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Grading College Football’s New 2013 Uniforms

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  • F: Virginia Tech - Hokie Stone

    College football has turned into a fashion contest for many FBS programs. As such, we’ve kept track of all the notable new uniforms and helmets for the 2013 season.

    Virginia Tech’s latest, daring lids are meant to replicate the “Hokie Stone” used on buildings throughout the campus that comes from a nearby limestone quarry. While we like the nod to school history, helmets looking like the sides of buildings are just too odd for our taste. What’s next: A brick football helmet?

    As one commenter put it best on the team’s Instagram page: “Lots of meaning, but lots of ugly too.” How bad are these new lids? They might be the most ridiculous ones we’ve seen since Maryland unveiled its infamous “State Pride” uniforms in its 2011 season opener.

  • D: UConn

    UConn wasted little time in incorporating its new athletics logo — one that was met with groans by the Huskies community upon its introduction in April — into its 2013 football uniforms. This, unfortunately, is not a good thing.

    The jerseys themselves aren’t that bad at all. The subtle red trim around the numbers and the “UConn” on the chest really pops, as do the big and bold numbers. What we really can’t stand are the new helmets, on which the new UConn Husky is peering over the facemask on massive helmet stripes.

  • D+: UCLA

    It’s been a rough four-month stretch for UCLA uniforms.

    First there were the basketball team’s Zubaz-inspired threads that were unveiled in February. Less than four months after that fashion faux pas, the Bruins football team got new home jerseys that Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas described thusly: “If you like stretch marks, you’ll love UCLA’s new football jersey.”

    To us, they appear less like stretch marks and more like tire treads, as if UCLA’s players had just been run over by a vehicle of some kind - which is among the last things that a football team wants to appear like.

  • D+: Va. Tech - Military Appreciation

    Unfortunately, the less-than-stellar camouflage helmets that Virginia Tech football unveiled in April have a similarly unsightly uniform to go with it.

    We have nothing but utmost respect for the Hokies’ decision to team up with Nike to design these uniforms for their Military Appreciation Day matchup against Marshall on September 21st. We just wish the end product didn’t make it look like the team was getting ready to go duck hunting.

    Exacerbating our dislike of these threads is the fact that they look so much less appealing than the awesome camo helmets and jerseys the Hokies wore last year.

  • C-: Ole Miss

    Apparently the Rebels are sporting new uniforms for the 2013 season. If we hadn’t been told, we wouldn’t have noticed at all.

    The only major changes from a year ago are alterations to the jersey-pants combinations and an extension of the dual stripes running down each shoulder — which, in our opinion, is a downgrade from before.

    Judging by the vacant expressions on the faces of the players modeling the new threads (QB Bo Wallace in particular), even they couldn’t get excited over the new threads.

  • C-: Nevada

    We weren’t crazy about Nevada’s announcement earlier this summer that it’d primarily be wearing a white helmet for the 2013 season. We’re similarly nonplussed about their new uniforms overall.

    The Wolf Pack’s jerseys and pants come in navy blue, white and gray. The jerseys — with thin piping going around the shoulders and either “Nevada” or “Wolf Pack” in tiny print over the rounded numbers — is something we’re accustomed to seeing high school teams wear.

    On the plus side, Nevada is keeping its blue helmet around for some occasions. Alas, that doesn’t make up for the rest of the uniforms.

  • C-: Buffalo

    The Bulls’ new uniforms - part of an athletic department-wide push to make the UB program significantly more New York State-centric - is one part good news, another part horrible news.

    First the good: The new helmet is a very handsome matte blue. While the color isn’t much different from what it was before and the interlocking “UB” decal remains unchanged, the matte finish makes it a noticeable improvement and worthy of an A- grade.

    Then there’s the bad: The Bulls’ effort to cram “State University of New York Buffalo” onto the jersey above the numbers and below the collar is a laughable one (we gave it a D-grade). It resembles one of those “Hello My Name Is…” name tags people are forced to wear at corporate retreats.

  • C-: Cincinnati

    We’re not too enthused about the Tommy Tuberville Era at Cincinnati. Perhaps fittingly, we have the exact same sentiment toward the Bearcats’ helmets for their season opener against.

    The predominantly all-white lid is embarrassingly bare. Not helping matters is the predominantly white decal. A good decal shouldn’t look like a sticker — which is exactly what this looks like.

    Paired with Cincy’s all-white uniforms, the helmet will serve one useful purpose: Keeping the Bearcats cool on a hot and muggy gameday. That’s the only positive we see.

  • C-: Houston

    The addition of a white helmet is OK but the new uniforms are just trying too hard. The Cougars would have been much better off with home and away jerseys in one solid color rather than alternative between red and white for the shoulders and the rest of the shirt.

    Like the football program in general, Houston’s uniforms appear to be headed in the wrong direction.

  • C-: Virginia Tech

    2012 was a rough year for Virginia Tech in the style department, with one fashion faux pas after another (particularly when it came to helmets). And unfortunately, we’re not crazy about what the Hokies could possibly be wearing against Alabama on Saturday night in Atlanta.

    Virginia Tech might be taking the Georgia Dome field in all-gray uniforms — ones that are similar in design to those worn by West Virginia last year.

    But unlike those Mountaineers threads, Virginia Tech’s are just depressing. The maroon and orange clash with the gray background, and the “VT” at the top of the chest is larger-than-desirable.

  • C-: Arizona State

    Arizona State’s new football helmets for the Sun Devils’ “Shamrock Series” matchup against Notre Dame are straight out of hell.

    Instead of its normal pitchfork helmet, the Sun Devils will be wearing black lids adorned with a giant yellow fireball. Adding to the pizzazz, each helmet is designed unique to each player so that no two lids are exactly alike. The finished product looks like a bowling ball or something you’d see on a biker’s motorcycle helmet instead of a college football lid.

    In our opinion, there’s just way too much clutter. Are we the only ones that miss the days of the simplistic “Sparky” logo on Arizona State’s lids?

  • C-: Wyoming

    We commend Wyoming for recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness month by placing a pink cowboy on the sides of its helmets. It’s just an awful same that the resulting clash of colors is one of the worst we’ve seen on a college football uniform.

    UniWatch’s Paul Lukas refers to the ensuing look as the three P’s: Pee, poo and pink. It’s an ugly descriptor for a pretty ugly uniform that’s only saved by the noble cause it’s worn for.

  • C-: Memphis - Tiger Stripe Lids

    We’ve never been shy about expressing our disapproval of any uniform that resembles Zubaz pants. So imagine our horror when Memphis - which has had an under-the-radar number of new uniforms this season - decided to put the design on its helmets. And mix it with silver chrome.

    We get that they’re the Tigers and all that. But when we look at this, we don’t see a football helmet. We see something that better resembles a designer bowling ball.

