At the beginning of the season, I set out to try to predict and then critique each uniform combination that the football team trotted out onto the gridiron. With Clint Bowen’s appointed as head coach after game four, the constant merry-go-round with the uniforms stopped and we were treated to a solid look for both the home and the road sets. After all was said and done, KU featured six different uniform combos this year. Here are my picks for some of the best and worst combos of the year.
Best Look: Blue/Blue/Grey
When Bowen said he was stopping the parade of new uniform sets and going more traditional, he wasn’t joking. Away went the weirdo combos and in came the blue/blue/grey set. In the 1960’s glory days, KU wore silver/light grey pants, and in the most successful portions of the Mangino-era in which Bowen was a KU assistant, KU sported grey pants. So, as far as tradition goes, this is a pretty safe bet. The added bonus is that it looks great.
Second Place: Red/Blue/White
Worst Look: Crimson Chrome
In my column critiquing these abominations, I compared these uniforms to the red lego spaceman. But, thinking on it more, I feel like the lego man gets a raw deal, because these uniforms are atrocious and are an insult to his utilitarian monochromatic outfit. His spacesuit probably offers some sort of protection from radioactive materials or something. The Crimson Chrome set offers nothing useful. Now, put that giant Jayhawk head on a shiny blue lid and we’re talking.
Second Worst: Red/White/Red
Overall Best Looking Game: KU v Iowa State
For this one, it has to be the Iowa State game. KU looked great (for reasons listed above) and Iowa State looked sharp and traditional as well. I’m a sucker for the horseshoe style shoulder stripes and Iowa State features them proudly on their uniform set. The only thing that would’ve made this matchup any better aesthetically is if ISU wore their yellow pants. Oh yeah, KU won this game, so that certainly didn’t hurt when I judged this one.
Second: KU v Oklahoma State
Best Helmet: White
This one was difficult for me as I love the blue lids, and I think the angry Jayhawk works well for football, but that white helmet looks so sharp that I had to pick it. The contrast is perfect and the stripe added for Bowen’s second road game in charge looks pretty awesome too. All of the helmets that KU wore this year were good looking (they were Crimson Chrome’s only decent feature) and the expanded size Jayhawk was a nice upgrade over last year’s set. With these helmets, you really can’t pick a bad looking lid.
If Bowen is retained, my guess will be that he will insist on a consistent home and road uniform, with the possibility for a one-off alternate that would satisfy Adidas. If another candidate is chosen, will we again see a never-ending parade of uniform combinations? I guess we’ll just have to wait until next year to find out.