Before the Oregon Ducks take the field next month at the Fiesta Bowl, they will need to figure out what they’re going to wear.
That’s never an easy task for a football team with close ties to Nike and Phil Knight. The Ducks have hundreds of different uniform options to choose from, and they go out of their way to make sure they don’t wear the same thing twice.
One week they come out with neon yellow numbers, the next their shoulder pads will feature wings or spikes. Sometimes they wear all white. Other times they wear black and green, yellow and green or throw in some gray. Point is: They never look the same.
Lots of teams (Oklahoma State, Baylor, Maryland) try to do the same with their uniforms. What they wear from week to week is considered news. Plenty more (TCU, Boise State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Notre Dame) break out special uniforms for special games.
New and loud uniforms are practically common place in college football, but that wasn’t always the case. Oregon started it all. Oregon was the trendsetter.
At about the same time Nike started designing new looks for Oregon, the Ducks started to get really good at football. While they were wearing cool new clothes, they started winning games and contending for conference championships. They started qualifying for major bowl games and did it all in style. When other clothing providers saw this, they copied the system. That’s why you see uniforms like this and this and this today.
Kansas State is on the other end of the spectrum. The Wildcats have worn the same uniforms with only microscopic modifications under Bill Snyder. They are like Texas or Oklahoma or Penn State. You always know what they are going to wear. When Ron Prince was in command, they occasionally wore purple pants, but the look was not popular among fans.
Linebacker Tre Walker tweeted a picture of the purple jersey K-State will wear at the Fiesta Bowl today (see it above to the left) and surprise, surprise, it is exactly the same thing it wore during the regular season with a Fiesta Bowl patch sewn on.
Oregon hasn’t announced what it will wear for the Fiesta Bowl, but when it does you can expect lots of photos of the uniforms to be passed around the Internet.
The team that started the current uniform-craze in college football is still the most fashionable.
Next up on the countdown: Dropped passes hurt Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl last year. A more relaxed approach may help the Wildcats’ receivers against the Ducks.
Last time on the countdown: Marcus Mariota makes Oregon’s offense go.
Editor’s Note: On Jan. 3, the Kansas State football team will face Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. With that in mind, I am counting down to the big game at University of Phoenix Stadium by attempting to write 21 blog posts in 21 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas. I’m confident that I can go 21 for 21, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @KellisRobinett.