Monday, August 24, 2015

2015 NCAA Uniform Changes

Yet another season of college football is just around the corner. Fall camps have started and the players and coaches are getting back into the swing of things. Fans are already planning their trips and tailgates for fall weekends, enjoying the game and campuses they love.



As for the rest of the summer, equipment teams all across the country were working countless hours every single week getting every last piece of equipment in the right spot. Outside of the typical cleaning, restocking, reconditioning, and fitting of players, many teams – the number of teams continues to grow – are putting the final touches on new uniforms that they either revealed during the offseason or will reveal at some point during this season.

For the fourth straight year, I will be compiling a comprehensive list of new uniforms and countless updates from across the NCAA football spectrum, from the Power 5 conferences down to the lower divisions of the sport. Before we start with each team, there was a rule change regarding uniforms – well, facemasks to be exact. This past summer, the NCAA followed the NFL’s lead and banned “overbuilt” facemasks. The NFL claimed the larger masks to be a weight issue, which would lead to a heavier load on the neck and in turn the head. The NCAA also claimed weight to be an issue, but also cited the risk of players’ fingers getting stuck within the small openings. Here is the list of approved facemasks, while a list of banned designs can be seen here.

ACC:

  • The ACC changed logos last year, and teams are already wearing a new conference patch on their jerseys after wearing the new logo last year.
  • Boston College – For their game in Fenway against Notre Dame, the Holy War, the BC Eagles will wear some Flutie era throwbacks. The sleeve stripes worn on the 1985 team has been moved to the undershirt sleeves.
  • Clemson – a chrome prototype helmet was shown very early in the season. Doubt this will actually hit the field though.
  • Duke – After honoring the 1989 ACC championship team with throwback uniforms, Duke is moving on and going back to their Colts-like uniforms. The team has also added some chrome accessories to the helmets. Here’s a great look at all three uniforms.
  • Florida State – the Seminoles have updated their away jerseys to the new Mach Speed template. The home jerseys were updated last season when the colors where fixed to match better. They also tweaked the helmet decals to where the spears don’t cross in the back anymore unlike last season.
  • Georgia Tech – GT has tweaked their previous Russell Athletic uniforms. The shoulder loops were replaced with stripes, the collar now has a blue square at the front with the GT logo, and gold side panels have been added.




  • Wake Forest – Wake Forest has worn the same uniform design since 2006 (granted it feels like much longer), and they finally got a much needed redesign to their football uniforms. The team rolled out three new uniform sets – three helmets, jerseys, and pants. The helmets come in gloss black, matte black, and chrome gold. The pants come in white, gold, and black. The unique part comes with the uniforms, where there is a white top as well as two different black designs. All three jerseys feature a stylized “W” design on the shoulder caps, which draws from the school’s academic logo and some architecture around campus. The white jersey features a gold shoulder cap and W design. One of the black jerseys also features a gold shoulder cap design, whereas the second black top has a black design, which makes it very difficult to make out the W design. The numbers on the jerseys have “angled notches at 18 and 34 degrees at the top and bottom, respectively” to honor the school’s founding in 1834.