  • C: UMass

    We commend the Minutemen for buying into Breast Cancer Awareness month and adding a tinge of pink to the logo on the sides of their helmets. Alas, it’s also a reminder of how underwhelmed we are with their decal choice. Why they don’t revert to the classic script “UMass” - the one that fans became familiar with when John Calipari was the school’s men’s basketball coach - is beyond us.

    On the plus side, at least the memories of these helmets will be nice. While wearing them, the Minutemen defeated Miami (OH), 17-10, on October 12th for their first win of the season.

  • C: Southern Miss

    The Golden Eagles’ new uniforms — unveiled as part of USM’s April announcement that it would be switching from Nike to Russell Athletic as its new athletic apparel supplier — is a classic example of “What if?”

    As in ... what if the new jerseys only had the yellow stripes surrounding the shoulders instead of that and the thin line (white for the black home jerseys and black for the white away jerseys) running from either armpit to the shoulder blades? It wouldn’t be a runaway hit, but it would certainly look better (i.e. much less cluttered) than it does.

    We get the sense that higher-ups in Beaverton, OR, had a good laugh the first time they saw what USM will look like in Year One of its post-Swoosh era.

  • C: Florida Atlantic

    The Owls actually boast a nice color scheme on their new helmet. Their blue and red combine well with the gray stripe running down the middle as well as the gray facemask.

    FAU falls short, however, with what it decided to put on the sides. One the right side is an ugly rendering of an owl, one that’s a bit overly detailed to be a helmet decal. On the left side is each player’s number - which would look good if it wasn’t for the logo on the other side.

    That’s our real issue with this lid: FAU should have really gone with only the owl or the numbers. By trying to have it all and go with both, the Owls made it look rather clunky.

  • C: Illinois

    The Illini have rocked the uninspiring, underlined “Illinois” helmet since 1989, so we were hoping for something a little bolder with their new lids. Like the team’s 2-10 record last year under first-year HC Tim Beckman, it’s disappointing.

    The blue block “I” on either side of the new helmet is akin to what a Pop Warner team would sport. If the Illini are so sold on this design, they should stick with the handsome matte blue lid instead of the orange one.

    While we’re happy to hear that the matte blue model will be used as an alternate lid this season, we’d be happier if it was the primary one.

  • C: Akron

    Akron’s alternate helmet - first worn against FCS James Madison on September 7th - gets points for creativity even if the end product is pretty weird.

    The Zips’ one-of-a-kind nickname is actually short for “Zippers,” which UA athletics went by from 1926-1949 (so named for a best-selling shoe manufactured by the local B.F. Goodrich Company). It may be a quirky history, but Akron was nonetheless intent on paying tribute to it with helmets whose center stripes resembles a half zipped-up zipper.

    Akron surely felt lucky that JMU didn’t catch it with its fly down. The Zips needed a failed two-point conversion from the Dukes late to survive an upset, 35-33.

  • C: Miami (OH)

    The normally staid RedHawks went all sorts of crazy in overhauling their uniforms.

    First there’s the helmet - which, from afar, resembles a bowling ball. A closer inspection up close reveals that the design encompassing the entire lid is meant to resemble feathers. And in case that wasn’t enough for casual fans to know who they’re watching, the program’s block “M” is planted squarely on the forehead, with “Miami” spelled out in its entirety on the back.

    But wait, there’s more! “Miami” is also spelled out across the shoulders of the jersey, from left to right. Boldness is often applause-worthy, but in this case we just want to shake our heads.

  • C: Temple - Liberty Bell Lids

    Being Philadelphia’s preeminent public university, Temple wanted to show that it is one with the City of Brotherly Love. Hence its decision to put a rendering of that most Philadelphia of symbols, the Liberty Bell, on the sides of the Owls’ football helmets.

    Alas, the inspiring artifact is hardly displayed in inspiring fashion. The best that Temple could come up with was a dinky little decal? Why not make a dramatically bigger and more abstract rendering, as is the trend in college football these days?

    Not helping matter is how the Owls got their bell rung (pun intended) the first time they worse these, losing to Cincinnati 38-20 to drop to 0-6 on the season.

  • C: Ohio

    In honor of the 90th edition of its “Battle of the Bricks” rivalry with Miami (OH) on Saturday, Ohio is outfitting itself appropriately.

    The Bobcats’ “White Out” jerseys consist of a brick-like design on both the players’ numbers and their undershirts. The idea to pay tribute to this underrated rivalry was a good one, but the execution is lacking. To us, it looks less like bricks and more like the jerseys that were run over by a car.

  • C: Nevada - Battle Born

    Nevada gave in to two uniform trends in advance of their 2013 rivalry game with UNLV: chrome and “dueling designs” on either side of the lid.

    With just the Wolfpack logo, this chrome helmet would’ve looked just fine. Where the whole thing falls through is the “Battle Born” insignia, inspired by the state’s nickname (it was founded during the Civil War). While such a design would look great for a biker gang, it falls flat on the side of a football helmet.

    Additionally, considering that Nevada lost control of the Fremont Cannon to the Rebels for the first time in eight years with a 27-22 loss, this lid isn’t going to elicit any fond memories anytime soon.

  • C: Texas Tech - Lone Survivor

    In terms of concept/cause, Texas Tech’s “Lone Survivor” uniforms get an A+. They’ll be worn on Nov. 9 vs. Kansas State in honor of the Lone Survivor Foundation, which supports service members and their families. The foundation’s motto, “Never Quit,” will be on the nameplates of all player uniforms.

    Alas, from a stylistic standpoint, the uniforms are pretty ugly. Additionally, the helmet (which resembles the TCU alternate helmets from earlier this season) is way too busy, with words written all over it and three red stripes.

    We expect a Kliff Kingsbury-led program to have a better fashion sense.

  • C: Northern Illinois

    In its biggest game of the regular season, a November 13th matchup with Ball State that will determine the MAC West champion, Northern Illinois will unfortunately take the field at Huskie Stadium in uniforms that epitomize “overkill.”

    While we have nothing but respect for NIU hosting a Military Appreciation Day game, how they chose to express it on the uniforms just feels tacked on (the cool “Active Heroes” nameplate on the jerseys notwithstanding). The American flag design on both the “NIU” part of the helmet decal and the sam pattern along the shoulders looks more like a set of pajamas, not a football uniform.

    How much would it stink if the Huskies’ hopes of crashing the BCS for a second straight season are dashed when they’re wearing this?

  • C: Toledo

    The Rockets teamed up with Under Armour to design a uniform for the “Power in Pink” campaign - which raises money for breast cancer research - to be worn against Northern Illinois on November 20th. As far as uniforms saluting breast cancer research and awareness go, this is one of our least favorites of the 2013 season.

