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The Voice: New uniforms? Most are uniformly ugly

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgJust two games into the college football season and there has been no shortage of hot topics. Thrilling games, such as Michigan's 35-31 victory at home against Notre Dame, South Carolina's shootout with Georgia, and defending national champion Auburn pulling out a pair of close encounters have given the national pundits plenty to talk about.

Already there is chatter about Heisman Trophy candidates and BCS title game contenders. It is kind of silly, but I have to admit it is kind of fun as well. It sure beats talking about schools on probation, doesn't it?

There is one storyline that once again has reared its ugly head. It has been an ongoing problem in college football, and I am afraid it will get worse before it gets better. Of all the matters on NCAA President Mark Emmert's plate, this is one I feel strongly about -- ugly uniforms!

At this time I would like to publically thank the University of Wisconsin for keeping it simple. Yes, a couple of times the Badgers have come out with dramatically different unis, such as in the 1995 season opener against Colorado. They resembled the old Dallas Cowboys, only with different colors.

In 2005, the UW went to the throwback uniforms from the early 1960s. Actually, it was a pretty classy look, and if nothing else, at least you could read the jersey numbers.

How 'bout some of the threads we have seen so far this season? Guilty parties include Georgia in its season-opening loss to Boise State. Or how about Maryland in its first game against Miami?

As a caller to Tim Brando's national radio show observed, the Terps' helmets made the players look like crash test dummies.

And do not get me started on Oregon. I really like and respect the Ducks program, but I blame them for this trend of programs that seem to need 30 different uniform combinations.

I get the throwback thing. I actually liked the turn-back-the-clock uniforms Michigan and Notre Dame sported last Saturday.

Even the officials went with the attire of yesteryear, complete with the snappy hats. I just don't get the multi-colored, multi-combo, I-Have-No-Idea-Who-You-Are ensembles.

Thank goodness Barry Alvarez is more of a traditionalist. Sure, the Badgers' uniforms can change slightly, but the UW Athletic Director is a believer in the brand, so why mess with it? When you see the Motion W on the helmets, you know it is Wisconsin. Keep the excess junk off the jerseys too -- names, numbers and maybe a couple of stripes will do.

I must be getting old, but give me the simple uniforms such as Penn State and Alabama. If you follow college football and see those uniforms, you know who is playing, right?

Some of this is selfish. As a broadcaster, I am a big fan of jerseys with easy-to-read numbers. Give me a sharp contrast between number and shirt, and I am a happy little announcer.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine called a game involving Oregon and said it was a nightmare. The Badgers' Champs Sports Bowl game with Miami was no picnic either -- the Hurricanes' road jerseys were not fan or announcer friendly.

More importantly, I would think a fan/alum of a school takes pride in the tradition of the program.

Yes, some have a richer history than others, but unless you are an upstart program, embrace the tradition that exists.

Then again, maybe this is just another old school vs. new school issue. What do you think?


I agree that things are swiftly getting out of hand. I would be in favor of the NCAA stepping in and limiting uniforms to school colors only. No more greys and blacks for schools like OK State and Stanford. Otherwise, why have school colors at all? Just make up new uniforms for every game.

I very much agree with your sentiments, Matt. I really liked the Michigan throwbacks. I wouldn't mind seeing teams plaster a big school symbol (like Michigan's big 'M') on the front of the jersey. Otherwise, easy-to-read numerals should be mandatory. Oregon and Maryland should be banned from national TV with those ridiculous styles.