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. Soft Target

    As an Oregon native, I can honestly say that nothing is uglier than the UofO football team uniform(s). The Ghetto Green and Puke Yellow that they've been sporting the past few years has been a complete embarrassment. The new black uniforms are not only ugly, but, I suspect, are also a violation of Pac 10 rules, since black is a team color of one of their rivals, Oregon State University. In my opinion, if UofO is going to steal a color from OSU, it should be the orange, a color far more suitable for the Ducks, given the many criminals and thugs within the teams ranks...of course, it should be prison jumpsuite orange.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      You can't honestly believe it would be a violation of Pac-12 rules.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soft Target

      Yes, Steve, I can. A team has colors so that they are distinct from other teams. What is the UofO decides to wear red and white the day it plays Stanford, or blue and gold when it plays UCLA? The rules prevent confusion. Oregon is flagrantly violating those rules.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • gaverick

      I thought they were dark gray, not black. None-the-less, the older colors reminded me of walking around the park lake and having to avoid the black and yellow/green goose bombs.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan T.

      Does Cal wear blue & gold when they play UCLA?

      September 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Sorry Soft Target. You're all messed up in your thinking. Schools can have the same exact school colors and there are no rules against it. You ever notice why you never see a sports game where both teams have uniforms that are basically identical colorwise? The answer is NOT because the schools don't have identical colors. it's because' Home' uniforms are totally distinguishable from 'Away' uniforms. When away, if your 'Away' uniform is too close to the 'home team's, one of the teams must use their other uniform colors.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soft Target

      Dave: I'm not all messed up. Schools are free to choose their team colors, but once they do, they should stick with them. A schools can't have their team colors be, say green and yellow, and then one year have black and yellow uniforms, the next year have black and green uniforms, etc. etc.etc. The team uniforms must the team colors.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. angryersmell

    their uniforms are maryland's flag. maryland's flag rules. therefore they do not have ugly uniforms. they have uniforms that rule.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Hunt Esq.

      Disagree. That uniform is fugly.

      September 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gungho

    wAr WaR war WAR

    September 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bbrooker

    I liked the Maryland unis too.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. brooklynmc

    Looks like Michigan ran into Nebraska and Tennessee at a high rate of speed.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeanne du Nord

    Nonsense. The uniforms are gorgeous! They are reminders of heraldry and the 'good olde' days of jousting. Make the sport of football even more colorful.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. undead

    I think they are pretty cool . Isn't it also possible that referees might make better calls if they can clearly see the ball against solid backgrounds or colors that clearly would not be the football?

    September 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kristen

    Maryland's uniforms are based on their state flag, which represents the coats of arms of the parents of the first Lord Baltimore, the state's founder. The equal depiction of both the Calvert (black and gold) and Crossland (red and white) insignia is important because during the Civil War, the black and gold represented the Union state and the red and white colors were taken up by secessionists; after the war was over the current flag developed as a way to visually represent reunification, and the United States made whole.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • summitco

      Spent a little time on Wikipedia eh? Thanks for the history lesson, Lord Baltimore... seriously? The article is about football uniforms, relax!

      September 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeffrey

    Love the Maryland uniforms. Jim Rome is an idiot!

    September 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ian

    Maryland's old unis were boring. If you don't have a great looking uniform you might as well have a crazy looking one. I'd rather they go out looking like that the unis that North Texas has.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. disgruntled ncaa football fan

    I have been an ardent college football fan since 1965 and this weekend almost led me to ban college football from our household for the rest of time. Not only were the new Maryland uni's a disgrace to college football uniforms everywhere, but they were a dismal ending to a frustrating new trend in college football. The new era of suspending games due to lightning within 8 miles of the stadium. Give me a break. This is just another buy in to a safety trend in sports that is becoming more ridiculous every day. I say let them play in the elements like the game was meant to be played and if some fans are scared and want to leave, then let them. But don't stop the game.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt84

      If some fans are too scared by the change in uniforms, then let them leave. I'm not sure how blaring the state flag to everyone, even if they don't know it's the flag, is a disgrace to uniforms everywhere. As for lightning, it did seem odd so many games were suspended but when it comes to a few million volts and someones kids on the field (not to mention the thousands of fans on the metal stands), you can't fault anyone for erring on the side of caution. I didn't see any stories of people being killed by lightning at a football game, did you?

      September 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stu

    I have to say that I don't like the Maryland uniforms at all but do like the Oregon uniforms. I would think that the NCAA would force Oregon to wear a lighter shade (or white) when playing a team with black uniforms. It should be something like dark on the road and white at home, or vice versa. Way cool uniforms in my mind...but i'm not a UofO fan. BC Eagles here.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JohnDHater

    One of the finest things about being an athlete is to have your name on a jersey and organizations who don't allow this are run by arssholes who are jealous of THE PLAYER. Georgia has the dumbest uniforms...MD kicks @$$!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. usa401

    Who the f cares

    September 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Debbie

    It's just a game. Really. Not worth dying over.
    (dying. ha.)

    September 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12