    Toledo would have been better off going with a predominantly pink uniform rather than lining it with the color. Moreover, superimposing all those ribbons on the shoulders of the jerseys, along the sides of the pants and on the facemask is a bit much.

    Not helping matters is that this is being worn nearly three weeks following the conclusion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

  • C+: Arizona

    The Wildcats’ rather plain uniforms of recent memory were definitely in need of an overhaul. But in doing so, the UA brass was guilty of out-thinking itself.

    While the new typography of the numbers is to be commended, the use of Arizona’s colors (cardinal red and navy blue) is not. The two-toned, rainbow-style design is too choppy and trippy for our liking. We know that such a look will play well on TV, but it comes at the expense of any fans watching the Wildcats up close.

  • C+: UCF

    We understand the Knights’ desire to wear something minimalist after sporting clunkers for the last few years. But in paring down its look, Central Florida almost went too far - to the point that its new uniforms resemble something you’d see a high school team wearing.

    At least UCF gets points for variety. The new threads come in white (left), gold and black. That counts for something, right?

    The same day that the new jerseys were unveiled was also when Knights fans caught a first glimpse of the prototype for an alternate black-and-gold helmet the team will sport at some point in 2013. It’s an odd design, especially the prominence of the gold stripe down the middle. Not odd in a cool, quirky way, either. Just odd.

  • B-: Oregon State

    It wasn’t just Oregon State’s football team that changed its image. The entire athletic department underwent a rebranding — known as a “reBeav” — in a clear effort to keep up with archrival Oregon in the uniform arms race (as much as that’s possible).

    Unfortunately, with that comes some classic examples of Nike overkill — the most apparent of which is the striped pattern going down the middle of all three helmets. We’re also not a fan of the new “Beavershark” logo, and thus the white helmet featuring a decal of it is our least favorite of the three.

    Now, on to the good. Both the all-orange uniforms with a chrome orange lid (sans “Beavershark” decal) and the all-black uniforms with the black matte helmet (also sans decal) really pop. So at the very least, the Beavers will look good at home games.

  • B-: Indiana

    The Hoosiers came down with an Oregon-esque case of Football Helmet Fever in advance of the 2013 season.

    When five new lids were unveiled on June 3rd, none got as big a reaction as IU’s new chrome lid, designed to pay tribute to the iconic candy-striped warm-up pants made popular by Indiana’s men’s basketball team.

    We’re also high on the red helmet with the Indiana state flag logo on one side and the player’s uniform number on the other (middle left photo). It’s both a classy and symbolic look. Alas, we’re not blown away by the other three alternate helmets: A red helmet with a giant block “I” on either side and white helmets with a large red stripe down the middle and either a) the interlocking “IU” logo or b) the player’s uniform number on either side.

  • B-: Wake Forest

    We had heard as far back as March that the Demon Deacons would be unveiling two alternate helmets they would use during the 2013 season in conjunction with their normal, glossy back lid. Yet what was revealed as the actual, non-prototype helmets two months later turned out to be different from what we expected.

    The matte black lid is pretty sharp. The almost-interlocking, black-with-gold outline “WF” decal really pops. While the glossy, all-white version of this doesn’t look half bad, we were really hoping that the all-white lid with a glaring Demon Deacon staring out from the side (one of the prototypes revealed in March) would come to fruition.

    Imagine our disappointment when it didn’t turn out that way.

  • B-: Memphis

    The Tigers left it up to members of the university’s Alumni Association to vote on new uniforms. The winning combinations were definite stylistic upgrades over the staid threads that Memphis has worn in recent seasons.

    There are prominent tiger stripes both on the outside of the shoulders and running down the seams of the pants of both the blue home and white away uniforms. In addition, the Tigers might wear one of two alternate helmets in addition to their standby lid.

    One is a shiny, predominantly blue model with a chrome silver stripe down the middle, a chrome silver block “M” on one side and chrome silver numbers on the other. The other is a predominantly chrome silver model with a blue stripe down the middle and a blue block “M” with black tiger stripes on either side. We like the unis but the helmets look a little cheap, in our opinion.

  • B-: Wisconsin

    For at least two games in 2013, Wisconsin is flip-flopping the look of its helmet.

    At a team meeting during the latter part of fall camp, first-year head coach Gary Andersen unveiled an alternate lid on which the two stripes down the middle, “W” decal on the side and facemask are white while the rest is predominantly red. (The Badgers have long worn helmets that are the other way around.)

    Andersen told the team that they’d wear the alternate lids for the September 7th game against FCS Tennessee Tech and at least one other game this season. While it’s a good effort to change things up, we share the Badgers players’ non-enthused reaction in this video.

  • B-: Louisiana

    Winners of two straight New Orleans Bowls, the Ragin’ Cajuns will be sporting one of five different lids in pursuit of their first Sun Belt Conference title since 2005.

    We’re fans of the fact that three of the four new helmets feature a Fleur-de-lis on the side - the lids come in predominantly red, white and black - rather than the staid “Ragin’ Cajuns.” We liked the look a lot during UL’s blackout game against Western Kentucky last November, and we’re happy to see its return.

    The jerseys, on the other hand, don’t do it for us. Just as it did at Southern Miss, Russell Athletic went overboard with the piping on and around the shoulders. Most teams these days are doing away with that (to our approval), so it continues to surprise us why Russell is choosing to emphasize it instead.

  • B-: Memphis - Black Alternates

    When it comes to all-black uniforms, we’re of the “less is more” school. They should be sleek yet understated and not try to combine too many elements.

    It’s in this latter regard that Memphis’ all-black threads, first worn in its 31-7 victory over Arkansas State on September 21st, fall short. The Tiger stripes going down the sides of the pants and on the shoulders of the jersey are too much, as are the silver chrome helmets with a Tiger stripe down the middle.

    All-black uniforms are at their best when they’re actually all-black, not partially.

  • B-: Miami (FL)

    Long associated with its “through the smoke” entrance prior to home games, Miami (FL) unveiled a new set of uniforms against Virginia Tech on November 9th that paid tribute to one of the best known pregame rituals in college football.

    Alas, they left us rather underwhelmed. We love the orange and green of the Hurricanes’ color scheme, thus it feels like a waste to have a dark gray uniform to change things up. That being said, the gradient helmets are pretty cool.

    Considering that “The U” was beaten down in these uniforms by the Hokies, 42-24, we might not see these again for awhile.

  • B-: SMU

    There’s nothing particularly wrong about the all-red alternate helmets SMU broke out against UConn on November 16th. Alas, there’s nothing particularly special about them either.

    If you go around football-mad Texas, we wouldn’t be shocked if you stumbled upon several high schools whose helmets look just like this. One predominant color with an outline of a horse on it? Yeah, we’ve seen that many times before.

  • B-: Ohio State

    Ohio State is taking their Nike Pro Combat uniforms on the road with them in a white version when they travel to Ann Arbor on November 30th for “The Game” vs. Michigan.

