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The Uni Watch college football preview

OK, so college football has had its share of offseason problems lately. But the show must go on, so with the season now underway (there were a handful of games this past weekend) and set to kick into high gear this week, it’s time for the annual Uni Watch college football season preview, where we run down all the uniform changes and related visual tweaks for the new season.

As usual, we’ve prepared a comprehensive team-by-team rundown for all of the FBS schools, organized by conference. In addition to uniform changes, we’ve included updates to logos, equipment, field designs and anything else related to a team’s visual program.

All 130 FBS schools were contacted during the preparation of this article. Schools that are not listed in the rundown that follows either did not respond, reported that they have no uniform changes for the coming season, or are not yet at liberty to discuss uni changes that will take place later in the year. But you can be sure that there will be more new designs in the pipeline — blackout, whiteout, camouflage and more — so if your favorite school isn’t listed here, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not making any changes.

Ready? Deep breath — here we go.


Jump to a conference:

ACC

• No photos yet, but a Clemson spokesperson says the Tigers’ new cleats will be “white with purple and orange chrome bottoms.” No other changes for this season.

It’s also worth noting that Clemson has just announced a 10-year extension of its apparel deal with Nike, so the Tigers will be wearing the swoosh for many years to come.


Florida State coach Willie Taggart says the team’s uniforms may have “some new combinations” this season, and that a council of players will decide what the Seminoles wear each week.

In addition, here’s a good article about the team’s tomahawk merit decals.


• Lots of changes this year for Georgia Tech, which has finally left Russell Athletic and jumped to Adidas. Since the Yellow Jackets are one of two FBS teams that routinely wear white at home (the other is LSU), Adidas has given the school two white jerseys — one with gold numbers, for home games, and one with navy numbers, for road games. Helmets and pants both come in gold and white options, and can be mixed and matched with either jersey (here’s some additional info and photos):

Bobby Dodd Stadium will also have a new end-zone design:

The new uniforms and end zones are part of a sweeping identity redesign that Georgia Tech athletics undertook earlier this year. Here are some of the highlights (additional info here):


• Lots of changes for Louisville, including the removal of Adidas’ dreaded tire tread pattern, the addition of wings to the white road jerseys, a sublimated pattern based on the Louisville city flag, and — rather oddly — front-facing TV numbers:

Also: In the wake of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter’s latest controversial statements, Louisville has terminated its stadium naming rights deal with Papa John’s. The facility will now be known as Cardinal Stadium.


Miami will be wearing a new “environmentally conscious” alternate uniform for the season opener against LSU on Sept. 2. The uniforms, which are made from upcycled plastic marine waste, will be auctioned off to benefit the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (additional info here):

As for the rest of the season, the Hurricanes have upgraded to a new Adidas template, which among other things means the dreaded tire tread pattern has been scrapped.


• Remember the shoulder striping on NC State‘s black alternate uni? A modified version of that has been added to the Wolfpack’s entire uniform set this season, along with a few other adjustments:

One of the more interesting design details is that the jerseys feature a sublimated graphic based on part of the North Carolina state flag:

Also: The school has announced that any future players wearing No. 9 — a number that is unassigned on the team’s current roster — will wear a patch honoring former Wolfpack players Bradley Chubb and Mario Williams, who previously wore that number.


• No announced changes for Pitt, but a team spokesperson has said that the Panthers will be “frequently and proudly showcasing [their] retro colors” this season and next. That presumably means the team will be trotting out its much-loved throwbacks.


UNC has new game balls and — get this — new down markers. Pretty sure this is the first time we’ve ever featured that in one of our Uni Watch season previews:


• According to this hype video, Virginia‘s new name and number fonts “will stand the test of time.” Yeah, until they change them again in a couple of years (additional photos and info here).


• Unusual new set for Virginia Tech, which is going with diagonal jersey striping that isn’t normally seen on a football field:

In addition, the Hokies have published the schedule for this season’s color-out games.


American Athletic

East Carolina has a new uniform and a new set of branding standards, all courtesy of Adidas (additional info here, here, and here):


• Although there hasn’t yet been an announcement, a video has been circulating that appears to show new gray uniforms for Memphis, among other changes. A school spokesperson confirms that an official unveiling will follow shortly.


