2011 College Football Uniform Changes

2011 College Football Uniform Changes

It’s been a while, and I apologize. I knew when I started this blog that it would be tough to post regularly, but I didn’t see the onslaught of freelance work that would take all of my free time as of late. If you’re interested in writing a guest post, let me know.

I HAD to write something now because it’s the best time of the year — the start of college football season. With the season starting today, I thought I’d take a look at all the teams introducing new uniforms this season. I’m just looking at FBS teams, and I’ll look at special, one-game uniforms, like Pro Combat and the Michigan/Notre Dame game unis in another post.

I like to keep this blog away from all uniform-ranking posts, so I’ll go in alphabetical order, but I will try to provide some commentary. Full redesigns are up first. Minor tweaks are at the bottom.

Arizona State

Starting off with a good one. Arizona State had one of my favorite redesigns this offseason. I love the new pitchfork logo, and it provides a more creative use of the helmet than slapping a logo centered on the side. It’s adapted well on the custom shoulder stripe that they won’t have to share with any other school as well. And I love the new trend of matte (non-shiny) black helmets. I don’t love the all-black uni combination, but like we’re seeing at a lot of schools, they’re providing lots of jersey, pants, and helmet options, creating a ton of possibilities week-to-week.

Arkansas State

Arkansas State will be switching to these. That’s all I know for now.


Yikes. Not that Baylor’s had a long history of good uniforms (or football), but those pants… I generally love white helmets, but in the combos above, the white-helmet versions lack any gold in the uniform. Baylor should stick with this look.

Boston College

Boston College updated their uniforms, with the number font, loss of shoulder eagle, and new helmet being the biggest differences. While I didn’t really care for BC’s old number font, it was clearly BC’s at a glance. I like the conceptual nature of the new helmet stripe (inspired by stained glass), but it doesn’t quite come through on a football helmet… Similar to Kentucky’s checkers and Maryland’s turtle shells (see both below), a decent idea wasn’t very well executed.

Bowling Green

Bowling Green got a much-needed update. Their previous uniforms were pretty awful. It’s tough to make orange and brown look good, but these, while a little generic, aren’t bad. I like the falcon logo on the chest, and the number font makes them a little less generic. The pants stripe is a little thick, but overall much better than what they had before.


Buffalo has gone from looking like Kentucky to looking like the Detroit Lions (and that’s a good thing). They’re not all that similar to the Lions, but the new blue reminds me of it and the number font is similar. It’s a nice, clean look, and I love the new, more unique blue. Unfortunately, the Kentucky-style helmet will stay the same. I hope they at least update the color to match the new blue…



Colorado’s new uniforms are basically old uniforms. They’re throwbacks they wore last year to honor the 1990 “National Championship” team (that split the title with Georgia Tech after getting this 5th down). They’ve been slightly modified and use a much better gold color for the helmet than the yellow-gold they’ve used for years.






Florida International

FIU got a good update from last year as well. The pants are the same color as the jerseys, but it actually works well with the darker blue helmet. Monochrome’s not as bad when the helmet doesn’t try to match it as well, because usually it fails (like theirs did last year).





Fresno State

Fresno State got one of the worst redesigns of the offseason (don’t worry – my least favorite’s still to come). Sure, Fresno was stuck in the 90s the past few years, but they should probably try to get back to the 90s this season if it’s not too late. I’m not sure where to begin… the giant stripe under the arms is ugly. The pixelating fade-away stripes on the shoulders and pants aren’t great, and they seem totally out of place with the rest of the uniform. And the helmet… I guess they had to keep some of the 90s in their uniforms with that stripe (that also doesn’t fit in with the rest of this uniform design at all). Fresno’s trademark neon green V looks even worse on this helmet. And there’s no way that red helmet will mach that red uniform. It’s like Nike took a helmet, jersey, and pants from 3 different templates (with the pants being the only decent piece) and put them together for Fresno State…ok, I’m done.

Georgia Tech

I love Georgia Tech (hence the color scheme of this blog). I do not love these uniforms. I did not love them when Russell introduced them in 2008 in mustard yellow. I grew to like, but did not love them when they became a better gold in 2009. And now that they’re all gold, including the numbers, I again do not like them. I may be alone, but I actually loved last year’s Georgia Tech uniforms. I also really liked the 2010 Orange Bowl uniforms. Why Russell keeps changing things up, and why they keep coming back to this design, I’ll never know…

This year’s numbers will presumably be tough to read from a distance and on TV, but I guess UCF pulls it off. Apparently Tech will wear a version with navy numbers, similar to 2009′s, on the road since Tech chooses to wear white at home. Sorry for all the Tech talk… onto someone else.


At first, I was all like, “Ooh, I like these new Hawaii uniforms.” And then they turned around, and I was all like, “Who are these weird lizard people with thin, green legs?” Take away those weird things on the back of the pants and these are solid uniforms. With them…


Indiana stripped the bad parts of last year’s uniforms away and left the good. Last year, they fell victim to Fresno State syndrome (see above) and had helmets, jerseys, and pants that looked like they were from different jersey templates. There’s nothing exciting about Indiana’s uniforms, but they’re classic and they look nice. It’s better to be boring than ugly. The Hoosiers have come a long way from the Antwan Randle El days. (Also, the helmet and pants will match; there just aren’t pictures of the real things floating around.)