    As you can see, it’s the same design the Buckeyes wore last year vs. the Wolverines, except the uniforms have a “Stormtrooper” quality to them with the white jerseys and pants. The unis aren’t bad but are a little goofy.

    And personally, we don’t think either Ohio State or Michigan should ever wear alternate uniforms for arguably the greatest rivalry in college football.

  • B: Nebraska

    Once confined to members of the first-team defense in practice, “blackshirts” will be worn by every Cornhusker player on September 14th. In a live game, no less.

    The black Adidas TECHFIT jerseys the team will take the field with against UCLA on September 14th feature “white stencil font numbers” while the Cornhuskers’ matte white helmet features a “wide black stripe, stencil numbers and a face mask that fades from red to matte black.”

    We imagine that Nebraska’s players will freak out the first time they see these threads hanging from their lockers, as tends to be the reaction of today’s college football players whenever they get all-back jerseys. While we don’t hate these, we’re only moderately enthused about them.

  • B: South Alabama

    After sporting uniforms that better resembled a high school team’s than that of a college football program, South Alabama is taking a marked step up in its first season in the Sun Belt Conference.

    USA’s new home jerseys are solid red, with none of the superfluous piping around the armpits like in previous years. The “Jaguars” splashed across the chest is much smaller, but the font is much more modern-looking. The biggest improvement comes in the helmets.

    The ugly, almost entirely all-white model from a year ago (including the Jaguars decal) has been done away with. Although still predominantly white, there’s now a red-blue-red stripe pattern down the middle and “Jags” written boldly on the side.

  • B: Louisiana-Monroe

    One of the preseason favorites to win the new-look Sun Belt Conference in 2013, ULM took a “less is more” approach in streamlining its uniforms following its first winning season ever as an FBS team.

    Gone is the superfluous piping that both the jerseys and the pants featured in recent years. It’s now one solid, predominant color — maroon for the home jerseys, white for the away ones. (The pants are always solid white.)

    It’s not a huge change from what we saw last year, but a noticeable one nonetheless. And we’re always supportive whenever a team wants to cut down on the clutter with its uniform design.

  • B: Texas Tech

    You didn’t think that Under Armour was going to miss out on the opportunity to outfit Texas Tech in brand new uniforms for Kliff Kingsbury’s debut season as head coach, did you?

    There are three differences from last year’s uniforms we spotted. 1) The 2013 home uniforms displayed come in black, as opposed to the red that TTU wore a lot last season; 2) A red stripe cuts down the middle of the helmets; 3) Whereas the piping on last year’s jerseys and pants curved a lot, this year’s is straighter and more geometrical in a “Guns Up” pattern on the shoulders.

    The helmets now have a red stripe down the middle. Overall, the new look is a modest upgrade.

  • B: South Carolina

    In advance of one of the most anticipated seasons in program history, South Carolina’s new uniforms got a makeover that, simultaneously, pay tribute to the university as a whole.

    The multi-stripe pattern that spanned the jersey’s collarbone last year has been done away with in favor of a skinnier, more subtle pattern that’s moved to the shoulder blades.

    In total, there are 11 stripes on the jersey, pants and helmet. Under Armour designed it this way as a tribute to the 11 buildings on “The Horseshoe,” the most famous part of South Carolina’s campus in Columbia.

  • B: Notre Dame

    The Irish’s 2012 Shamrock Series uniforms were a complete disaster. So imagine our surprise upon seeing the 2013 edition of the threads - to be worn on October 5th against Arizona State - and being, dare we say, somewhat impressed.

    Adidas and Notre Dame went with a more conservative look this time around with a shimmery gold background, golden chrome shamrock and green facemask for the helmet. The uniforms are all-white with gold numbers and a gold shamrock on the shoulders, making both really pop on the white.

    Our only complaint is the chrome shamrock on the helmet that makes it look like Notre Dame’s logo is a shamrock-shaped mirror. But compared to last year’s hideous alternate uniforms, this will definitely do just fine.

  • B: Tennessee

    Ironically, the first team that was able to pull off Adidas’ new, seemingly tire tread-inspired uniforms without us panning it is a team who we wouldn’t have thought needed a new uniform at all.

    Tennessee’s new alternate uniforms are a “smoky gray” on which the orange, particularly the jersey numbers, really pops. Heck, the tire treads-like design on the upper part of the jersey doesn’t look half-bad when it’s in gray.

    There is one thing, however, that we would change about the ensemble: Giving the Vols an alternate helmet to go along with the jerseys and pants, as their traditional white-and-orange lid clashes with it. If they do something such as what one Redditor suggested, the overall grade will go up accordingly.

  • B: UTSA

    We weren’t big fans of the initial design on UT-San Antonio’s football helmets. In fact, we ranked the lids No. 6 on our 2012 list of College Football’s Top 10 Ugliest Helmets.

    So we’re happy to see that the Roadrunners are changing things up to make the helmet much more unique to their program. Gone is the Baltimore Ravens-like decal on the sides. It’s been replaced by an outline of the state of Texas — with a star signifying San Antonio’s location — and “UTSA” splashed across the whole thing.

    The program’s ongoing transition from being nonexistent to being a respectable FBS program continues.

  • B: Middle Tennessee St.

    In their first year in Conference USA, the Blue Raiders will don white helmets for the first time since 1978 - and with two different lids to boot.

    First up is a plain white model that the team plans to wear for “a couple games” during the 2013 season. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but the blue interlocking “MT” decal pops nicely. In addition, MTSU has also designed a stars-and-stripes lid for its November 9th matchup with Florida International.

    While it’s not the coolest thing ever, Blue Raider players will no doubt appreciate the new variety.

  • B: Texas

    This season marks 50 years since Texas captured the 1963 national title. The 2013 Longhorns squad is paying tribute to the ’63 team on Saturday against New Mexico State — and could continue to do so throughout the season.

    In addition to the classic burnt orange Longhorn decal, the sides of each player’s helmet will contain their uniform number — just as it was back in the days of Tommy Nobis. Head coach Mack Brown has said that the team will later vote on whether to sport the throwback helmets for just this game or the entire season.

    Either way, it’s always cool to bring back a classic.

  • B: NC State

    In honor of Military Appreciation Day on September 7th, the Wolfpack will face FCS Richmond in stars-and-stripes inspired helmets.

    There’s nothing particularly unique or special about the new lids in comparison to the glut of American flag-inspired helmets that have cropped up recently. Nor is it bad, either. It was wise of NC State to show restraint and keep the “N” and “C” white while making the large “S” the only letter to have the flag pattern.

  • B: Texas Tech - Alternate Gray

    While we thought the Red Raiders’ new, regular Under Armour uniforms represented a modest upgrade over years pasts, we’ve taken a shining to their alternate gray threads.

