While many programs in college football have gone all-in with the alternate uniform craze, Nebraska fans find themselves split into two camps over the matter.
The loudest contingent says something along the lines of, “We can’t do this. We’re Nebraska.” The other side wants to be a part of the trend, but contentment keeps them from shouting to the heavens. The stir was strong when Tom Osborne said Nebraska would be wearing “futuristic” uniforms in 2012 earlier this spring.
Now that the design is out and the date of its debut is set, one thing is certain: there’s going to continue to be a lot of chatter, because these uniforms are neither exceptional nor completely horrid. They do combine some reminders of the past and some embarrassment, though.
Since I’d heard Osborne’s statement about the uniforms, my thought was that we’d see a slightly modernized look, but keep close to what Nebraska fans are familiar with. Notre Dame and Michigan wear a number of alternate jerseys, but they feel more like polished throwbacks than Oregon’s Pro Combat Uniforms of the Week.
Adidas appears to have taken the template from the 2011 Michigan jerseys and “Huskerized” it. A classic, 1920′s downtown athletic club feel seems like something a Nebraska fan would want, no?
(By Scott Sillcox)
For those who prefer traditional duds, these uniforms are taking one of the unique, yet less recognizable parts of Nebraska’s past uniforms, putting it front and center.
While most universities prefer an iron-on font (Washington, Minnesota, Mississippi State), Nebraska has kept a sans-serif “N” on its helmet, even though it has disappeared from most of the gear you’ll find.
Underscoring this piece of Husker history was likely part of what Tom Osborne wanted.
Aside from the similar pattern of other schools’ attempts, there are plenty of reasons reasons to critique these uniforms, starting with the off-color red.
While it’s not a huge change, it isn’t true Nebraska scarlet. Then there’s the red pants and red jersey, which aren’t just an alternate uniform risk, but walking an aesthetic tightrope.
My Husker Locker colleague Brett Baker compared the uniforms to a unitard which is the part of the risk you take with a garish, solid color. Conservative colors have less potential for distaste.
While some didn’t like Michigan State’s darker uniforms last year, those weren’t sabotaged to the level Maryland’s were. Maybe the Terps were trying to distract from the actual on-the-field product, though.
Nebraska’s black trim, while making for an intimidating front, doesn’t help.
One of my first reactions upon seeing the new uniform was that I wanted to see the same uniform pattern with traditional Nebraska white trim and white helmet along with a black “N” on jersey. Cream makes the scarlet stand out.
No matter the graphics or patterns, Nebraska uniforms should make the red stand out.
Oddly, the most noticeable white on the jersey and pants are the Adidas logos. The company should have taken a cue from Nike and used a different color to mute the red, as Nike did with last year’s Stanford and Ohio State gray-trimmed uniforms.
Another touch that could have helped: a distinctive emblem on the shoulder, such as Herbie Husker or an ear of corn. Cliché? Sure, but there’s nothing wrong with going a little over the top every now and again.
All that said, Nebraska has done the most important thing: step out of its comfort zone.
These aren’t Oregon’s carbon gray uniforms. Judging by Twitter chatter and various unofficial polls, fans are split. Perhaps the worst thing said was comparing the attire to something you’d see on Sesame Street.
They could look better, but they do a couple things well: emphasize a traditional part of Nebraska’s logo and still look progressive. This is Nebraska’s first time as a member of the Truly Alternate Uniform Club.
Husker fans, even if the Internet explodes again on the night of September 29, give Adidas another chance.
Any arguments about fashion can and will be considered moot after what Nebraska does on the field against Wisconsin. The Huskers have the perfect spotlight game: under the lights at Memorial Stadium against a young team that rudely invited them into the conference.
These Badgers may not be as ready and don’t need to win nearly as much as the Huskers do to reach the conference title game. Regardless, a win still won’t get some fans demanding for this practice to be a yearly thing.
If Nebraska loses, those who hate the futuristic look will intensify their cries. Should the Huskers win, call it a hunch that the new looks will be far more palatable.