Kentucky tried something, a la Boston College, and it more noticeably doesn’t work. The state of Kentucky loves horse racing, but I’m not sure what place it has in football uniforms. And jockey’s uniforms are ugly anyway. If they were much smaller checkers that were more subtle, it might be cool, but it’s on an ugly side-of-shoulder patch, and it just looks bad. I’ve never liked Kentucky’s super-shiny blue helmet, either. The white one is an improvement, but something makes me still not like it. I think it’s the lack of any sort of third color.


The Ragin’ Cajuns needed an update, but this still isn’t great… the pants don’t seem to match the style of the jerseys, and their helmets still suck (as do all text-based helmets). Their number font is unique to them, and like Kentucky, I like the idea to include some local flair, but gradients have no place in sports uniforms.


Louisville has had ugly uniforms for a while, and this is definitely an improvement. The numbers are still a little dated with the big shadows, and I don’t know why, but I always wish their helmet had fewer strips. But this is the best they’ve looked as far as I can remember. And they finally shrunk their wordmark a little bit.






Here we have it. Not just my least favorite redesign of the year, but maybe my least favorite football uniform ever. It’s like they’ll be wearing the worst of the Pro Combat uniforms every week. Next year’s SAT may have an analogy question that looks like this:

(A) Maryland : Under Armour

I love that they tried something unique with the helmet because it’s great when teams have something clever other than their logo slapped on the side, but they should have realized it wasn’t working and either fixed it or ditched it. Effects like the turtle shell here are cool when done subtly, and even though it’s gray, it’s very in-your-face. And the helmet stripe is a cool idea, but maybe a little less of it? It looks like a crash test dummy.

Then there’s the numbers, reminiscent of my former least-favorite-uniform-ever. Gradient plus more of the texture? Stop adding so much into these. And the yellow has just got to go. The only way I won’t gag when Maryland plays Georgia Tech this year is if they wear the red top, white pants combo (the most like last year’s uniforms, which were actually ok!).


Nevada swapped the ugly, old Miami template for the West Virginia template. Not great, but an improvement for sure.





North Texas

North Texas is going all green. Yuck. And they still have an all-text helmet. Double yuck.





Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State is following all the trends – lots of helmets, lots of options, and a black matte helmet. And I really like it. These are nice and clean with some cool features like the arm and pants stripes design and matte black and gray helmets.


I’ve seen a lot of hate for the new Purdue uniforms, and I don’t really get it. They’re plain, but I think they did simple really well. There’s nothing bad other than the chest stitching on the black jerseys, but they’re clean and modern, and I like them. The new helmet will just have one stripe.

South Carolina

I really like South Carolina’s new uniforms, and I’ve disliked theirs for years. The garnet jersey and white pants combo looks really good. Now if they would just stop using their ugly C + bird logo on their helmets and use the one they use for baseball

South Florida

USF’s uniforms aren’t all that different from last year’s. I still like their white helmet, green jersey, white pants combo the best.


TCU is adding new uniforms, but will continue to wear last year’s, too… The new ones have the colored side of shoulder like Kentucky and Louisiana-Lafayette, and somebody at TCU knows how to subtly add meaningful texture to design. Take notes, BC, Kentucky, and Maryland. The jerseys are ok, but I like the new helmet.


Texas Tech

Texas Tech improved over last year’s uniforms, but they need to just wear the white pants all the time. The all red is horrible. The white jerseys are much better than the red or black ones, too, since they have two colored stripes. Why no white stripe on the other two? The colored jerseys would look a little better with white numbers, too.


Utah’s uniforms changed and improved slightly. Another well-done, subtle, meaningful texture is the Utah topography on the pants. It doesn’t however, translate well to the black jersey. It could have, though, with dark gray topography. Oh, well. Also, white pants would make these much better since they have a red helmet.


Boy, did UTEP need new uniforms… They chose the generic 90s template, but anything’s better than what they had last year. I sound like a broken record, but try some white pants with those blue tops…





Western Kentucky

Last year, Western Kentucky made the Georgia Tech Orange Bowl template I like look bad with their giant name and shadow numbers. Now Russell gave them something simple, but nice-looking. I wish they’d do the same for GT. The Hilltoppers also have a new helmet that’s white with red stripes.

Washington State

I kind of like Washington State’s new look, although last year’s wasn’t bad at all. It’s a kind of matte helmet that isn’t black, and it still works. The gray uniforms are kind of cool, if nothing else for being unique.

So to recap, the biggest winners in my book were Arizona State, Buffalo, Oklahoma State and South Carolina. The biggest losers were Baylor, Fresno State, the backs of Hawaii’s legs, Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Maryland, and North Texas.