Temple‘s new uniform set features an unusual gradation pattern across the jersey chest:


Tulsa has upgraded to a new Adidas template, which thankfully means no more tire tread pattern. New gold trim, instead of red, too:

In addition, the blue center striping on the helmet has been removed:


• Buh-bye, Jonathan: UConn is bringing back the block-C helmet logo, and the school will have new uniforms next year (additional info here):


USF has switched from Under Armour to Adidas — which, unfortunately, has outfitted the Bulls in the company’s brutal tire tread jersey pattern:

There’s also a black helmet with — get this — a chrome green face mask:


Big Ten

• No more metallic matte helmets for Illinois, which has a new set this season (here are some additional photos, info, and analysis):


• Several notable changes for Indiana. For starters, the wordmark on the chest has changed from “Hoosiers” to “Indiana,” and the side striping on the pants has been eliminated:

In addition, the school’s signature candy striping now appears as a sublimated pattern on the jersey sleeves and pants:

Also: Per a team spokesperson, the Hoosiers will go solid-red — that’s red jerseys and red pants — for all home games this season.

Finally, the Hoosiers will also wear a memorial helmet decal for former coach Bill Mallory, who died in May. No visual on that yet.


Iowa has a new uni number font and has upgraded to a new Nike template, which means, thankfully, no more Flywire collar:

In addition, Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley appears to be going with longer jersey sleeves this season — or maybe he just hasn’t had them trimmed yet:

Finally, it’s worth noting that Iowa’s tigerhawk logo has been added to the water tower across the street from Kinnick Stadium.


Maryland‘s new uniforms are, characteristically, rather flamboyant:

In addition, the Terps have removed the “Maryland” lettering from their helmets and replaced it with more traditional iconography:

Also: The Terps will wear a “79” memorial decal for former player Jordan McNair, who died in June from workout-induced heatstroke. In addition, no Maryland player will wear No. 79 until at least 2021, the year after McNair would have graduated. Further info here.


• Major news out of Michigan, where the Big House will have blue end zones for the first time:


• With P.J. “Row the Boat” Fleck now coaching at Minnesota, the Gophers have a new uni set that features an oar-themed helmet stripe, all of which seems, well, a bit much (here’s some additional info and analysis):


• Interesting uni quirk at Michigan State, where brothers Andrew, David and Michael Dowell will wear Nos. 5, 6, and 7, respectively.


• Very minor tweaks for Nebraska, including removing the pants striping and changing the Adidas logo on the white pants from red to black. Overall, though, the look is extremely familiar:


Purdue is going with a matte-finish helmet this year:


Rutgers can’t seem to decide what to do about its chest logos and sleeve striping, which seem to change back and forth every year or two. The 2018 version features striping on the sleeves and a simple “R,” instead of the full school name, on the chest:

Also: High Point Solutions, which bought the naming rights to the Scarlet Knights’ stadium in June 2010, has officially changed its name to HighPoint.com, and that change is now reflected in the stadium’s name. The new name will also appear on the field (sorry, no photo yet).


Big 12

Baylor will use the highly rated Vicis Zero1 helmet, which is gaining traction throughout the football world.


Iowa State has added a very unusual swirl to its number font:

In addition, the Cyclones have taken an atypical approach to their helmet warning labels:

Finally, it’s worth noting that the field at Jack Trice Stadium has a new corporate name, although the name of the stadium itself will not change.


Kansas is one of several Adidas-outfitted schools that have escaped the company’s dreaded tire tread pattern by upgrading to a new template:

In addition, the Jayhawks have removed the striping from their white pants and are going with a no-frills look below the waist:


Kansas State has tweaked its field design:


Oklahoma has transitioned to Nike’s Jordan Brand, so the Sooners will be wearing the Jumpman logo this season (additional info here):

That’s one of several changes they’ve made. Here’s another: They’ve tweaked the typography on their “OU” helmet logo:

In addition, the Sooners have tweaked their alternate “Roughrider” uniform (additional info here and here):


• They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and this year that includes the “Texas” lettering on the Longhorns’ jerseys, which has been slightly enlarged. Black shoes and socks, too.