    Yes, the gray fad is getting played out. But the design of the pants, jerseys and helmet is the same as the regular uniforms, but there’s something about the way that red pops on the gray threads. Same goes with the predominantly gray lid.

    We also imagine that TTU has to be getting some good vibes from this look after the team sported it during an upset of 24th-ranked TCU on September 12th.

  • B: Arkansas State

    As far as all-gray uniforms go, the Red Wolves’ new alternate threads are halfway decent. The predominant gray is a good combo with ASU’s red numbers and letters on the jersey as well as with the matte black helmets and black pants.

    One of the reasons that these uniforms only earn a B is the negative memory associated with their debut. Arkansas State got blown out by Auburn, 38-9, on September 7th - a game in which the all-gray look was deemed too similar in contrast to the Tigers’ home blue uniforms, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the Red Wolves at the start of both halves.

  • B: Syracuse

    We’re not the biggest fans of the two-toned helmets that have started popping up around football (starting with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ new lid for the 2013 season). That being said, what Syracuse first sported in its 52-17 demolition of Tulane on September 21st isn’t awful.

    The blue and orange go really well together on the predominantly matte lid, and the orange finish toward the back of the helmet isn’t awful. Plus, the most important thing is that the players love these.

    “I loved the helmets,” wide receiver Ashton Broyld told Syracuse.com. “I wish we could play in them every day. We get to play in these? We got to win in them.”

  • B: Georgia Tech

    It wouldn’t be much of a 100th anniversary stadium for Georgia Tech’s Grant Field at Bobby Dodd Stadium if the yellow jackets didn’t have throwback jerseys to go along with it.

    GT’s jerseys for its September 26th home game against Virginia Tech are very similar to those worn by Dodd’s teams during the 1950s (photo below) - a decade that saw the Yellow Jackets win one of their four claimed national titles (in 1952) as well as reach three Sugar Bowls and one Orange Bowl.

    If Georgia Tech can wake up the echoes of those Bobby Dodd teams while sporting threads that pay tribute to them, all the better.

  • B: Temple - Diamond Helmets

    Temple’s Liberty Bell decal helmets from earlier this year were a clear homage to a beloved Philadelphia artifact. The Owls’ “Diamond Helmets” worn against Army, however, require a great deal more explanation.

    One of school founder Russell Conwell’s bigger claims to fame was his “Acres of Diamonds” speech. First published in 1890, it argued that “the resources to achieve all good things are present in one’s own community.”

    Fittingly, Temple shone for the first time all season when they wore these helmets, defeating Army 33-14 for its first win of the year.

  • B: Hawaii

    Having returned to its old “Rainbow Warriors” nickname this past offseason, Hawaii is also bringing back a football uniform of yore on which the school’s nickname is fully displayed.

    UH will take the field for its “Retro Night” matchup against San Diego State on November 16th in jerseys very similar to those worn as far back as the 1950s. Rainbows run over each of the shoulders and stand out handsomely from the dark green jersey. Under Armour didn’t do a great job of recapturing the old uniforms but we love the idea behind it.

  • B: Texas Tech - Lone Star Uniforms

    For the second straight year, the Red Raiders are sporting “Lone Star” uniforms against in-state rival Texas courtesy of Under Armour. And for the second straight year, our reaction is “not bad but not great.”

    The same multicolored star design that we saw on last year’s version of this uniform returns, only its on a predominantly all white uniform (since TTU is traveling to Austin for this year’s game). The new matte helmet with the numbers on the side and the stripe running down the middle is a nice addition to the ensemble. We’ll give it that much.

  • B: Army and Navy

    Both Army (with its Battle of the Bulge-inspired threads) and Navy (an officer-inspired look) pulled out all the stops with their rivalry game uniforms last year. This year’s look for both teams is much more tempered.

    The Black Knights’ uniforms don’t differ too much from their normal threads, save for the dark gray pants and neck lining (both of which are a nice touch). The Midshipmen, meanwhile, will simply wear an inverted, home version of the road unis they donned last year.

    Neither look is the most over-the-top, creative thing in the world but the unis are sharp nonetheless.

  • B+: San Diego State

    We weren’t too crazy about either the home or away uniforms the Aztecs wore during their pleasantly surprising 9–4 season in 2012. Looking to stay atop the Mountain West standings in 2013, SDSU took a small but significant step up in the looks department.

    The skinny red stripe that ran from the armpits to the waist and the outside of the shoulders has been replaced by an old school-looking, alternating three-stripe pattern — red-white-red on the home uniforms, black-red-black on the away ones — on the shoulder blades. (The same pattern also appears on the sides of the pants.)

    It evokes memories of the uniforms from the Marshall Faulk Era. This is definitely a good thing.

  • B+: Western Kentucky

    After sporting some uber-staid red and white uniforms for the past few seasons, the Hilltoppers are taking a big step up in style in Year One of the Bobby Petrino Era.

    WKU’s new uniforms feature jerseys and pants that come in red, white and black. The font and numbering is sharper and more modern-looking than before, the colors pop more and (coolest of all) a watermark-like Aerographic containing WKU’s school seal is visible in the numbers on the front and back.

    The silver chrome helmet with a red facemask also represents a big upgrade.

  • B+: Western Michigan

    First-year Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck is serious about that “Row the Boat” team mantra — so much so that it’s a noticeable part of the Broncos’ sharp new uniforms.

    All three of WMU’s new helmets — which come in all-matte black, matte brown with a white facemask and white with a brown facemask — have corresponding mini-stickers of crossed oars that will be given out for individual achievements.

    By themselves, the helmets — with a Bronco rendering on the left side and the player’s uniform number on the right (a noticeable helmet design trend this offseason) — are pretty nice. As are the jerseys and the pants, with our particular favorite being the all-back home look with gold lettering.

  • B+: New Mexico State

    The sorry state of New Mexico State football might be best summed up by the helmet the Aggies wore over the past four seasons: A crimson lid with “NM State” written on the side that made you cover your eyes at how boring it was.

    It remains to be seen if NMSU can turn things around in the win column. For now, they’ll be satisfied with making a nice upgrade to those yawn-inducing lids. The helmet decals now feature the school’s mascot, Pistol Pete, above “Aggies” and a de-emphasized “New Mexico State.” The coolest feature is the stripe going down the lid, one featuring a pattern of crisscrossed guns.

    Regardless of win total, first-year head coach Doug Martin can hold his head high about at least one thing this season.

  • B+: Mississippi State

    We were on the fence about the possibility of Mississippi State sporting gold chrome lids for the 2013 Egg Bowl against Ole Miss. What the Bulldogs are actually wearing against their in-state rivals turned out to be a lot better.

