OT: Uniforms and Big Ten Expansion, part 2

Submitted by Six Zero on April 22nd, 2010 at 9:03 AM

After reading Vasav's interesting and unique post yesterday on Big Ten expansion with regards to uniforms, I was inspired to respond. The results grew so large I thought I'd dump it into its own topic. After reading Vasav's initial post, the inevital question that begged to be asked, at least for me, then, is:

If the Big Ten WAS selecting teams solely on uniform individuality, who would be the prime contenders?

Might I suggest:
1. Oregon State or Oklahoma State. It's very hard to believe there are so many 'Tiger' teams in NCAA, yet save Princeton the only black and orange go to "Beavers" or "Cowboys."

2. Wyoming. Love 'em or hate 'em, there's very few teams with the audacity to go brown and yellow. Reminds me of 80's era Padres. Actually, before their Nike rebirth last year, I kinda liked the Cowboys' look.

3. Clemson. Again, audacity. Purple and Orange don't exactly roll off the aesthetic senses, do they? I say if you're going to go for it, embrace it-- wear the purple alts with the orange helmet and pants.

4. North Carolina. This stuff sells just because of the color. Enough said. I also like how they've added the dark blue, but don't ever go blue pants and jersey. Don't do me like that.

5. UCLA. When playing at home, they are their own brand. Nobody else comes close to looking like them. Hard to believe we can't find a way to bring more of the sky blue into the away uni's though. Adidas tried by losing the Old West numerals and going three-color block (complete with sky blue trim), but I still think they can do better.

6. Tulane. Forest Green. Sky blue. What's not to love?? Besides the team itself, of course...

7. Actually, Air Force. The royal blue and silver seems like it'd be everywhere, but there's very few who actually do it. Memphis is the only other I can think of... anyone I'm missing off the top of my head? I guess Nevada or Rice, but their blue is more navy and has a totally different feel.

8. Miami. Love 'em or hate 'em, it's one of the single most iconic color palettes not only in college football, but in the sports world at large.

9. UAB, USF or Colorado State. Sure we have Sparty wearing green, but throw in the gold and this is a totally different feel. I guess the Irish get lumped into this group when wearing their alts as well.

10. Virginia Tech. A turkey with a thing for maroon and orange. This should fail on so many levels, and yet it does not. Well played, Hokies.

So that's close enough... and some reasons behind some other omissions:
a. No to TULSA. Just because your uniforms are different don't make them any less hideous. Go Shavodrick your Beaver.
b. No to TCU. Actually too close to Northwestern. Maybe if they went with their new Nike alts from last year, but I don't know if the Big Ten is ready for patterned helmets with stripes that replicate a frog's tendency to shoot blood from its eyes. Even I couldn't make this up, people.
c. No to BOWLING GREEN. See item "a" above.
d. Finally, no to OREGON. Why? Overkill. If conferences were formed on uniforms alone, they'd have formed the Eugene Ten years ago. Enough is enough.

Obviously this is all one big worthless mess, and I'm sure in truth we're going to get at least one more RED team and probably another close-to-purdue/iowa team when all is said and done. I'm beginning to actually worry a bit that all this talk of 'swallowing' large portions of the Big East might mean a potential addition of West Virginia, which means they'd have the nerve to wear MAIZE and BLUE in our own conference. Unacceptable. Either way, Big Ten football will surely look a little different when the smoke has cleared. Maybe Penn State will have to go back to its original pink and black color scheme??



April 22nd, 2010 at 9:35 AM ^

A turkey with a thing for maroon and orange. This should fail on so many levels, and yet it does not.

Yes, yes it actually does. Miserably.

What about some other choices:

- Arizona. Big Ten has a lot of blue and a lot of red, but never together. Ole Miss another possibility here.

- Georgia Tech. Primarily they wear gold and white, which you won't see in the Big Ten now that Purdue scrapped the mercifully short-lived gold jerseys. UCF would be another similar combo.

- ECU. Enough yellow in their look to set them apart from Northwestern? If not, then maybe LSU.

- Texas Tech/Northern Illinois. Same principle as Arizona.


April 22nd, 2010 at 11:44 AM ^

I mean, that is a pretty common template, did Syracuse have it before everyone else or something? When I think of that template, the first two that pop in my head are LSU and the Colts. And, I think VT uses it better than syracuse. The solid maroon numbers, cuffs, collars, and helmet really make those maroon-orange-maroon stripes stick out. (In a good way)


April 22nd, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

It was more of a tongue-in-cheek comment that VT ripped it off from probably a dozen or so teams before them. SU went to the shoulder stripes look when Greggers (a.k.a. GERG) took over and ran our proud program into the ground. Word on the street is we're going to be getting rid of them for this upcoming season.

I actually can't stand our shoulder stripes. If you're going to have them, have them go all the way around the shoulder. To me, these are two things of beauty (and I would love to see them on the same field every season)...


