On a sartorial safari jaunt through the wilds of I-A. Oregon does not appear in this space. I’m as surprised as you are.
• First stop: Maryland! You can’t say we weren’t warned about how Maryland’s new uniforms would look, but the reaction was something else. The turtle-shell helmets, as promised, looked like plasticine batik in warmups … and then the game unis went on. We noticed the shoes and the inexplicable sleeves, and realizing this wasn’t some terible mistake, America vomited as one. The fate of a nation was bemoaned. Was Maryland the target of some covert institutional sabotage? Was the team mocking the dangers of turning left too fast? Would no one think of the children?
There was a lull in the spite, somewhere. Some sought frantically for upside. Some reasoned it could be worse, barely. Some found comfort in nostalgia. And that’s about when Andy Staples received the official uniforms fact sheet (fact sheet!), and back down the rabbit hole we sailed. (BONUS TRIVIA: Those things on the football players’ legs were called “Pride Pants”! Sing the praises of Pride Pants!)
Did the Terps steal the design wholesale from Jacory Harris’ head, crib from Joel Schumacher, or cut corners by buying in bulk from arts-and-crafters? Either way, big PR ups to Maryland, which will surely be raking in the blue-chips, and to Under Armour, which got the attention it clearly craved, one way or another, and which wants you to know this isn’t a uniform. I could not agree more.
• Oklahoma: Not a fashion choice for fashion’s sake, but it does bear mentioning: The Sooners’ simple, sober remembrances of Austin Box, whose locker remains untouched and whose number will be worn on every player’s helmet all season.
• Boise State: The Broncos’ new Pro Combat getups were covered in breathless detail leading up to Saturday night’s kickoff, but the shoes got scant attention, and that’s a shame, because even from the height of the press box, they were stone-cuttingly magnificent.
• Tennessee: While the Vols’ new Adidas jerseys came the closest any Tennessee jersey has come in a generation to actually matching the orange on the helmets (how this is not a priority for these apparel companies, we will never know), the real show was on Derek Dooley’s bottom half, where he was sporting these, and a little something called crotch confidence. (How many coaches wear compression shorts at all times, do you think? A lot, right?) The central question ravaging Twitter, however: Were those brown shoes? With his orange pants and black belt? Who watches the watchman?
• South Florida: Bulls defensive tackle Keith McCaskill Hulks out.
• Troy: Trojan punter Will Goggans has shaved his beard. The world is cold and unfeeling, just like his chin.
• Florida: Continuing the SEC East’s Bad Life Choicemas celebration were the Gators, whose bleeding red-orange is best on the helmets and just looks like too much anywhere else. UF’s blue jerseys are the most beautiful color to behold in HD; any home weekend without them is a weekend wasted, dressing-wise.
• Utah State: This is Kerwynn Williams’ hair. That is all.
• Texas Tech: Let’s just put this out there and then back away from it slowly, hands raised above our heads.