    Mississippi State will sport all-maroon uniforms (last year they wore all-white), but with a nice subtle nod to the game’s “Golden Egg” trophy: The numbers on the Bulldogs’ jerseys (front and back) are in gold. In addition, gold is prominent on the players’ gloves.

    These pay tribute to what the Egg Bowl means to State without going over the top. Job well done.

  • B+: TCU

    TCU is continuing its transition from a non-BCS darling to powerhouse football program with new uniforms and helmets for its season opener against LSU.

    First, there’s a matte black lid and crazy horned design that some are calling the “shattered glass” look. The lid also includes a red diagonal stripe – paying homage to the fact horned frogs shoot blood out of their eyes – and “TCU” across the back.

    The uniforms include red, which isn’t a school color but is now prominently incorporated into the new look – especially the gloves. The shoulders also have the “shattered glass” look and the numbers have a horny watermark imprint.

    The red stripe is a little too random for us, but otherwise the look is very clean but cutting edge.

  • B+: Temple - Matte White Lids

    Temple had a rough start to its 2013 season in a 28–6 loss to No. 14 Notre Dame, but at the very least the Owls looked pretty spiffy.

    First-year head coach Matt Rhule’s troops sported all-white matte helmets with Temple’s block “M” logo in cherry and a very subtle plumage design in metallic gray. While the normal helmets aren’t awful, we’re sure that the Owls players won’t mind having these white ones as alternates.

  • B+: Kansas - Alternate Grays

    The Jayhawks are responsible for one of the bigger (and more successful) uniform overhauls this season. One alternate look that wasn’t part of the initial unveil in July is a pretty good-looking gray ensemble.

    It’s the same uniform design that another Adidas client, UCLA, first unveiled in June (a few other schools have since revealed their own). What’s nice about these Jayhawks threads is that the tire-tread like design isn’t nearly as apparent amid the gray. In addition, the blue numbers really pop.

  • B+: SMU

    Forget for a moment that SMU’s success as a football program in the 1980s was almost entirely sullied by scandal an the ensuing “death penalty.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a Mustangs fan from that era without long-lasting memories of RB Eric Dickerson and company dominating their competition in their sky blue jerseys.

    Those jerseys will be coming back on October 5th for SMU’s home game against Rutgers, in which they’ll pay tribute to the team from 1983 (the year after Dickerson left for the NFL). In light of how much the Mustangs’ current, predominantly red home jerseys put us to sleep, we’re happy to see the return of the blue threads.

  • B+: Texas & OU - Red River Unis

    There’s some extra shine to the 2013 edition of the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas.

    Both the Sooners and the Longhorns feature jerseys on which the numbers are bordered by a gold trim. It’s all a nod to the Golden Hat, the golden replica of a 10-gallon cowboy hat that the teams compete for every year. And on both burnt orange and crimson, it looks pretty sharp.

  • B+: New Mexico State - All-Pink

    Every year, New Mexico State University runs the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign to support breast cancer research. On October 19th, the Aggies football team is buying into the initiative and then some, wearing all-pink jerseys against Rice.

    And you know what? The Aggies make them look pretty good. With college teams continuing to raise breast cancer awareness with their threads, it’s only a matter of time before another team also decides to go all-pink.

  • B+: Houston - Halloween Unis

    Houston’s first nationally televised game as a member of the AAC happens to fall on Halloween night. The Cougars are getting in the spirit of the holiday with some All Hollows’ Eve-inspired threads.

    UH’s all-black with red trim jerseys and pants are pretty nice, even if we’ve seen the look before. What the Cougars really get points for are the helmets, whose red-and-orange hue makes it resemble an actual pumpkin. It’s as if a whole team of Headless Horsemen will be suiting up against South Florida.

  • B+: Illinois - Military Appreciation Helmets

    The outline of the state of Illinois would be enough to make what the Illini wore against Ohio State on November 16th an upgrade over their normal lids. The ten stars arranged to form a letter “I” makes it a legitimately admirable alternate helmet.

    Each of the ten stars represents an Illinois football player who died in combat. It’s one of the more clever military appreciation uniforms we’ve seen this season.

  • B+: Cincinnati - Chrome Helmets

    For the second year in a row, Cincinnati earned a berth in the Belk Bowl. And for the second year in a row, the Bearcats commemorated the occasion with a new helmet.

    Whereas last year’s cat scratch-inspired lid was all sorts of over-the-top, this year’s model is much more simple: A predominantly red chrome helmet with a simple black stripe down the middle and the Bearcats logo on either side.

    It’s simple yet elegant, a more-than-worthy choice for a Cincy bowl game.

  • A-: BYU

    BYU fans eager to see the program return to its glory days under Lavell Edwards will be delighted at what they get to see during the “Holy War” against Utah on September 21st.

    For that game, the Cougars will return to the same navy blue jerseys and helmets that they wore from the 1970s to 1999 — during which time they won their lone national title (1984) and saw QB Ty Detmer break a host of NCAA passing records (among other accomplishments).

    The current design of the jersey remains unchanged; it’s the color (from navy blue to royal blue) that’s different. The return of royal blue is sure to be a welcome one in Provo.

  • A-: West Virginia

    The Mountaineers’ recent uniforms were very stripe-heavy. In overhauling their look, they removed that clutter in favor of something much simpler yet bolder.

    West Virginia will get to choose between three different helmets, jerseys and pants this season (for a possible 27 combinations). All three lids — white, blue and yellow — come in matte, which you know by this point we always appreciate. (Side note: It’s the Mountaineers’ first white helmet since 1979 and first “gold” helmet since ’78.)

    The jerseys themselves are a nice mixture of old and new. They are all predominantly one color save for the outer part of either shoulder, and the numbering jumps out at you a lot more than before.

  • A-: North Carolina

    It’s safe to say, judging from their reaction upon getting a first glimpse, that North Carolina players love their new uniforms. And we give them high marks as well.

    Overall, the Tar Heels’ new threads just look more modern — but without completely abandoning UNC’s rich heritage. The numbers are bigger and bolder (in black rather than white) and the helmets are snazzier. Yet the whole look is still centered around Carolina’s timeless interlocking “NC” logo.

    For a program that enjoyed a fine first season under head coach Larry Fedora last year, these new uniforms came around at the perfect time.

  • A-: Southern Miss Alternate

    The Golden Eagles turned to their fans to try and help erase memories of a historically bad 0-12 season last year with a “Rise to the Top” campaign that’s meant to encourage more fan interaction with the USM football program. Fans more than lived up to that billing in voting on a new Southern Miss alternate helmet.

    An inverse of their normal lid (black background with white lettering and yellow stripes) - the Golden Eagles’ new alternate lid is a yellow background with black lettering and black stripes. It looks delightfully retro.

    Southern Miss fans are certainly hoping their team can bring back the clock and start winning again.

