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. AMD

    The ugly uniforms did their job.... It got people talking about MD football which is rare.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jim

    I agree with BUB. Somewhere out there, there are a bunch of crash test dummies missing parts of their work clothes!

    September 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. T

    Very bizarre !

    September 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chase

    I really like Maryland's new uniforms. Many people may not know this, but the reason behind the new kit is largely based on recruiting and reconnecting the University of Maryland with it's regional base. As a Maryland grad, a former Maryland resident, and a current DC resident, it's really sad how little coverage Maryland gets in it's own backyard. This makes it hard for Maryland to recruit because talented players would prefer to go somewhere where they will get more exposure. It's not like Maryland is a poor team! They've been to and won bowl games and been in the top 25 on many occassions. Unfortunately, the Friedgen regime was far too conservative with both style and game play. While effective, it was often very boring. New coach Edsall looks like he's going to bring a more flashy offense and some flashy new uniforms to go with them. Hopefully, both will get people excited about Maryland in the mid-Atlantic area.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      Also, you'll notice the word "Terps" was removed from everything and replaced with "Maryland." This is another nod toward connecting with the region.

      September 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. OCP

    It seems that kids, mid twenties and younger like them and old people don't like them... If you are not wearing them, why do you care?

    September 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike LIpson

    I am a UMD grad and I loved the new uniforms...GO TERPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Linda ```````````````~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hey guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG. a friend of mine is fighting for her life.... Thank you ...

    September 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joseph Peter Ward

    I'm a Maryland grad, and I like tradition, so the new uniforms left me bewildered. However, after my 19 year old son enthused "Pop, those uni's are sick!", I get what the school and UA are trying to do. Let's keep our talent here in Maryland instead of the annual exodus to Penn State and Va Tech.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tsar140

    I had to vote for Maryland....the overall look was just too hideous, though I wanted to state for the record that what Georgia did, putting "GEORGIA" on the back of the jersey where the name goes what far and away the stupidest thing I have seen in a long time. Lucky for them Maryland ripped off medieval times.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Guest

    All of these uniforms are horrible, and I'm fed up with uniform companies feeling compelled to mix things up to make a statement. The Georgia uniform was a classic, easily recognizable to even the most casual college football fan. Now they've been ruined. Please scold these companies for such hideous designs and needless changes, and go back to the tried and true classics that stir up nostalgia and remind us of what a wonderful and rich tradition our sports have in this country.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • suzangrace

      i understand 'nike' designed these ga uniforms. anything for a buck. baseball tried to make uniforms different in the 70's. they all switched back to more tradional uniforms (braves and astros sound familiar?) i'm hoping ncaa will wake up and realiize these uniforms are nothing more than glitz and glitter.

      September 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cured76

    I shudder to think this is current fashion. Those look like rejected arena league uniforms. Hideous.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dr. Dave

    Penn State's generic football uniform becomes more of a sane choice every season.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. One Eye

    University of Maryland football uniforms look like the bland white Maryland Light Rail Cars, waiting for all of the advertisement billboards to be applied.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. George

    I like the new uniforms. It's Unique, Knightly and Mordern

    September 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jan

    At half-time watching another game, we saw that horrific green of Oregon. The neon shoes are ridiculous. Then I read that it's somewhat fashionable for this team to wear the ugliest uniform they can find. It's a good thing the Ducks aren't our team–one of us almost got a migraine looking at that color.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
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