April 22nd, 2010 at 4:23 PM ^

That was my first game in that stadium rooting for the opponent, and one of the best Syracuse games I've ever seen. What's funny is that the last home game played before it was the 1997 Ohio State game and I remember having a rose in the lower part of the Michigan sideline, about the 10 yard-line, not being able to move in the crush of people.

Completely agree on Michigan's uniforms as the best in all of sports, may they never change.

I have always loved Michigan football and always will, but you have to go with your undergrad school over your grad school.

I'm sure it's become pretty evident that my dream is for SU to find its way into the Big Ten.


April 22nd, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

You can't make maroon and orange look good together, ever. It's impossible. It's a horrendous combination and I've thought so long before I was a UVA fan.

Those whites are not too bad, but the maroon version of the same is really awful.


April 22nd, 2010 at 10:02 AM ^

I agree on the UNC thing, but I would make it a condition of the invite that they go back to their old logo:

I mean, how much cooler is that than


College logo rule of thumb:

Cartoon anthropomorphic animals in varsity sweaters


Angry-looking animals.

By the way, "Tar Heel" is not a type of ram, but a mysterious term used for anyone from North Carolina. I personally think a nickname that belonged to the entire state before the school is the best type of nickname you can get.

I can think of five:

  • Wolverines
  • Hoosiers
  • Buckeyes
  • Tar Heels
  • Sooners


April 22nd, 2010 at 10:10 AM ^

This is true - definitely is one reason "Wolverines" is a better nickname then Spartans.

I'm not sure, but I think the "Tar Heels" moniker was given to NC militia men during the War of 1812, because they held the line like they had "tar on their heels" or something to that effect

Another good one: Volunteers


April 22nd, 2010 at 10:54 AM ^

I've heard the tale of them sticking to their lines in 1812 or the Civil War before, but I think it's apocryphal: a bit of 19th century revisionist history to whitewash what was actually an adopted derogatory term.

First of all, North Carolina didn't do much in the War of 1812, other than get ass-raped by the British Navy a few times. The reason 1812 is used in legend is because by the Civil War the term was already popularly applied to people from that state.

Most likely, "tar heel" was a derogatory term applied by the comparatively more "civilized" Virginians or South Carolinians (perhaps coastal North Carolinians as well) to their more rugged neighbors, in reference to N.C. being the Tar Capital of America. Tar or pitch, then made by burning pine trees and collecting the cooked sap, was a major business for North Carolina. It's probably a reference to that.

The other possibility is that it was a derogatory term for yokels, meaning dirty-footed, i.e. walks barefoot. Southern frontiersmen were notorious for not wearing shoes (this persisted well into the the 20th century), a point which would have been found worth remark by the comparatively genteel (and shod) populations of South Carolina and Virginia (and also coastal Carolinians).

Thing is, it's gotta be one or the other, not both. If you've ever seen old fashioned tar being made at like one of those historical recreation sites, not wearing shoes seems like a very bad idea.


April 22nd, 2010 at 11:10 AM ^

I personally think a nickname that belonged to the entire state before the school is the best type of nickname you can get.

LOTS more. Don't forget: Badgers, Volunteers, Cowboys (Wyoming variety), Hawkeyes, Mountaineers, Cornhuskers, Jayhawks, Beavers, Golden Bears (it's the Golden that matters.)

I agree, nicknames that come straight from the state are some of the best, mainly because they're unique. An interesting story like LSU's is neat and all, but nicknames that aren't shared by anyone else (or if they are it's like, a dinky DIII school somewhere) are the best of all. Wolverines is pure awesome and the best nickname in all of college. UVA has the two next best.


April 22nd, 2010 at 12:59 PM ^

Badgers: They claim it's because their early settlers, miners, had to "live like badgers" in the hillsides. Eh. The nickname doesn't get popularized for the state until the 20th century, when it was already applied to the football team. I don't doubt that Wisconsin is the Badger State today. But considering how most of Wisconsin was settled by Michiganders during the 19th century, it would seem at least plausible that they chose "Badger" because Michigan was already well-established as Wolverines, kind of like how the Detroit Lions became big cats because they moved to Detroit and shared a stadium with a team that was already named for a big cat.

So point: awesome nickname, but I think got there by following the formula for the most awesome nickname, not through originality (or starting a war with Ohio, which I can't believe we're the only state to have done this so far!)

Volunteers: Good call. This one pisses me off a bit, though. Historically, it's for the Volunteer Army who were essential to the solitary and ultimately superfluous land victory over the British. Yeah Jackson and his Volunteers. What bothers me about this is that NOT A SINGLE VOLS FAN I HAVE EVER MET KNOWS THIS. They all think it's a Civil War reference.

It's hard to respect a school who names their team for a group of people who committed treason against the United States of America.

Tennessee didn't. In fact, historically, the state was split pretty evenly between those who remained true to the Red, White and Blue, and those who would rather fuck America than give up slavery. Yet these loyalists are hardly ever celebrated. The statues in Tennessee all go for Nathan B. Forrest et al., whereas the East Tennessee unionists, who tried to secede from the state a la West Virginia, are today largely forgotten.