• Subtle change for West Virginia, which has added gold nose bumpers to its blue helmets:

In addition, the Mountaineers have added raised “Country Roads” lettering to their neck bumpers:


Conference USA

All Conference USA teams will wear a helmet decal memorializing former conference commissioner Mike Slive and promoting prostate cancer awareness:


Charlotte has modified its helmet logo by eliminating the “49ers” team name:



Florida Atlantic is simplifying its logo. The owl’s head is in and the owl in flight is out:


Marshall has made some subtle tweaks to its green jersey and white pants:

In addition, the Thundering Herd has a new football design:


North Texas is adding grey pants to the mix this year:

Also: A team spokesperson says the Mean Green will have a “special surprise uniform set” for one game this season. No details yet regarding the game or opponent.

Also-also: North Texas has a new field design, which is being rendered in an “innovative” field surface that will supposedly be safer for the team’s players.


Old Dominion has removed its sleeve stripes and replaced them with the school’s logo:


Rice has updated to a new Adidas jersey template, which among other things means no more tire tread pattern. Significant typography changes, too.

In addition, a team spokesperson says the Owls may add a “90” memorial decal for former player Blaine Padgett, who died over the summer. No confirmation on that yet, however.


UTEP is transitioning to a lighter shade of orange. You can see the new hue in the school’s new uniforms and helmets:


Western Kentucky is marking 100 years of Hilltopper football with a centennial logo:


Independents

Liberty is joining the FBS this year as an independent, and they have a commemorative logo for the occasion:


UMass has added a “PG” memorial decal for former director of operations Paul Gorham, who died in June. In addition, the school logo on the team’s white helmet has been changed from white to maroon:


New Mexico State, now an independent, is going with a more traditional look for its road uniform:

Interestingly, when the Aggies played their season opener on Aug. 25, a few players still had the old Sun Belt conference logo patches on their jerseys, even though the school is now an independent:


Notre Dame will wear green for the season opener against Michigan on Sept. 1.

In addition, this year’s Shamrock Series game is being played at Yankee Stadium, where the Irish will face Syracuse on Nov. 17. The uniform is Yankees-themed, with pinstriped jersey sleeves, pinstriped pants and a pinstriped “ND” helmet logo (additional info here):

Also: The Irish are another team that’s going with the Vicis Zero1 helmet this season.


MAC

Akron is going with matte-finish face masks this season:


Ball State has a new white jersey. Like so many MAC uniforms, it’s underwhelming, although it’s an improvement over last year’s:


Bowling Green has added two new helmets. One is a metallic orange design that will rotate with the team’s white and brown helmets. The other is a stars-and-stripes design that will be worn as a military tribute for the Sept. 8 game against Maryland. The helmet’s center stripe includes the names of the 111 Bowling Green students who have died in the line of military service.


• No announced uniform changes for Miami (Ohio), but the university does have a new Myaamia heritage logo, which symbolizes the relationship between the school and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Expect to see it on season tickets, video boards, and other graphics.


Ohio has transformed its shoulder stripes into sleeve stripes, scrapped the contrasting collar and sleeve cuffs, and moved the Adidas logo to the center of the jersey:


Mountain West

Air Force has revealed the latest installment in its Air Power Legacy Series of alternate uniforms (additional photos and info here):

In addition, the Falcons will now mark their kickoff spot with a pair of crossed lightning bolts instead of the boilerplate “X”:


Colorado State‘s new stadium is called Canvas Stadium. The name refers to Canvas Credit Union, which paid $37.7 million for the naming rights.


Hawaii has toned down its look a bit. No more “Hawaii” lettering down the pant leg, among other changes:

In addition, when the Rainbow Warriors opened their season on Aug. 25, they wore a new black helmet design featuring an image of the Hawaiian Islands:

Also: The team will be going all-black for its home opener against Navy on Sept. 1.


Nevada has jumped from Nike to Adidas, which, unfortunately, has outfitted the Wolf Pack in the dreaded tire tread pattern and almost clownishly bold jersey typography (additional photos here:

Another thing about these new Nevada jerseys: No TV numbers! Spotters will not be happy about that.


• Utah is a long way from Polynesia, but that hasn’t stopped Utah State from adding a “Polynesian warrior pattern” to its home uniform. “Nike went above and beyond with this custom uniform,” says a team spokesperson.


Wyoming has changed from Nike to Adidas, which has largely maintained the Cowboys’ basic look:


Pac-12

• Nothing confirmed yet, but Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin has hinted that the team may have a throwback uni in the works.


