What makes a classic college football uniform? Is it simply the unique school colors? Or would the jerseys and helmets be works of art by combining colors and patterns that’s striking to fans and spectators?
Whatever the reasons, there are 25 all-time classic uniforms in collegiate football that have made various lists, mostly the best. Some have appeared as the worst uniforms. That’s because these few are polarizing to critics and fans. Whether its pastel colors some schools have chosen or the wild and crazy designs, they are never boring.
Now, here are the colleges:
1. Oregon: Love them or hate ’em, they seem to be the wave of the future for college football uniforms. It doesn’t seem to hurt they have Nike’s help with state of the art technology, especially those shiny metallic and reflective helmets. The Ducks are the collegiate fashionistas with their trademark duck wings on the shoulders.
2. Arizona State: Striking maroon and gold is a favorite, especially its shiny maroon helmet. This may be a favorite use of color amongst all levels of football. It’s just a matter of how they ration it out on the uniform.
3. Michigan: Wolverines made the uniforms best list from various sources due to their clever colors of maize and blue. According to American fashion designer Marc Ecko he liked their “bold, bright colors” and “clean” fonts.
4. Southern Mississippi: Black dominates their jersey and helmet with a bit of yellow in the mix. You can never go wrong with the color black in fashion. The same applies with uniforms.
5. Notre Dame: When you think of Irish you think of the color green, especially with the four-leaf clover. Even though some do not like the “luck of the Irish” uniforms, others do.
6. Stanford: Reds may be an overdone and common color in football uniforms. However, it works brilliantly for Stanford. They use a deep cardinal red shade that is appealing to the eye and forceful at the same time.
7. Auburn: Navy blue and orange may not sound good on paper, but it looks commanding on the field. Here is a great example of using stripes and white for offsetting the darker colors.
8. Georgia: Once again a clever use of red and white that tends to be overdone as a school color. It’s all in the shade of red that’s used.
9. Navy: Royal blue (not navy blue) and gold with an anchor logo top this one for the Armed Forces colleges. It’s a nice homage to history.
10. Alabama: The Crimson Tide’s uniforms are classic for a reason. Here is a unique shade of red that makes them always stand out. It is in their name.
11. Air Force: Another Armed Forces uniform with its unmistakable thunderbolt. Yet, this one made a worst uniform list. How unpatriotic.
12. Oklahoma State: Shades of grey on the helmet with solid black and fire red/orange elsewhere. This is one of the most interesting uniforms with its variety.
13. Louisiana-Lafayette: Their stunning black helmets and bright red jersey make them a force to be reckoned with. It has the right color combo that stands on its own.
14. Kentucky: UK combines the standard black with bright blue and a checkerboard pattern on the sleeve. What an excellent uniform with just the right touch.
15. Kansas: Blue and orange when used correctly makes this one a sure classic. It is the right shade of blue with bits of orange for highlighting.
16. Texas Christian University (TCU ): Purple is a regal color, so it’s fitting for a football uniform. Black and white also offset the purple nicely.
17. Army: It’s a given for this list. A uniform from one of the oldest Armed Forces schools in the country. This one will never go wrong for being a classic.
18. Michigan State: Green and white, like the dollar bill, while not utilized enough as a school color. This one is an excellent choice.
19. University of Southern California (USC): Here’s yet another school with the classic maroon mixed with yellow that is just right. Muted colors may not be as dominate, but sometimes it works.
20. University of South Florida (USF): My hometown state university’s pine green and gold is an excellent combination that’s ready made for being classic. The clever logo uses the bull horn shaped into a “U.”
21. Colorado: Even if they’re not a winning team they have an unusual, yet memorable, uniform color. It is solid black with a touch of gold.
22. Virginia Tech. You have to give them credit for their odd color choice, maroon and orange. These similar colors go well. It is the use of stripes that catches your attention.
23. Ohio State. Silver, red and white are the color schemes used when gold is the favorite metallic elsewhere. They are the only school on the list to use silver.
24. UCLA. While others may find the Bruins pastel colored uniforms of light blue and gold fit for a lingerie league, it has worked for them. Leave it to a Los Angeles college that always thinks outside the box.
25. Maryland: One of my favorite uniforms on the entire list. It has caused a great deal of controversy, but that is what being a classic is about. If everyone loved the uniform it would be boring. The overall uniform takes its cue from the State of Maryland flag by not overdoing it. I wonder what Maryland native and filmmaker, John Waters, would think?
My hometown of Tampa, Florida, has the University of South Florida Bulls on this Top 25 list. They made national headlines when they beat Notre Dame (who has similar uniform colors) in 2011.