These days in college sports, how you look seems almost as important as how you play.
Illinois has undergone a "re-branding" effort with Nike that resulted in uniform changes for several of its sports teams, including football. The official unveiling of the new uniforms is scheduled for Wednesday night, but some photos of the new gear can be found here.
Marty Kaufmann, Illinois' assistant athletic director, told the News-Gazette that Nike spent 18 months working on the re-branding, which included talking to Illini coaches, players and staff.
"They spent time in the archives and talked to archivists on campus," Kaufmann told the paper. "They really tried to get an understanding of the history and tradition, as well as kind of what we're hoping to achieve and what the future Illini may want as well."
In the photos that have come out, the basketball uniform redesign is more striking than the football version. But the football gear looks sleek and modern, and those orange helmets are pretty sweet. Expect some more combinations and designs as well.
None of this will help the Illini play better on the field, but new uniforms seem to always get the attention of recruits. And a program that hasn't had much success or national relevance of late can use any buzz it can possibly generate.