  • A-: Arkansas

    The overall look of the Razorbacks’ red home uniforms isn’t altered too drastically. There is, however, one minor housekeeping aspect to them that was taken care of this offseason.

    Gone is the top-to-bottom, white-to-grayish gradient on the jersey numbers. It wasn’t an awful look, but it was completely unnecessary.

    And in a year in which the Hogs hope to get past the unwanted drama and complications of life under predecessors Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith, cleaning up the uniforms is one place to start. The devil is in the details.

  • A-: Kansas

    There’s hope yet for a Jayhawks program attempting to bounce back from a disastrous 1-11 season in 2012.

    Charlie Weis’ troops will take the field in 2013 sporting one of five different uniforms. The most obvious change is to the helmet decals. Gone is the ugly and boring, Trajan “KU” logo that we’ve never been high on. For four of the five new helmets, it’s been replaced by Jayhawk logo (a huge upgrade). What’s more, those four helmets come in red, blue, matte black and matte white.

    There’s also a cool, powder blue throwback look whose helmet features numbers on the side. Stylistically, everything represents an upgrade over last year. Now it’s just a matter of winning games while wearing those aforementioned uniforms.

  • A-: Georgia State

    The Panthers are predicted to have a rough first season as an FBS program. But even if their win-loss record doesn’t show it, they’ll still literally look good on the gridiron.

    Gone are the blue-and-white (home) and white-and-blue (away) jerseys with “Panthers” splashed across it, which resembled something a high school team would wear. Those have been replaced by much more FBS-worthy jerseys that sport more modern-looking numbering and typeface. In addition, the Panthers get the same Nike Flywire collars that most NFL teams and several college teams have started featuring.

    The biggest upgrade of all is to the helmets. Last year’s “GSU” model looked amateur. This year’s gleaming black lids with “Panthers” in a handsome, blue-and-red outlined script is bona fide.

  • A-: Northwestern

    Who knew that purple could pop so much on a predominantly white lid?

    The Wildcats will open the season at Cal in these beauties - inverted from their normal, predominantly purple helmets with a white “N” decal - along with all-white jerseys and pants. All together, the uniform gives Oregon’s widely-known “Stormtrooper” threads a well-deserved run for their money.

    For once, Under Armour did something downright excellent for one of its college football clients.

  • A-: Mississippi St. - Alternate Lid

    Mississippi State opens its 2013 season against Oklahoma State in Houston in style, sporting a handsome matte maroon helmet with an oversized rendering of school mascot Bully on the side. It’s the same design the Bulldogs wore for last season’s Egg Bowl vs. Ole Miss, but it looks even better with in maroon.

    We’re always on board when teams unveil these model helmets — see: Boise State — and this instance is no different.

  • A-: Utah State

    A little over one year after unveiling some of our favorite new uniforms of the 2012 season, Utah State has added another item to its increasingly enviable wardrobe.

    The Aggies now have the option of sporting a matte black helmet in addition to their existing “Aggie blue” and white models. The unique, textured background that we were raving about in the spring of 2012 is also present on this helmet.

    It’s worth noting that Utah State went 11-2 and captured the WAC last year after unveiling its new threads. Will success in Year One of its Mountain West tenure go hand-in-hand with their new matte black lid?

  • A-: UCLA - Alternate Uniforms

    Last year, UCLA’s alternate uniforms — a dark blue look that the Bruins sported against USC on Homecoming Weekend — was called “L.A. Nights.” This year’s model is “L.A. Midnight.” Designed for the Bruins’ November 15th game against Washington, it marks UCLA’s arrival on the all-black uniform bandwagon.

    The pants and jersey are sharp. The stretch marks-like design we can’t stand on the Bruins’ regular uniforms doesn’t look nearly as bad in black. In addition, the typography for the players’ numbers is different but cool.

    The predominantly black helmet is also decent with a gold facemask and lettering on top of a black lid. And those gloves are the cherry on top. We rarely say this but job well done, Adidas.

  • A-: Washington - Gold Chrome Lids

    From the looks of it, those gold chrome Washington lids we were teased with in July are coming sooner rather than later.

    A Redditor posted a photo of the Huskies’ new helmets on the production line sans face masks. If said face masks is the same purple chrome one we first saw over the summer, we’re more than on board with it.

    It does just what head coach Steve Sarkisian said he wanted it to do back in July: Respect the program’s tradition but also represent something classy and new-age for 2013.

  • A-: Rutgers - White Helmet

    The proud owners of some of our favorite new uniforms from the 2012 season, the Scarlet Knights continue to add to their arsenal of cool gear.

    Facing FCS Norfolk State on September 7th, Rutgers will sport an all-white lid with a chrome gray stripe going down the middle, a chrome gray “R” lined with red on either side and a red facemask. There’s something very knight-like about how it looks.

    And that’s a very good thing.

  • A-: Central Michigan

    To commemorate Traditions Day against MAC rival Toledo on September 21st, Central Michigan sported uniforms that paid tribute to two different eras of CMU football.

    The jerseys — modeled after those worn by the 1942 team — are predominantly gold with maroon splotches on the shoulders. Additionally, a giant maroon “C” is front and center on the jerseys, which also inconspicuously feature the players’ numbers on the top right.

    The helmets are a mix of old and new and are our favorite part of the ensemble. Using the Chippewas’ helmets from the 1960s as inspiration, they’re predominantly matte maroon with a gold stripe going down the middle — the epitome of simple yet elegant.

    As far as out-there retro uniforms go, these ones hit all the right notes.

  • A-: Oregon - Matte Black Lids

    The Ducks might want to try unveiling a gleaming new helmet every single week. Every time they’ve done so in 2013, they’ve won big.

    The first time Oregon wore the same helmets that the “olive” team wore in the spring game, they routed Virginia 59-10. Against Cal on September 28th, the Ducks debuted some very impressive matte black lids with silver liquid metal for both the wings on the side of the lid and part of the face mask.

    Another new lid, another rout, as Oregon thrashed the Golden Bears 55-16.

  • A-: Oregon - Pink

    You didn’t think that the higher-ups at Oregon would miss out on the burgeoning trend of pink football uniforms in support of breast cancer research, did you?

    Sure enough, the school and Nike announced that the Ducks would sport pink helmets, socks and cleats during the team’s game against Washington State on October 19th to honor and raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The team will auction off 25 of the helmets, with all of the proceeds going to The Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

    The neon pink juxtaposes really well with the all-black jerseys and pants. It’s like we’re looking at the football equivalent of the movie poster for Drive.

  • A-: Western Michigan - Pink Lids

    Western Michigan may be having a forgettable first year under head coach P.J. Fleck. But at the very least the Broncos are transforming themselves into an underratedly good “helmet program.”

    Like many schools, WMU created a helmet to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s one of the better ones we’ve seen: A predominantly matte black lid on which the Bronco’s head on the left, the miniature row bow boats on the back and the player’s number on the right are all neon pink.

