Throwing the flag: 15 yards for bad football fashion?
Maryland's new uniforms have sparked a large debate online about whether they are a great change or the worst uniforms ever.
September 6th, 2011
12:31 PM ET

Throwing the flag: 15 yards for bad football fashion?

When it comes to college football, everyone's got an opinion. Usually it centers on a quarterback or a blown call, but for the opening week of the 2011-12 season, the biggest uproar is about ... fashion?

There's no fury like a fierce fan's reaction to a slam on their team's colors or, apparently, changes to their squad's uniforms. Opening weekend is usually a chance for teams to make a statement about being ranked too low - or not at all - but this year, several teams are making a fashion statement.

Many observers have likened this year's opening weekend to attending an Under Armour or Nike fashion show.

Perhaps football is learning a lesson from tennis stars like Maria Sharapova or Venus and Serena Williams, whose custom getups have often drawn more attention than their backhands. Or perhaps football is looking to expand its demographic by making opening weekend about, "But what will they wear?"

You have to start with the Oregon Ducks, who know a thing or two about being criticized for uniforms, especially when they look like tennis balls.

The Oregon team in 2010 sported a true neon look.

This year, you might say the Ducks were the most tame of those who changed up their looks.

The Oregon Ducks sport a new uniform.

The team is known for its flashy outfits, but even though that neon yellowish-green remains an accessory, they looked more like a combat unit this weekend. And that's a compliment. Oregon - guided by a famous alum, Nike founder Phil Knight - paved the way for new designs, but it also paved the way for making a better team, and apparently setting a fashion trend (though there were some real bad decisions made in many cases).

This year, it appears the biggest uproar is coming from Maryland fans or anyone watching Monday's Maryland-Miami game on TV.

From the moment they entered the stadium, there was a collective "huh?" from most people watching. There was immediately a fierce debate, especially on Twitter and Facebook, about the Terrapins' outfits. Depending on which side of the aisle you fall, you see it as either an affectionate nod to their undying love for the state or a group of men headed to a Medieval Times joust.

Maryland's new uniforms have caused an uproar among fans.

The Under Armour ad for the uniforms would have you believe the players were indeed going to battle, with their colors proudly emblazoned on their sleeves. (Like Knight, Under Armour's CEO, Kevin Plank, is just looking out for his alma mater.)

The divide over Maryland's uniforms appears to be equal, with venomous comments calling for the uniforms to be sacked and others applauding them for trying something new to add some spirit to the team. (Fret not, there are a few other Maryland alternatives out there.)

"Did you know if you held your smartphone up to a Maryland helmet last night, it would have scanned it as a QR code?" Toby Srebnik, a Florida State graduate who lives in Coral Springs, Florida, wrote on Facebook.

Some said it looked like a really bad Trapper Keeper from the 1990s.

Perhaps the most humorous comment on Facebook: “I blame the (Frederick, Maryland) power outage on TVs overloading from trying to display Maryland’s uniforms.”

Talk show host Jim Rome tweeted his thoughts on the uniforms by comparing them to Miami's recent problems with NCAA regulations.

"Whatever the NCAA does to Miami, it should double for Maryland. Those helmets truly demonstrate a lack of institutional control," he wrote.

Perhaps someone thought, "Hey, Miami is really distracted with the suspensions and this Nevin Shapiro business. What can we do to utterly destroy the 'Canes' concentration Monday night?" And yet it might have worked, as the Terps picked up the win.

That couldn't be said for some of the other teams taking heat for their unis this weekend.

The Georgia Bulldogs sported a look that had a lot of fans wondering whether they had been inspired by a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger or Gatorade Fruit Punch commercial. Others likened it to an XFL uniform, while those supportive of their Dawgs thought it gave them a sleek new look. Besides the head-to-toe red and the massive metallic strip along the helmet, there was the curious decision to place GEORGIA in all caps on the backs of the players' jerseys.

Georgia added a metallic flavor to their jerseys -- and scrapped player names.

The idea is a noble one. Just ask the New York Yankees or the U.S. men's national soccer team. Ditching the players' names says no one player is more important than the next, but team names are traditionally on the front, not on the back. The less football-savvy are left to wonder whether there's a heck of a lot of guys with the last name Georgia. Judging by comments online, it looked pretty foolish to a lot of people.

Food writer John T. Edge was among those who weighed in.