Big 10


  • Michigan State – I’ve been a big fan of State’s recent redesign, and I must say, I really like these new uniforms. On the new Nike Mach Speed template, Michigan State’s new uniforms feature a nice Greek pattern on the shoulder caps and (odd) pant stripes. The traditional green helmet now features a beautiful “anodized aluminum finish”, which, according to photos, looks like a mix between the traditional gloss finishes and the new matte helmets. An alternate that looks a good bit similar to their old Pro Combat uniforms is also in the mix. The Greek pattern dons the shoulder caps again, as well as the MSU initials. Gold shoulder and pant stripes help break up the green uniforms. The gold helmet has a nice “oxidized metal finish”, but the seemingly-oversized green logo seems to get a bit lost.
  • Nebraska – continuing adidas’ summer long series of reveals, the Cornhuskers will be wearing an all-black alternate, with a matte black lid. The shockweb template actually has “HUSKERS” detailed into the sides of the jerseys, which is the ultimate Adidas gimmick. The odd thing is that these are the exact same design as last year’s alternate, just with the colors reversed. Shame on you Adidas. That’s extremely lazy.
  • Ohio State – A few years ago, Ohio State added buckeye leaves to the back of the collar. Those are seemingly gone for a BUCKEYES wordmark, which seems very out of place. The reasoning was that if anymore championships were won, there wouldn’t be any more room for the buckeye leaves on the collar.
  • Penn State – “Black Shoes, Basic Blues” is the mantra for Penn State this season, as they are removing the nameplates that Bill O’Brien added during his time, to help distance the team from the Paterno era. The jerseys have also been updated to a new template.
  • Purdue – Purdue has a new grey uniform this season, as well as what seems to be an updated railroad track-striped helmet. Also, a new white helmet, with number on one side and train logo on the other, will also be available. This helmet also features a striped facemask, which seems to be a continuation of the helmet stripe.
  • Wisconsin – Rumor is that Wisconsin is looking to leave Adidas after this season and sign with Under Armour next year. Hints have been dropping all summer, but one of the most telling signs is that the football team downgraded jersey templates. According to picture day photos, the team has switched back to an older template, abandoning the TechFit and Shockweb designs. The switch thankfully brings TV numbers back to the shoulders, something that had been missing in previous seasons.


Big 12


  • TCU – In one of the worst design in recent history, Nike and TCU have revealed some gaudy uniforms that feature their frog skin pattern pretty much from head to toe. A purple and grey pair of jerseys and pants both feature this design. Thankfully, the white set don’t showcase this pattern, except in the numbers and collar. The purple helmet also features the frog skin pattern, which seems much more like a natural fit. A white lid was also shown during the reveal, which seems to be the one they wore last season, except with the frog skin pattern. A full frog skin helmet was shown outside the promo shots, and it’s pretty annoying. All in all, it’s easy to say Nike went way overboard with the frog skin pattern. I understand sticking with something that’s unique to a school, and this pattern certainly is unique to TCU, but c’mon guys, this is ridiculous.


Pac-12
  • Arizona State – ASU jumped from Nike to Adidas this offseason to increase the athletic department’s revenue from $2.1 million annually with the Swoosh to $4.2 million with Adidas. The uniforms, on the other hand, are rather similar to what the team wore the last few years with Nike. Some minor changes were expected, but the end result is rather nice, especially with adidas’ recent track record. First noticeable item is the addition of the tiretreads with the Shockweb 2.0 template. You’ll also notice that the ASU on the shoulder caps has been removed, and the pitchfork stripes have been moved towards the sleeve cuffs. The pitchfork logo has also been placed on the pants. A Pat Tillman memorial patch has been added to the collar, which in turn moves the Adidas logo to the chest (where it belongs). A black, white, and maroon version of each uniform were shown in the promo videos, but a gold helmet was shown elsewhere. Overall, it’s a nice tweak on a uniform I already really liked. Unfortunately, adidas’ usual gimmicks hurt the overall look. But, I’ll try and look past that for a while. In addition to the sets revealed here, Adidas has a reported three alternates in the plans for the Sun Devils this season, the first of which will be worn on opening weekend against Texas A&M. These “Desert Ice” uniforms are a white edition of their “Desert Fuel” uniforms from last year, tweaked to match the rest of the Adidas line. The main details – the pitchforks in specific – are much larger than their Nike counterpart. The helmet and pant forks are about double the size in the previous rendition. The number on the other side of the helmet is also way too big, which is the biggest problem with this design – everything is too big. Tone down the sizes of these elements, and you have a good look. But hey, it’s Adidas after all.




