The Top 15 Alternate Uniforms of the 2013 College Football Season
What's the Best Alternate Look in College Football?
Ever since the Oregon Ducks started using different uniform combinations on a week-to-week basis during the mid-2000s, college football programs around the country have been attempting to one-up each other with flashy and fashionable uniforms in attempts to bring in recruits. These days, the culture has evolved to the point where we see plenty of major programs change their uniforms yearly, as well as a large number of programs that introduce new helmets on a near-weekly basis. In modern college football, it's nearly criminal to stick with just one helmet design, and usually only the nation's most storied programs, such as Alabama, Penn State, and USC dare to do so.
There's no denying that a team's fashion plays at least some role in how they are perceived by their recruits. Some programs, such as Notre Dame, have introduced flashy alternate uniforms for the sole purpose of creating interest among prospective players. Because of all the different teams that have followed Oregon's mold, it doesn't have quite the effect that it once did, but most recruits want to look good when they're on the field so it's good for teams to make sure that those needs are met.
This list is just one person's rankings of the top 15 alternate uniforms that have been worn in college football thus far during 2013. To qualify as an true “alternate” uniform, it cannot be part of a team's regular uniform set that they wear year after year. Therefore, uniform sets such as West Virginia's and Missouri's gold, Tennessee's gray, and the majority of the pieces from Oregon's large set of uniforms can not be considered for the rankings. Rather, the alternate should be something that is worn for a particular special occasion and creates an effect.
Without further ado, here are college football's top 15 alternate uniforms.
15. Miami Hurricanes
Miami wore these special uniforms, referred to as “The Smoke”, against Virginia Tech. They're clean, sharp and simple, and the gray base allows for the orange to create a nice accent.
14. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech wore this orange-accented digital camo uniform against Marshall. It does a better, more tasteful job of referencing the military than any other uniform has done this year, though that's not saying a whole lot considering some of the horrible military-inspired designs we've seen.
13. UCLA Bruins
UCLA wore these black uniforms for “L.A. night” in their victory over Washington. While-black uniforms are certainly overdone these days, the Bruins' powder blue and gold accented it just right.
12. Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois wore all orange uniforms for the first time since 2004 in their matchup against Wisconsin. This look just makes sense for the Illini, who use orange much more frequently with their more successful basketball program.
11. Missouri Tigers
Missouri sported this look in their overtime loss to South Carolina. The anthracite jerseys and silver-trimmed helmets had each been debuted earlier in the season as part of different uniform combinations, but they come together perfectly here to create a nice chrome effect.
10. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers wore white throwback helmets, albeit with their regular blue jerseys and pants, for their matchup against Texas. It's difficult to go wrong with a white lid, and the fantastic old-fashioned logo tops it all off.
9. Oregon Ducks
In perhaps the boldest breast cancer awareness statement in the history of men's professional sports, Oregon wore hot pink helmets, socks, and shoes for their matchup with Washington State. They pulled it off successfully as the Ducks continually do better than anyone, and did a great job of complementing the pink with black to keep the uniforms from becoming overly feminine.
8. Colorado State Rams
Colorado State wore these orange uniforms against UTEP as an homage to their past. The throwback orange and their current color of green come together to create a very tasteful set.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina wore this all-black set for “Zero Dark Thursday” against Miami. Though it severely departs from the school's traditional powder blue and white look, the Carolina blue and black fit together very well and make this one of the better “black for black's sake” uniforms that have been used this year.
6. Maryland Terrapins
Maryland has had some terrible uniform combinations since allowing Under Armour to overhaul their identity, but this “Red Pride 2.0” design came together very well.
5. Boise State Broncos
Boise State does the blackout look like no one else can, allowing the black to contrast with the blue turf while the blue in the uniform matches up to it. The orange, blue, and black in this set work together perfectly, and it's made all the more better by the oversized Bronco logo on the helmet.
4. SMU Mustangs
SMU wore this blue throwback jersey against Rutgers, and it went over so well that the program is reportedly considering making it their primary jersey in the future.
3. Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State brought out all their orange against USC for their “orange-out.”
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
This set of throwbacks is cleanly designed with elements that come together well for Notre Dame.
1. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Forget alternate uniforms, these throwbacks that Hawaii wore against San Diego State may be the best uniforms overall that have been worn this year. They throw back to the Rainbow Warriors' 1959 set, and the combination of white, green, and rainbow elements comes together without fail. There's no reason why Hawaii shouldn't consider making these their regular uniforms at some point in the near future.