Here are some more minor tweaks that happened this offseason:

  • AUBURN‘s pants stripes cut off diagonally at the bottom instead of going all the way down like they have in the past. This doesn’t change their status as one of my favorite home uniforms in college football.
  • CINCINNATI has a new helmet that, if used, would be awesome.
  • FLORIDA STATE added an FSU logo to their chest. They still continue to have one of the best college football uniforms.
  • KANSASwordmark got bigger, and their numbers got thinner. I really like that they’ve kept their serif font from basketball and are applying it across sports.
  • MARSHALL is trying out new wordmarks on the front of their jerseys. I like using a more custom logo on the front, but it’s just kind of an ugly wordmark.
  • NORTH CAROLINA STATE switched their logo for “STATE” on the front of their jerseys. Plain, but nice.
  • PENN STATE is making a uniform change! And it’s losing the neck trim on the jerseys (which I actually liked). Now their uniforms are somehow even plainer.
  • RUTGERS adds to the list of black matte helmets, and as with most, I like it.
  • SOUTHERN MISS has a black matte helmet, too, but the sides are different (and both ugly).
  • TEMPLE is going back to the “T” helmet. Good. Why would they have left for a text helmet? Text helmets suck.
  • TROY has a new wordmark on their jerseys. Seems a little big.
  • TULSA has a new helmet with more stripes. They still have ugly colors and uniforms.
  • VIRGINIA TECH added orange pants. They’re alright. Their throwback-style uniforms are great, though.
  • WESTERN MICHIGAN has a new helmet. I liked it better without the “W.”
  • WYOMING added more options. Unfortunately, they’re all still brown and yellow.

Anything I missed? What new uniforms do you guys love and hate?

41 Responses to “2011 College Football Uniform Changes”

  1. Joshhh...
    September 12th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Very cool post but it seems like you pretty much don’t like uniform changes. Your post on each uniform became so redundant with “I’m not a fan” or “These don’t work.”

  2. The Sports Design Blog
    September 12th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Thanks. I don’t mind uniform changes at all. I get excited when people change uniforms. I didn’t like a lot of these, but I love Arizona State, Buffalo, Oklahoma State, and South Carolina’s updates. And a lot of the other ones above I think are improvements, too.

  3. Alex
    September 12th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I don’t know if it totally counts, but Washington sported a new helmet this last weekend (a W with the American flag imbedded) on a completely revamped helmet. It may be looking into their new digs to see if there are any other surprises in store

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    September 16th, 2011 at 2:58 am

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    September 21st, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Wish South Carolina would go back to last years uniforms! They were awesome!!!!!

  9. Ron Lewis
    October 2nd, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I love sports design…. change is good…fresh and new.. it’s a big shock & exciting ,which uniform home or visiting team will wear..It’s a great marketing and advertisement.. Sport fans will spend money to buy their favorite team new uniform… Thx’s to the Oregon Ducks & NBA ATLANTA HAWKS.. LOVE THEIR VARIOUS NBA UNIFORMS.. I WISH THEY GO BACK TO RED, YELLOW & BLACK…THE NEW UNIFORM ARE O.K. BUT IT’S NEED MORE FLAVOR.

  10. Charlie
    November 13th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I like tradition. I hate almost all of the new uniforms.

  11. Brian H
    November 27th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Great sight! I love that you included my alma mater (North Texas) and my home state (Maryland). I disagree with the Maryland unis. Very cool!

  12. Hail Victors
    January 3rd, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Watching the Sugar Bowl. Michigan Wolverines white jerseys are U G L Y. Wow.

  13. Old buckeye
    January 6th, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I agree with Charlie. Continuity is important to tradition. Are we dealing with football teams or fashion shows? This “combat” stuff soon will be as dated as the pastel bathroom fixtures of the 1950′s. The other problem is that this new fashion trend seems to ignore school colors. So will we change them to accommodate the fashion designers? Maybe this is all a plot to sell more gear because the old gear gets outdated fast. When every school has flat black or gray its color, school colors become meaningless.

  14. kellen
    January 6th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Have you seen Kentucky’s uniforms on TV? they actually look pretty sharp. Also the checkerboard is more of an allusion to the basketball team than horse racing . These are their basketball jerseys from 2 years ago The 8 blocks represent the 7 national championships they’ve won and the 8th for the next one they’ll win. While the basketball team dropped them this year, the football team picked them up. Also while I am a HUGE fan of the matte helmets, the super shiny look classy (especially under the lights at night).

  15. kellen
  16. Tony
    March 22nd, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I agree with most of your viewpoints on these uniforms. Well done! WKU and Indiana got it right with less is more, and Maryland put puke on a palette and called it a day. Though I am as big a fan as anyone is of alternate or third uniforms, making them full time unis is a no no.

    At the end of the day, give me Texas, ‘Bama, Penn State or Michigan for classic and timeless uniforms.

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    April 19th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

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    I like sports design… change is better to improve team performance.But it is big shocks for team supporter.

    Best Wishes for South Carolina Team.

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