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. Kyser

    Personally, I've visted Maryland and enjoy my visit's. They should be proud of their state flag which is unique and elegant amongest the official state seal repeats.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Buzzkill

    My mommy said I could use the computer today.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    I'm 33 years old and love these new uniforms... It is the "older" generation that cant handle it... Love it, love it!!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carole Clarke

      No way – I'm nearly 70 and a history buff – love the new uniforms – jousting on horseback is Maryland's state sport – here we come!!

      September 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pinkpuffy

    i like their new helmets they look like knights with coats of arms.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Yes! Great take on their new look!

      September 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Yeddo

    Kyser, as long as they don't make uniforms out of them........

    September 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Randy, Frostburg Md.

    I thought they looked GREAT !

    September 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Luke

    Maryland's uniforms looked good in my mind. I thought if they put the pattern all the way down the side of the jersey it would of been better. I thought the sleeves that some player chose to wear were awesome and the shoes were crazy looking, but in a good way. The only thing ugly on the field last night were the Hurricanes 😉

    September 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brian

    And I wasnt trying to be "ageist" but I truly think that along generational lines there will be a marked difference in acceptance of this new trend in uniform designs... Have you seen the Nike Pro Combat uniforms that were "prototyped" for the NFL last year???? They were awesome, but against tradition!

    September 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    67 years old I like the new uniforms.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jackson

    I am more concerned about the price of new uniforms every year. Tuition hikes are a big problem and I feel like a lot of money that should go for schooling goes towards uniforms.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gjorgen

      Has Maryland posted their spending? Cause I'm looking at the prominent UnderArmor logo on their chest, waist, helm and shoes and betting that their sponsor (UA) is picking up the majority of the cost...if not giving the school money for wearing their apparel. I'd bet the school gets a bonus if they make a televised high profile bowl.

      September 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Special Ed

      The founder of Under Armor played football at MD and is an alum. He has featured MD players and coaches in many of his national ad campaigns. This is his family and he is an avid supporter of the program.

      September 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. john

    Im 30, the Terp's uniforms are HORRIBLE.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      This comment coming from John, the 30 year old virgin who still plays dungeons and dragons in his mom's basement.

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

      Yeah go back to playing Lair on your weekends with 17 yr old theater nerds... creepo

      September 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ahren T

    I'm all for new looks, but these were just awful. I thought Nike was supposed to make them look cool not stupid.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • debo

      Under Armour, dummy.

      September 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ahren T

      Under Armour what? Nike did these you fool, I bet you feel like the dummy now huh?

      September 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ahren T

      Yeah UA did one of these, and it was Maryland which was the worst of the bunch f@ggot.

      September 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beauty in the eye

      Under Armour and Nike are they both United States companies that outsource the jobs to other countries? Or just one of them? I know Nike does, I guess that is why there is less money for colleges?

      September 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Javan

    It's football not a fashion contest. I don't think we should look at a team's uniform. I mean how are the players going to feel if they see this article. Geez people. Don't be so aesthetic; be happy we have football if you like it.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      If fans do not look at a team's uniform, how will they know which one to buy? After all, marketing jerseys, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc bring in big bucks

      September 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Beauty in the eye

    I think that if you have a team with neon and a team with regular uniforms, just passing will be easier for the neon team to spot the receiver. I think it may be an unfair advantage to the team that wears a regular uniform.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ahren T

      How did that work out for Oregon when they lost to LSU?

      September 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Carole Clarke

    For those of you latecomers, Maryland was one of the 13 original colonies and our state flag is our coat of arms from that period, just as George Washington's family coat of arms is used on the District of Columbia flag and seal. Maryland has everything: mountains, beaches, small to big towns, good road system, famous universities and lots of sports. And our state sport just happens to be jousting on horseback, shown every year at our Renaissance Festival. We have world class wine and seafood so pish on all you nay-sayers. I love the Terps new duds – fear the turtle!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
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