    Now if only the Broncos can find a lid that they can actually win in. They were blown out by Ball State, 38-17, the day they wore these ones to fall to 0-7 on the year.

  • A-: Rutgers - Sandy Relief

    October 29th marks one year since Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $30 billion in economic loss to the state of New Jersey. In its first game following the one-year anniversary, Rutgers football is showing that it hasn’t forgotten.

    A black outline of New Jersey has been placed behind the Scarlet Knights’ red “R.” It’s a simple addition to Rutgers’ handsome helmets yet nonetheless makes it loud and clear that “The State University of New Jersey” is in lockstep with its denizens recovering from the super storm.

  • A-: Arkansas - Gray Uniforms

    This was a forgettable first year for Arkansas under head coach Bret Bielema. At the very least, the Razorbacks did the job in the style department for their final home game of the year, against Mississippi State on November 23rd.

    The Hogs took the field at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium in some very handsome all=gray uniforms. And unlike the other all-gray alternates we’ve seen recently, these are a beautifully dark shade, combining really well with Arkansas’ red. Too bad UA still lost, 24-17, to extend its losing streak to nine.

  • A-: Texas A&M

    Texas A&M continued its trend of being very fashion forward over the last two seasons under head coach Kevin Sumlin with new “Dark Onyx” uniforms courtesy of Adidas.

    The all-gray uniforms are getting a little played out in college football but we love the helmets with the wavy lines, state of Texas and transition to matte gray at the bottom.

  • A-: Mississippi State - Gold Chrome Helmets

    Mississippi State stepped up its special uniforms for the 2013 edition of the “Egg Bowl” rivalry with Ole Miss on Thanksgiving with a gold chrome helmet for the occasion.

    The chrome helmet trend is getting a little old, but these are nonetheless mighty sharp.

  • A-: Oregon: Mach Speed Uniforms

    Bowl season means one thing Eugene, OR: more new uniforms.

    Two years setting the world on fire with their “Liquid metal” look for the 2012 Rose Bowl, Oregon has introduced “Mach Speed” unis. Yes, it’s for a disappointing performance in the second-tier Alamo Bowl, but the new look is nonetheless sharp. Nike unveiled two looks - one white and one black - with the previous plumage on the shoulders now on steroids.

    It’s unclear which set Oregon will wear vs. Texas but Nike said both looks will be used next season.

  • A: Baylor

    After years of being one of the Big 12’s doormats, Baylor has undergone a dramatic recent renaissance under Art Briles. In 2013, the Bears will start to look the part while hopefully continuing their improved play.

    The three uniform combinations unveiled in March all work well for us. The gorgeous all-gold chrome helmet that fans went crazy over in January is paired with a simple yet elegant all-black jersey; an all-white look contains hints of gold on the shoulders; and there’s an update to Baylor’s existing home uniforms (gold helmet and pants and green jerseys).

    In addition, all three jerseys feature sharper, more modern number designs. While we are still up in the air on the pointy font, we love the bear claw on the sleeves. We could also be treated to a sharp, matte black helmet at one or more of Baylor’s home games.

  • A: Fresno State

    The blackout uniforms that the Bulldogs will be sporting against Nevada on November 2nd have both bark and bite. It consists of a simple yet bold black jersey (save for a little gray below the armpits) with simple black pants, both of which make the red numbering pop.

    The best part of the whole ensemble, however, is the helmet: A matte black beauty with the face of a snarling bulldog on the left side (which FSU should consider using more down the road) and the players’ numbers on the right, separated by a thick red stripe down the middle.

    There’s just one problem with this whole thing: Kickoff against the Wolf Pack is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST. Note to Fresno State: Blackout games are best played under the lights.

  • A: North Texas

    North Texas isn’t expected to enjoy a great first season in Conference USA. But at the very least, the Mean Green will look good in its season opener on August 31st against Idaho — the first game of its centennial season.

    The throwback uniform combines looks from multiple eras of UNT football. The helmet is white (as were the Mean Green lids from the 1950s to 1967) and features the same “Flying Worm” logo that adorned the lids from 1973–1982. The jersey is the style and shade of green worn by the likes of Joe Greene in the 1960s.

    It all looks sharp and pays homage to the program’s history — all of which we’re on board with.

  • A: Maryland

    Once an abomination, Maryland’s “State Pride” football uniforms are starting to become a tradition.

    On September 21st against West Virginia, the Terrapins took the field in the third edition of their equally parts famous and infamous uniforms, designed by Under Armour. After sporting predominantly white threads in 2011 and black ones last year, Maryland is going red in 2013.

    The cherry-red shoes are a little much but but we actually like the uniforms, which are much better looking than the 2011 originals. And the helmets - each of which were hand-painted - have been upgraded as well, as they have a cool textured look to replicate a billowing flag.

  • A: Tulsa

    The Tulsa football team that takes the field in 2013 will be a literal Golden Hurricane, as evidenced by the team’s new, gleaming chrome helmets.

    Too many teams these days make chrome helmets just for the sake of being able to say that they now offer chrome helmets. In Tulsa’s case, however, it really works.

    It’s unclear whether this chrome lid is just another option for the Golden Hurricane or its new full-time helmet. We hope it’s the latter.

  • A: Oregon

    College football’s most innovative team when it comes to uniforms has seemed to hit its stride.

    First worn by the home “olive” team in Oregon’s 2013 spring game, the new lid is very similar to the one thatthe Jacksonville Jaguars are wearing this season. The wings on the liquid metal lid awesomely fade from yellow to anthracite.

    Very fittingly, the first time the Ducks wore these beauties in regular season play, they overwhelmed Virginia 59-10.

  • A: Nevada - Alternate Helmet

    Nevada honored former longtime head coach Chris Ault during its 2013 home opener against UC Davis on September 7th with one of the better throwback lids we’ve seen in a while.

    The Wolf Pack reverted to both their old blue helmets - which were disappointingly replaced as the primary lids prior to the season in favor of all-white ones - and an awesome, retro script “Pack” on the sides rather than the rendering of a wolf’s head.

    If Ault had his way, we wouldn’t be be surprised if he asked his alma mater and former employer to revert to these throwback lids on a full-time basis.

  • A: North Carolina - Military Day

    On September 11th, the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, North Carolina unveiled the best stars-and-stripes helmets we’ve seen yet.

    Designed for the Tar Heels’ Military Appreciation Day matchup with East Carolina on September 28th, the predominantly all-white lids feature an American flag-inspired, interlocking “NC” on the sides — just like last year’s stars-and-stripes lids — and a very cool, five-stripe pattern down the middle that’s also influenced by the U.S. flag.

    If Captain America ever took to the gridiron, this is the helmet he’d wear.

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