Anyway, just my pitch. The Volunteers make the cut and may add themselves to our list of awesome, provided they leave the nation's most unlikeable fanbase at home.

Wyoming The Cowboy State and the Cowboys share a name, but one did not follow the other. Rather, the team had the name first, and the state unofficially adopted that nickname in the middle-20th century because its official nickname "The Equality State" (referencing gender equality) was less popular in light of the Civil Rights and Feminist movements. The state even adopted the Wyoming logo as its own symbol. Since the team nickname came first, it doesn't make the cut.

Mountaineers: Another great nickname, since West Virginia is the "Mountain State" and that's what the name references, which, awesome. Should add to the list.

Cornhuskers: Another one of those "school came first" things. Among names that reference common trades in a state, this is by far the best: Nebraska = Corn. I have as much respect for Nebraska fans as I do not for Tennessee fans, and I would love to add them to the list, but the state is only the "Cornhusker State" because it's their college football team's mascot, and they are nuts for their college football team.

Jayhawks: Oh my God, I didn't even know until I looked it up. GRRRREAT find. I already plussed your response, but I will find another thing you wrote and plus that for knowing the Jayhawk thing. Definitely belongs on Awesome List.

Beavers: Technically, they fit the criteria of "named for the sate animal" since Oregon was the Beaver State before Oregon State adopted the animal. And Oregon State is actually older than Oregon. The only thing is, they used to be the Coyotes. Taking the state animal was cool, but it wasn't like "Beavers" was ever used to refer to people from Oregon.

Golden Bears: The Golden part, yes, is a reference to the state. But they totally stole this from a Native American legend that originated in Kansas. And the team got the nickname from an early state banner that was put forth but didn't become the state flag. Kind of like the beavers here: cool reference, guys, but not enough to trip the Awesomemeter. Plus, it's not original (lots of other teams with this name) and "Golden" is an add-on to far too many teams (stern look, lolphers) for it to be cool.

Hawkeyes: Should we count them, since it was a state nickname before the school nabbed it? I think so. It's a reference to Chief Blackhawk, an Indian leader who led successful military campaigns against pretty much every other Big Ten state. I count it.

There are a lot of great nicknames out there for college teams, and most have some sort of extra meaning relating to that state. Like the Texas Longhorns, a type of particularly hardy cattle that the state is famous for = awesome. Or the Crimson Tide, a reference to an annual natural phenomenon (caused by a bloom of red algae) of the Gulf of Mexico. That's pretty cool. Most of the time when students vote to pick a mascot they end up with something really dumb (fortunately for Michigan State, their dumb pick was vetoed by their athletic director), but among these, the Webster University Gorlok is the coolest. They made up a mythological creature!

What do you feel about the bazillion teams named after the local name for a cougar (nittany lion, rock cat, mountain lion, mountaincat, catamount, puma, wildcat, panther) or bobcat (lynx, amcat): cool, or no cool?

Also: realized today that most nicknames that make no sense are some local term for "rooster."

Fun exercise.


April 22nd, 2010 at 1:27 PM ^

They're all the same animal, so it's kind of lame. Especially the Wildcats, a nickname I would hate. Actually, wildcats aren't even cougars. They're basically just slightly bigger versions of regular puddy tats and not native to the Americas. But the nickname is so common, it's just horribly unimaginative. "Catamount" sounds cooler than the rest, but it's still just "cat of the mountain."

Nearly all Wildcats, Huskies, Tigers, and Bulldogs should be ashamed of themselves.

In general, the more unique, the better. Double bonus if it has special meaning to your school or state, like Gators, Longhorns, or Commodores.


April 22nd, 2010 at 1:44 PM ^

"It's hard to respect a school who names their team for a group of people who committed treason against the United States of America."

But it is easy to root for a group of people who committed treason against the Empire.


April 22nd, 2010 at 5:41 PM ^


Tell you what: if we ever make Palpatine the President of the United States (and re-worked the Constitution so that if the VP and his son kill the President they get to rule), I'll be the first guy in an X-wing.

Till then Hey Reb can go Reb his hay.


April 22nd, 2010 at 3:21 PM ^

I've heard that the crappy hockey team in Chicago is also named for Chief Black Hawk.

As for the Nittany Lions/Cougars/Mountain Cats/Catamounts, I like it. Yes it's an overdone animal, but it's done with a local flavor every time. I consider that a unique nickname. Not awesome, but cool


April 22nd, 2010 at 3:28 PM ^

The Chicago Blackhawks are named after the original owner's military group. Which was named after that chief.

"the Blackhawks' first owner was coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin. He had been a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I.[citation needed] This Division was nicknamed the "Blackhawk Division", after a Native American of the Sauk nation, Chief Black Hawk, who was a prominent figure in the history of Illinois." - from wikipedia

Everything I'd heard said it was the Military Group