Wed, July 17

COMMENTARY: UA, NAU debut underrated new uniforms

NAU debuted new football uniforms last week. (Photo Courtesy NAU Athletics)

NAU debuted new football uniforms last week. (Photo Courtesy NAU Athletics)

Alongside the regular season, postseason and preseason, uniform season has become a college football staple and this year two Arizona schools have new gear.

Late last month the University of Arizona and last week Northern Arizona unveiled new uniforms.

Fortunately they didn’t unveil them in a fashion show with speeches like some schools, but uniforms are much talked about these days, especially for college sports.


Arizona debuted new football uniforms last month. (Photo Courtesy Arizona Athletics)

You don’t have to be one of those uni geeks who buy 2017 Major League Baseball hats to remove the New Era logo to be interested in what your team wears. Players, coaches, administrators, trainers, staff, etc. change all the time so it’s really not a stretch to agree with Jerry Seinfeld when he said that sports fans cheer for clothes.

When a player leaves their team, some people burn their $100 jersey. At least one of those afore mentioned fanatical uniform geeks burned off the New Era logo of the $35 hat they just bought.


Anyway, since UA and NAU have new uniforms and competition is integral to sports, it’s time to rank the Grand Canyon State’s college football uniforms.

ASU isn’t supposed to have new ones, but they have said they are going back to primarily maroon and yellow uniforms, so even they are changing things up.

Both UA and NAU’s uniforms didn’t receive major overhauls, but Arizona’s is the most changed. Gone are the red, purple and navy rainbows on the sleeves.

Sometimes called gradients, they were really more of a series of stripes on top of each other going from red to navy. It’s too bad that they’re gone, because they were unique and reminiscent of those Arizona sunsets that people so often gush about on social media.

Instead, Nike cut down the number of stripes to two, red or blue and purple on the home jerseys and red and blue on the white jerseys. The stripes are now arched on the shoulder pads like USC or UCLA.

Their numbers are also changed, they’re still awkward but a bit better.

The other big changes in the uniforms are ditching the weird sparkly blue helmets in favor of matte blue lids and making the “A” two colors on red and blue pants and jerseys. Usually the UA logo is blue, red and white but for example on the red pants, the logo is blue on red.

It’s a nice change of pace.

NAU’s new uniforms are a nice cleaner design. The long and thick stripe on their shoulder pads is gone, in favor of a circular change of color on their sleeves, yellow on the blue jerseys and blue on the whites. It’s nice and simple, a definite upgrade.

Their away uniforms also say “Northern Arizona,” a good idea since people outside the state may not know what NAU stands for. Every time I see Southern Miss on TV I wonder if it is in Mississippi or Missouri. Why the pointless confusion?

Both UA’s and NAU’s uniforms look good so it’s hard to decide between those two, but ASU’s is clearly third.

They had three major problems, their brand is confused, the pitchfork logo is awful and their main color combination is gross.

If they do get rid of the black, gray and copper from their uniforms it will help. Last year against UA they wore white, gray and copper and simply didn’t look like ASU.

Then again, if you go to maroon and yellow, it’s not an attractive color combination. UA fans call it mustard and rust when they are being more tasteful and sometimes they point out its similarities to a color combination you’d find in a toilet.

Full disclosure, I am from Tucson and went to the UA, but my high school had maroon and yellow (or I guess in sports people call yellow gold for some reason) as the primary colors, so I’ve worn those colors in games and still don’t like them. Fortunately they utilize black a lot more now.

Black and yellow is a good color combination, worthy of song so maybe the Sun Devils should go with that, but it does make them look like they’re from Pittsburgh.

Overall ASU’s uniforms look fine, but the colors just really hurt them.

They also feature their awful pitchfork logo very prominently. The scale is way off, why is the handle so short?

It looks like the “broken trident” from the Barbados flag. Except that utensil is purposely broken, symbolizing their break from their colonial history, when they had a seal with an intact trident when they were owned by England.

ASU using a broken or greatly deformed pitchfork makes no sense. Their slogan is “fear the fork.”

Using the slogan with that fatally flawed logo is like the Chicago Bears saying “bear down,” it’s just off. Goes go ahead and switch back to Sparky like everyone wants.


Arizona debuted new football uniforms last month. (Photo Courtesy Arizona Athletics)

So with ASU out of the running, the competition for best college football uniforms in the state is between UA and NAU.

In what has to be called an upset, NAU actually has the best uniforms. This comes after Adidas signed a $33.8 million contract to outfit ASU and UA reportedly turned down more money from a different brand to stay with Nike.

There’s just nothing wrong with NAU’s uniforms. ASU’s look like they are trying to hard and UA’s look good overall but have a bunch of small issues.

Arizona’s uniforms are too out there to please the traditionalist and they scraped the most of the flair of their previous uniforms so they don’t really please the younger crowd. It’s not quite the worst of both worlds but they should have kept the old stripes and improved the numbers or went back to their classic ‘80s and 90s uniforms.

Simple is often an overused design philosophy but NAU’s gear stays on the correct side of not being over complicated and yet clearly identifying who they are.

Of course this is all based on what they look like in photo shoots, if only we could see them together. Wait, NAU and UA open the season against each other.

What luck, we can finally see who has the best clothes. Man I wish it was football season...