Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hokies and Broncos Sport the ALT Look on ESPN

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and as such, so go sports uniforms.

One man's classic color scheme, is another man's tired old paint job in desperate need of a makeover.

Last night in Landover, MD, the VA Tech v. Boise State game lived up to all expectations, see-sawing until the final Bronco kick to the gut with less than two minutes remaining.

But what about those unis?

I'm guessing, people either loved them, or hated them.

Nike is pushing this line of ALT jerseys known as the Pro Combat line. They include very nontraditional elements like flat black helmet paint, and graphic sub-tones inside the actual jersey numbers.

Boise State stole a concept from the Pittsburgh Steelers, only sporting a logo on ONE side of their helmet.

From afar, I thought VA Tech looked too much like Oregon State, and Boise was bland without their traditional splash of orange, which was all but banished from their look.

Take a closer look youself, and come to your own conclusions.

Personally, I think it's just a bit of overkill. For example, if VA Tech had gone black helmet (flat finish) without the funky morphing stripe in the middle, and without the graphic in-lay in the uniform numbers, it could have been pretty cool.

If Boise state had gone with the enlarged Bronco head logo on both sides of their helmet, and added a more prominent slash of orange somewhere in the pants or on the side venting of the shirts, I would have been more enthusiastic.

But at this point, the Nike Pro Combat series has SO MANY graphical bells and whistles, it has almost ceased as a uniform, and morphed into a graphic designer's wet dream.

Now, if you want a guy who is vehemently against all such "ALT-Black" schemes, it would be Phil Mushnick of the NY Post:

Virginia Tech's school colors are orange and maroon -- but only for the last 104 years, since 1896. Such traditions can't survive the combination of money-first TV and sneaker company demands and marketing blueprints.

Certainly, the introduction and subsequent sale of street attitude-enriched black uniforms is hardly new. No other color has systematically been added to all sports' uniforms and team logos -- while mascots have been turned into snarling predators. Black uniforms are now even worn by the Duke Blue Devils, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Toronto Blue Jays, Harvard Crimson, Louisville Cardinals and St. John's Red Storm.

I can only imagine what would happen if the famous "Maize and Blue" Michigan got swapped out for a midnight "black" and "Wolverine gold" instead someday.

Or if Joe Pa agreed to let the conspicuously austere Penn State uniforms get graphically raped by Nike designers.

I would say I won't live long enough to see that, but I seem to be seeing more and more crazy shit all the time with uniforms, and I've got a lot of life in me yet.



  1. First off, can I just say how much of a pleasure it was to hear first thing this morning "Now here he is...The Czab!" Welcome back buddy! I have missed all you guys and you are back for football season!

    I like the Nike Pro Combats. I know there are alot of college football purest out there who would say otherwise, and being a Boise State Alum I kind of see things a little more orange and blue. Pro combats represent the new bloods of college football and I think the players and new fans love the concept.

  2. I think the players love this crap look more than most fans.

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