"Football Saturday night: Blair keeps referring to UGA's new uniforms as 'outfits.' She's right."

Which brings us to their opponents, Boise State. They went the other direction, perhaps in answer to the criticism they've faced over jerseys that match the turf on their home field. They've been called Smurfs, Cookie Monsters and the Blue Man Group, so they definitely dialed it down for the season opener this year.

Boise State takes the field on their home blue turf in 2010.

Some fans felt they may have rushed out the uniforms before they were finished. Others wondered whether Napoleon Dynamite had scrawled the doodle on the helmet.

The Boise State Bronco is depicted on one half of the helmets. The other side is blank.

We could go on forever. We could talk about the Oklahoma State uniforms that looked like correctional facility outfits, perhaps leftovers Burt Reynolds shared after filming "The Longest Yard."

We could speculate about the pictures circulating of Arizona State's new look, which appears to have dropped the mischievous Sun Devil logo in favor of a pitchfork (Make your own Arizona State uniform here!)

But we'll leave it you, This Just In readers. Sound off below and tell us which uniforms you hated, which ones you loved and what you hope to see over the rest of the season - fashionwise, of course.

soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Reynold Price

    Given that the U of Maryland is known primarily for a student body that drinks itself stupid at every opportunity and adds in a riot from time to time, what can one expect from the school's uniforms? The Terps will settle into their usual role of 5-7 soon enough – they only beat Miami (barely) because half that team's starters were on parole again.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dom

      Let's check out your design...oh wait you're just another close minded individual with no sense of creativity or state pride whatsoever.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      Um...yeah...Maryland was 9-4 last year and won a bowl game. As they did the year before.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Loanaconning

    The Uniforms were TIGHT...Hate on if like but its seems as if you have taste buds in your butt.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. D

    All are bad butt.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Curtis

    Football is about combat, and Scoring, NOT FASHION... Football is the Only Man's Games left to Real Men. Too much of the "Mans World" has been morphed to make it suitable to women and babies... I say leave it alone, let the Men Play the game. Any uniform that blurs the opponents vision, is s good thing for the team who wants to win... So with that I say Go Terps.....

    September 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. qwert

    Who cares about the crazy colors? They just gotta switch the mascot to the Blue Crabs! mmmmmm....... blue crabs.....mmmmm....

    September 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. K

    I know I'm in the minority, but I love the new Terps gear! Looks just like the MD flag. You'll get used to it people, relax...

    September 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • ShellyTea

      I so agree, love them! Though I think the shoes with the flag motiff is a bit of overkill.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JDT

    MD has awesome uniforms... keep 'em!

    September 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hippypoet

    I think that people are stupid and generally fear change... well get over it.... i wonder how many people complained when basket ball started using a mesh or weaved net compared to a TRASH "BASKET" hence the name of the game!

    September 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chase

    Seriously, good or bad, it doesn't matter. You are all TALKING about them right? Mission accomplished. Mayland just got HUGE national exposure, which means two things: 1. MONEY and 2. RECRUITS. That's the name of the game in college football these days.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. gaverick

    I'd like to see an article of the best uniform changes. IMO, my favorite was University of Tennessee's orange and black jersey's for Halloween a couple years ago. Though temporary, they looked pretty sharp. I'd like to see UT in the orange and black more often.
    The new Maryland uniforms remind me of crash test dummies with the black and yellow pattern on their right sides. I know some ppl will have some fun with that one, but I don't like them at all.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill Jones, Jr.

    It seems you should have mentioned Maryland's uniform is the state flag.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KMoney

    I think people who didnt realize that MDs uniforms were paying homage to the state's flag are confused. Some thought it looked medievil.... I think they look pretty cool. But I also knew that it incorporated the state's flag

    September 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt84

      First I agree that the uniforms are great. It's the flag and people have to realize that. It brought a lot of color and I look forward to seeing what they look like every game now since they have so many variations (also.. mission accomplished there). And in response to CNN's dumb statement of a "group of men headed to a Medieval Times joust", ironically the state sport is Jousting. Sounds like mission accomplished again. Way to prove them right.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ron

    Hey a sshole..they won didnt they????

    September 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. @Gungwho?

    wont talk little man I m laughing so hard at u!!!!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gungho

    I D LIKE TO GET INTO A BIG PILE OF MEN

    September 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
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