Arizona State‘s new uniform features two particularly notable changes, beginning with a sublimated Arizona flag pattern across the jersey chest, which looks pretty great (additional info here):

The other big change is on the left leg of the home pants, which now features a big, honking wordmark:


• Great job by Colorado, which had patients from a local children’s hospital create the artwork for this year’s season tickets.


• It wouldn’t be a new college football season without crazy new uniforms from Oregon. This year’s set features four monochromatic designs — green, yellow, white, and black — with ginormous uni numbers and contrasting nameplates (additional info here).


• No visuals yet, but an Oregon State spokesperson says the Beavers will have some sort of special uniform for the homecoming game against Cal on Oct. 20.


Stanford has added black outlining to its uniform numbers:


UCLA has retired No. 42 across all sports, including football, in honor of Jackie Robinson.


• When you don’t have a rotating carousel of alternate jerseys and helmets, you can poke fun at other schools’ uniform schedules, which is basically what USC has done:


Utah has added a 125th-anniversary patch:


Washington has announced that No. 2, which had been retired for former player Chuck Carroll, is being unretired and will be worn each season by a player “who reflects the values of excellence and determination that Carroll was known for.” The first such player is junior wide receiver Aaron Fuller, who’ll wear No. 2 this season.

In addition, look for the Huskies to have more uniform changes in 2019, when they’ll be changing from Nike to Adidas.


SEC

• Lots of small, incremental changes for Arkansas, which are spelled out in this tweet (additional info here):

Also worth noting: The Razorbacks have usually had a fairly traditionalist approach to their uniforms, but new coach Chad Morris wants to use the school’s uniforms as a recruiting tool, which could mean more alternate looks in the school’s future.

Meanwhile, Arkansas also has a new football design:


Florida is another school that has transitioned to Nike’s Jordan Brand, which is interesting if you care about corporate theater but hasn’t had much impact on the team’s on-field look:

Also: The Gators have never worn a black uniform, but that could be changing. Head coach Dan Mullen hinted that the team will likely have a black uni “at some point.” It’s not clear if that time frame could include this season.


• Nothing’s confirmed yet, but a Georgia spokesperson says the team may have a one-game helmet decal saluting kids fighting cancer at some point this season. Aside from that, no changes this year for the Bulldogs.


LSU is adding a 125th-season jersey patch:


Ole Miss is debuting a new white uniform for the season opener against Texas Tech on Sept. 1:


• Several small changes for Tennessee, including the elimination of the gray alternate, footwear changing from white to black, and — most notably — no more checkerboard trim:


Texas A&M is another school that has escaped Adidas’ dreaded tire tread pattern by upgrading to a new tailoring template (additional info here):


Sun Belt

• The Sun Belt is the latest conference to allow a “Graduate” patch for players who’ve already earned their academic degree:


Louisiana-Lafayette has tweaked its primary helmet and added an alternate helmet. Both of them use the obligatory helmet warning label as a design element, shaping it like the state of Louisiana:


Louisiana-Monroe has tweaked its shade of red, along with its logo and jersey font:

In addition, the Warhawks have a new glove design this season:


South Alabama has changed from Nike to Adidas, which has swapped out the Jaguars’ old awkward number font for a new awkward number font, among other changes:


Additional Notes

• The NCAA has issued some new (read: not really so new) rules about things like crop-top jerseys, untucked undershirts, and pants that look more like biker shorts. The reality is that we’ve heard the NCAA sing this song before, and it remains to be seen whether the rules will now be enforced (here’s a larger version of the graphic in the tweet shown below).


• Another new NCAA rule will limit each team’s number of headset-connected staffers to 20, and at least one coach — Auburn’s Gus Malzahn — isn’t happy about it.


• In the past, stadiums whose naming rights have been sold to corporate advertisers could only have those names appear on the field in generic block lettering. But under a new rule, the rights-holder’s corporate logo can now appear.


• Finally, here’s something to look forward to: This is the last year before college football’s 150th-anniversary season. Teams will have the option of wearing a commemorative patch.


Phew! Did we miss anything? Yeah, probably. If you know of any college football uni updates that weren’t covered here (FBS schools only, please), you know what to do. Thanks.

Paul Lukas will have his annual NFL season preview on Sept. 4. If you like this column, you’ll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for his mailing list so you’ll always know when a new column has been posted. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, check out his Uni Watch merchandise, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.



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