SEC


  • Tennessee switched from Adidas to Nike this season, and Nike did a wonderful job placing the traditional Vols design on their Mach Speed template. The helmet and pants stripes all taper off to a checkerboard design, which I love how they implemented this. The “Smokey” grey alternates are staying, but with a twist. The jerseys feature an anthracite shoulder yoke, which barely contrasts with the Smokey grey. This year, Tennessee has added a grey lid (which was really needed with the last set) that features the same checkerboard stripe. A cool detail with this helmet is the imagery of the Smokey Mountains on the shell. It looks decent in photos, but it’ll be interesting to see how it looks on field.
  • Texas A&M – Texas A&M has had their normal uniforms updated to the new ShockWeb 2.0 template. Another Adidas team to reveal new uniforms is the Aggies of Texas A&M. These uniforms are all black (the blackest they could possibly be, apparently) and feature reflective technology from the guys at HydroGraphics, whatever that means. The helmets looked pretty bad from the reveal, but under the right light they look pretty cool. Unfortunately, you can’t dictate the lighting during gametime, so it’ll be pretty brutal on TV. These uniforms are scheduled to be worn on Halloween against South Carolina. If they really wanted to go all out for Halloween, they should’ve added a red nose to complete these clown suits.
  • Vanderbilt – Vandy appears to have new white and gold uniforms this season. Each features black shoulder caps that look to have the anchor logo sublimated within them. These also match the infamous “ANCHOR DOWN” black uniforms of last season. The Commodores also have two new helmets for this season. A black and white matte helmet with an oversized V-star decal and a unique anchor and chain decal going down the middle of the helmet. Here’s a good look at three combinations, with the three helmets Vandy will wear. Along with these changes, there’s a new grey alternate uniform. The pants feature ANCHOR DOWN written down the legs, since we all know they can’t place that on the nameplate anymore. These new alternates are being called “Deep Water,” and are paired with a really nice helmet that is a dark grey water paint color, with chrome gold anchor decals and facemask.


American Athletic




Conference USA
  • Louisiana Tech – LaTech has a new turf field design. It’s nice to see the uniform stripes featured on the field, but the placement is a bit odd.
  • North Texas – The Mean Green has revealed a new set of home uniforms and helmets. The uniforms feature two stripes around the sleeves, which come to a gradient finish similar to the old Arizona uniforms. They also have a shoulder loop stripe, which just compounds the look. One or the other would look fine, but not together. The helmets got a new, darker finish that looks great. The black helmets feature a Seahawks style stripe on the top, which once again makes the entire look a bit too much.
  • Old Dominion – After wearing Nike uniforms for their first few seasons in FBS football, Old Dominion has made the change over to Under Armour uniforms. Here’s a slightly better photo of the new uniforms.
  • UTSA – The Roadrunners have two new helmets this season, each feature a matte finish, white and dark grey, a chrome orange stripe and logo decal, and chrome orange facemask, with one fading to white at the bottom.
  • Middle Tennessee – The leader in offseason prototype designs, MTSU equipment managers love to play around with new designs. I’ve always enjoyed seeing what they come up with, and of course, some are better than others. Instead of posting each one individually, here’s a gallery of them.
  • Southern Miss – The Eagles have a new set of uniforms that are a massive upgrade over their last set. The new uniforms feature grey numbers and shoulder caps, on both the white and black jerseys. They’re pretty plain, but after their fiasco of uniforms the last few years, anything is an upgrade. Hopefully they add a gold jersey and pants at some point.


Mid-American


Mountain West
  • Air Force – The Air Force Academy has updated to Nike’s newest Mach Speed template and looks fantastic. The team has struggled to find a great uniform identity over the last few seasons, but these are exactly how I’ve always imaged Air Force to look on the gridiron. It’ll be interesting to see what helmets of years past that the teams wears this season, or if they break out any new designs. Air Force is one of the very few teams I’ve always thought could perfectly pull off the grey uniforms, so it would be nice to see some grey return back to these uniforms.


