Commentary

Uni Watch: College football preview!

Originally Published: August 29, 2012
By Paul Lukas | ESPN Playbook

Playbook NCF Uniwatch ESPN.com Illustration

Glad you made it to Part II of the Uni Watch 2012 college preview.

Did you miss Part I? Go here for the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, and Independents.

MAC

• Good move by Ball State, which has scrapped all the extraneous black trim. Looks like a black alternate jersey may also be in the works.

Bowling Green is going with a simpler jersey and a less embarrassing number font, plus the helmet now has a matte finish. Bonus points for the wings on the shoulders -- a nice touch. Although not shown in these photos, there's also a new white helmet option.

Central Michigan has added solid gold and solid black to its uniform mix, including a new black helmet. Additional photos here.

Eastern Michigan has jumped aboard the gray bandwagon. Here's a closer look at those new helmet options.

Ohio will wear a matte-finish green helmet for the season opener on Sept. 1. And because that game is against Penn State, the Bobcats will wear a blue ribbon helmet decal in support of child abuse victims.

Toledo has a new gray alternate helmet. The Rockets plan to wear it for one game this season, although so far they haven't said which one.

UMass is newly elevated to FBS status this season, which of course means new uniforms. The Minutemen are also adding a solid-black option, which seems very, uh, patriotic.

• No changes at present for Western Michigan, but the Broncos will unveil an alternate uniform on Sept. 25. (It will not include this helmet design, which was making the rounds earlier this year. That's just a prototype.)


MOUNTAIN WEST

• The conference has a new logo, which teams will be wearing as a jersey patch.

• Surprising to see Air Force removing the lightning bolts from the jersey sleeves. The two jerseys and two helmets will mix and match with three pant colors (white, blue and gray pants). Also, the team will have a special uniform for the game against Navy on Oct. 6, but that hasn't been revealed yet.

Colorado State has simplified just about every element of its uniform. Feels a little bland compared to last year, no?

Fresno State has moved to the MWC this year, but the team has been using practice jerseys that still have the old WAC patches.

[+] EnlargeWyoming
University of Wyoming Wyoming wins the prize -- and it's not a good one.

• A bit of a downgrade for San Diego State, which is going with a WVU-ish template. That new helmet is nice, though.

• A nice headwear upgrade for UNLV, which has made a few helmet tweaks. Further details here.

• The three biggest uniform trends of recent years are gray, camouflage and matte-finish helmets. Wyoming has managed to combine these elements into the ugliest uniform of the year, hands down. Pity the poor sap who had to pose for that photo -- looks thrilled, doesn't he?


PAC-12

• No major college team has ever worn a copper-colored helmet -- until now. That's Arizona's new alternate helmet. (The Wildcats have also been tinkering with a red helmet, but they insist that it won't be worn this year.)

• No changes this season for Cal, but expect a serious makeover from Nike next year.

Oregon's new set is an extension of what they wore in the Rose Bowl back in January. The feeling here at Uni Watch HQ is that the feathered shoulders are too much -- not nearly as nice as the wings on the shoulders from recent seasons. Meanwhile, here's what they're telling fans to wear for each game this season, which generally matches up with what the team wears.

UCLA wore a white helmet in last year's game against USC. Are the Bruins now making that part of their regular uniform set, along with some dark navy pants? Maybe. That photo on the right has been circulating lately. When questioned about it, the school's media relations department had no comment. Draw your own conclusions.

• Several little tweaks for USC. First, the Trojans have adopted Nike's Flywire collar format. Second, although nobody in a position of authority will confirm it on the record, Uni Watch has it on good authority that the team's footwear will likely look like the gray shoes and white socks shown on this mannequin. (Here's a closer look at the shoe design.) Third -- and this may be hard to see -- the gray face masks may be accented by some gold fleck, providing a bit of sparkle.

Utah will wear a black helmet on Oct. 27 against Cal and possibly for other games as well.


SEC

• Teams throughout the conference will wear new SEC logo patches. The pennant is out, and the circle is in.

[+] EnlargeArkansas
University of Arkansas Arkansas' conservative uniforms are a thing of the past.

Arkansas has always been a traditional-looking team, but not anymore. Lots of additional photos, including views of the new white helmet option (!), here. Also: The Razorbacks have added the team's Twitter hashtag to their field.

• No uni changes this season for Auburn, but it's worth noting that the Tigers are using cutoff pants for their practice shorts. Not a good look.

• No changes for Kentucky, either, but here's a page showing all 18 (yes, 18) of their uni combinations.

Mississippi State is one of the teams that are using the base layer as a uniform element. The helmet logo now has a silver outline (although that isn't really new -- the Bulldogs debuted that design in the Music City Bowl back in December) and a white stripe. Additional photos here.

Missouri's athletic department has been given a complete rebranding, and that definitely includes the football team. That big tiger's head on the matte black helmet looks pretty cool, right? Additional details and photos here. Also on tap: a new field design.

• Back in the 1970s, Texas A&M's jerseys had stripes running down the shoulders and sleeves. The Aggies have recreated that look, or at least mimicked it, with this year's uni set. Too bad about the beveling on the numerals, but otherwise this is a pretty cool design. Additional photos here. Also: Nineteen-year-old cornerback Floyd Raven is a sophomore, but this year he's also a senior -- at least on his jersey. That's something you don't often see in college football!

Vanderbilt has scrapped the wraparound striping, plus there's now a white helmet option. Additional photos here.


SUN BELT

• Two changes for Arkansas State: The TV numbers have been replaced by claw scratch marks, and the players' names have been added to the jerseys.

Louisiana-Lafayette is adding one of history's most unusual memorial decals -- a silhouette of a girl riding her bicycle -- in honor of a student who was murdered back in May.

• Looks like Middle Tennessee State is adding a black alternate uniform.


WAC

[+] EnlargeIdaho
University of Idaho Idaho's new black helmet features gold specks.

Idaho has added a black helmet with gold speckling to its headwear rotation. It's not yet clear whether it'll be paired with a new black uniform.

New Mexico State is going with a much simpler, cleaner look this year.

• New helmet for San Jose State, and it's a beauty. It's basically the same helmet the Spartans wore in 2000, except they're using the spear as a center stripe.

• Nike has given Utah State a complete overhaul, and it's a winner. Here are some additional photos and info. Oh, and the Aggies also have a new field design.

• Over at UTSA, a photo of a white helmet has been making the rounds. (The Roadrunners' usual helmet is blue.) Word from the school is that it's part of a concept for an alternate uni, but there's no timeline as to when it might hit the field.

Phew! Did we miss anything? Send your college football uni updates (FBS only, please) here.

Paul Lukas will run down all of this year's NFL uniform changes next week. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his daily Uni Watch website, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.

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