Welcome uniform junkies! For those of you who are like me, you may love college football uniforms or sports uniforms in general. I love them enough that when doing offseason work with this project, I always make sure to take into account uniforms worn by each team. For those wondering how I choose these matchups, I only use uniforms worn within the last (full) season when applicable. From that point, I have my personal quirks and preferences that you will probably start to catch onto later into the season. DISCLAIMER: I am not analyzing the uniforms worn in the real-life games. For those who want to see all of the uniform matchups, just head on over to the results page and you will find each and every one. Okay, let’s get onto it!
-Indiana @ Iowa
-Hawai’i @ UCLA (Week 0)
-Ohio State @ Minnesota
-Marshall @ Navy
-Duke @ Charlotte
10. Boise State @ UCF
Right off the bat, we get two of the flashier teams you will see on my weekly lists frequently this season. As you’ll find out I’m usually quite a traditionalist, but here is where I am willing to accept great usages of newer trends. Boise’s best color combo on the road is this, although I’m not too keen on the silver facemask. The one-sided Bronco has annoyed me a bit, but I have gotten used to it. UCF is one of the select few that can pull off gray, and do they ever here. The gold helmet is what really vaults this one into the top 10.
9. Texas Tech vs. Houston
I really like what Houston has done with their uniforms in the latest rebrand. They have cleaned up their striping, kept things consistent, and went with a strong shade of red. I would like to seem them drop the black and gray for navy, but that is besides the fact in this matchup. UH looks great in red from head to toe, and although they play the “Red” Raiders here, TTU is predominantly known for black in football. The black-white-black is a classic for Tech, and it plays off the mono-red look for the Coogs tremendously.
8. Michigan State @ Northwestern
Michigan State is one of the best-dressed teams in the country, in my opinion, provided they stay away from neon. But here, the Spartans go with their classic away look, with the stripe on the pants, and it looks fantastic. I think the Green helmet breaks up the white well, and it was smart not to go with a whiteout look against a team who uses white quite frequently. Oddly though, the Cats didn’t use any white articles against Sparty. The traditional purple “N” helmet flanking the all black is pretty sharp, and was pleasantly surprised when they opened the season last year wearing this. Lots of contrast here makes for a very aesthetically pleasing conference opener under the lights.
7. Louisiana @ Texas
Some of you may be shocked to see the Ragin’ Cajuns this high up, but ULL has one of the best Group of 5 sets in the country. They don’t play around with their combos all too often, and it works for them. The helmet has just enough personality, but not enough to overwhelm the crispness of the jerseys and pants. Texas always looks fantastic and their home burnt orange is no exception this week. Despite the lack of contrast with all of the white on display, this is still as good as these two teams can do uniform-wise, and it looks so clean.
6. Notre Dame @ Florida State
While Notre Dame is most certainly America’s least favorite team, their uniforms are nothing to sneeze at. The gold hand-painted helmets are amongst the most iconic looks in the sport, and ND has come a long way to get their pants to match the color of its helmet the best that it can. FSU went a little crazy by wearing garnet pants to match their jerseys, which I do like more than I would first admit. It’s a smart move going against a fellow gold team to ditch those traditional golden britches for a week. What FSU does need to do better is come up with a better collar design and number font to become closer what they used to wear about ten or so years ago. Regardless, this is good enough, because that beautiful speared helmet carries this combo. Should FSU make those necessary changes, this might be #1 on the list.
5. Oklahoma @ Tulane
While the game was in Norman, Tulane was technically host from all the hurricane drama. This doesn’t mean many changes for the Sooners, who just keep the helmet and pants, and change to the gorgeous white top. OU has a classic uniform, and they know that it works for them. The Jordan rebrand made things even more neat and tidy for the Sooners. Tulane, on the other hand, mixes things up quite a bit. Here, the Green Wave went with their traditional home set. The white-green-white combo looks fantastic, and I love the dark green facemask on the helmets. It pops right off to complement the jerseys so well. And who doesn’t love the Angry Wave?
4. Georgia vs. Clemson
The game of the week in college football looked the part in terms of the uniforms. Clemson rocked the traditional homes. Georgia rocked the traditional aways. What brings this matchup so high is two of the better logos in the sport. Both helmets have white facemasks that just pop right off the helmet. The black numbers on UGA’s white jerseys pop against the orange and white of the Tigers. Not a whole lot to say here, just two classics duking it out in what looked like a playoff game.
3. Alabama vs. Miami
I could see why some younger fans today don’t see Alabama’s uniforms as anything special, but I still love them and the fact they know they don’t need to change. They own this look, and the number on the helmet has become their thing now. Miami’s rebrand a few years back could not have gone better in my opinion. This set is light years better than the previous set across the board, both primaries and alternates. While the green alternate would have looked better against the Crimson of the Tide, you can’t go wrong with the traditional orange, and I loved the usage of the alternate pants to differentiate a bit from the all white look of Bama. This game looked like a classic from a uniform perspective.
2. Penn State @ Wisconsin
While I tweeted that this may be the uniform matchup of the week, I suppose it will have to settle for #2 on my list. You remember what I just said about Alabama’s uniforms not appealing to a younger audience. Enter Penn State. While PSU has another extremely simple and traditional set, I can’t get enough of it. The navy looks so rich coming off of the stormtrooper set, and it’s amazing through and through. Wisconsin has settled on a classic look of its own, and Under Armour did a fantastic job in the Badgers’ latest rebrand. The striping on the jerseys and pants always sticks out to me, and this just looks like a game that means a lot for the season. It screams Big Ten and you know exactly who’s playing the instant you turn it on.
1. LSU @ UCLA
Yeah, so the reason PSU-UW didn’t top the list was because I underestimated this gorgeous never-before-seen non-conference matchup. Holy moly, does this ever look elite. Let’s nitpick first, yes they both have the same wraparound shoulder stripes. That’s all. Now, let’s discuss the classic set both these teams have. Simple UCLA is the best UCLA, their shades of blue and gold work wonders together, and the gold facemask is something that has really grown on me during the Chip Kelly era. The white outlines on the numbers and stripes catches my eye immediately, and in a good way. LSU has probably a top 5 uniform set in college football in my eyes, and frankly I think a lot of people think that way. The purple and yellow is such an amazing color combo and the stripes being consistent throughout is perfection. Throw in the unorthodox, clean, classic helmet and you have a winner. I can’t wait for the next time these two programs face off.