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. Robert

    What exactly is so bad about the Maryland uniforms?

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

      The stuff , especially the helmets are so visually scrambled that its distracting. Makes you dizzy just looking at 'em...

      September 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevins5560


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

      Well, Kevin Plank got exactly what he wanted. National TV advertising, great marketing. Same with College Park. So thanks to all of you for hyping it up. Go Terps

      September 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jon Woodman

    LOVE the new Maryland uniforms. Not a Terps fan, but I am a big fan of those new unis. Really bold and striking. Can't wait to see their other combos.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BUB

    They look like The Maryland"CRASH DUMMIES!!!""

    September 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gary

    Hey no problem with the new uniforms ...there cool and i'm sure the ladies love'em. As long as the guys hit like men and not like fashion models then CHEERS !!! CHEERS !! CHEERS !!

    September 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. C

    I'm not a Maryland fan but I thought those jersey were pretty cool, like in a they are so ugly they are cool look.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Drakorex1

    I think they look yummy.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. michaelfury

    "When Pat raced into his living room and switched on his television, the first thing he saw was a film clip of a Boeing 767 crashing into the World Trade Center at 590 miles per hour, sending a fluorescent blossom of fire bursting through the upper floors of the south tower. A newscaster was explaining that the footage showed United Airlines Flight 175 striking the tower an hour earlier, at 9:03 a.m. eastern daylight time, and that the entire building had just collapsed with thousands of people still inside. Another Boeing 767, American Airlines Flight 11, according to the reporter, had flown into the north tower at 8:46 EDT, and that building was now burning out of control. Twenty minutes later Pat was still staring at the screen, transfixed, when the north tower plummeted to the ground before his eyes. “I left to go to work,” says Marie, “but he sat there watching all morning, and it had a big impact on him.”…Like most Americans, Pat found it very difficult to get his mind around this. It seemed beyond belief."

    – Jon Krakauer, Where Men Win Glory, p. 119

    Pat Tillman lives.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Houston

      Ooohh Kaaay...What's Tillman got to do with ugly football clothes????

      September 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    Maryland fan here. I like the jersey, but the helmet is godawful. Hopefully, these stay in the back of the closet so we can see some of the other combinations they came up with.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike Houston

    Ugly. Every one of 'em...Childish...I didn't think anyone could wear anything uglier than Oregon's stuff (beginning
    a couple of years ago) but Maryland has come close now...Nike must have hired Chinese designers after they
    moved their sports clothing manufacturing there...Talk about tacky!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • debo

      Seriously? MD is Under Armor, not Nike.

      September 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Larry

    I'm a 1980 Maryland Alum. I think the new uniforms are awesome! It's popular right now to pile on and say how horrible they are, but that's people just piling on rather than forming their own opinion. Plus, Maryland got good TV and Web exposure from last night's game and they won. That's the end result.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Houston

      Can't say its a bad idea to scramble your opponents' minds just by suiting up and walking on the field.

      September 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    get a free iphone 5 today at freeiphonenow dot com

    September 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BobRoss

    Georgia's were definitely the worst.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. timmy

    Football si stoopid. Anyone who likes it is a looser. And is probably gay.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • SparkyL56

      Wow, I am a gay looser and didn't even know it.

      September 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ymmit

      Timmy, learn to spell before exposing your 2nd grade level education. Why don’t you come on out to the field sometime and announce your ASSertion. Wait, I better break that down for you and excuse me for not having some crayons to draw you a picture, but I'll try to put it in words you'll understand...(written very s-l-o-w-l-y) I double dog dare you to come out to the football field during a practice and yell your thoughts out to everybody.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sarah

    Oregon's uniforms are awesome. Everyone else is just trying to look as good. Boise State's uniforms weren't bad – I really liked the graphic detail on their helmets. Georgia's weren't bad either; however, the all red pants with the red jersey was a little too red for me. I think it would have looked cooler with black pants. But Maryland's uniforms reminded me of NASCAR which is horribly unpleasant. At least they managed to beat Miami, which made up for the eyesore.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • suzangrace

      i think ga was trying to copy the dreadful uniforms that vt has been wearing for years. both ugly. i find all these uniforms distracting to the game.

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

    ditto. I actually love the new Maryland uniform.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
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