  • Boise State – Some recruits showed off the helmets and jerseys of years past. As you can see, there’s still no consistency with these uniforms. The team did wear some nice helmets for their spring game that features their B logo rather than the horse head logo. The team has come out and said that these were only for the spring game, and won’t be worn during the season, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing something more along these lines this year.
  • Hawaii – The return of the Rainbow Warriors to the gridiron calls for new uniforms, unfortunately with zero rainbows. The new uniforms, updated to Under Armour’s newest template, feature a Hawaiian floral design on the shoulder caps and pants, which happens to be the first set of pants Under Armour has produced for NCAA competition with full sublimation. It’s also the first time silver pants will be worn since the 2007 season.
  • New Mexico – The Lobos have updated their white and red uniforms to Nike’s new Mach Speed template. They have a new black jersey, albeit on an older template. They also have a new matte black helmet, and what seems to be a camo pattern inside the decal on their grey lids.
  • San Diego State – The Aztecs have new Mach Speed uniforms and helmets showcasing the Aztec calendar pattern. The helmet, shoulder caps, and pants each feature this pattern. It’s a unique idea and execution of it. I really like the helmets, just hope it’s not overkill when the team hits the field.
  • UNLV – The award for the Most Comical Uniform Reveal goes to UNLV. The team posted photos online that featured Photoshop templates that are available online. I’ve seen amateur designers provide more professional concepts than what UNLV revealed these on. They didn’t just use one Photoshop template, but two! I understand possibly not having the uniforms on hand to showcase, but there’s much much better ways to showcase anything, especially uniforms. As for the designs themselves, they too could be much better. The helmets look great, and actually feature the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the back. The silver lid features a nice chrome red facemask. The jerseys each feature grey numbers and lettering, which look to be illegal on the black jerseys, even with the red outline, but don’t look so bad when seen on the real thing. The UNLV rebel logo is featured on the shoulder caps of each uniform. The pants are the weirdest part for me. The white pants have LAS VEGAS written up the pant leg, which actually looks upside-down to me. The black and red pants have the star design from the Las Vegas sign. Each look awfully high school-ish. As displeasing as the uniforms may be, the new turf for UNLV looks mighty awesome, continuing the team’s usage of the Las Vegas sign.


Sun Belt




Independent


FCS




  • UT- Chattanooga – The Mocs have switched from Russell Athletics to Adidas and have some new uniforms to showcase the change. The uniforms are on adidas’ Shockweb template and have the infamous tire treads across the chest and shoulders. The uniforms are pretty basic, but look good nonetheless, especially with last season’s uniforms having some interesting striping. Unfortunately, Chattanooga will be sticking with one helmet, as per the promo photos. I’ve always enjoyed UTC’s look, and I’d love to see some throwback helmet designs for the team. I’ve always thought a yellow lid with a train logo would be a great look.
  • Youngstown State – The Penguins have a new Under Armour jersey for this season.


Division 2


  • Jacksonville – The Jacksonville Dolphins have a great new helmet for this season. The shell has gold flakes painted on. The stripe fades from gold in the front to grey to green in the back. The only drawback is that the player numbers are on one side, while an oversized JU logo is on the other. Two normal sized decals would make this a wonderful design. The Dolphins have worn a glossy and matte version of a green lid with a normal sized JU logo. Here’s a look at the uniforms with the helmets.
  • Tiffin – Tiffin University out of Ohio will have a new gold chrome helmet. The white lid is what the team wore last year.
  • West Alabama – The Tigers have revealed a new set of uniforms, which includes two jerseys (white and red), and four pairs of pants (white, red, black, and what looks to be a camo pair). The team wore these uniforms last season
  • West Florida – The Argonauts of West Florida have revealed a new helmet design for their inaugural football season in 2016. Here’s the uniforms that will accompany the new helmets.


These are in no way every single uniform that will be worn this season. Of course many teams will be breaking out new alternates throughout the entire season. It's going to be a fun season of football, with some really great teams hitting the field. Hopefully teams will be more conscientious about their aesthetics on the gridiron this season and won't just add a million new elements throughout the season.

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