plays today.
Conspiracy to look awesome by Peyton's little brother?
For my money La Tech has the most underrated uniforms in the country along with SMU.
The Bulldogs do it right.
Any other teams worth mentioning?