August 5, 2011

Uniform Bracket: Washington v. OSU

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By The Daily Axe Staff

#3 Washington puts its gold and purple against the #6 Oregon State Beavers.

Back in the Pac-12 North, Washington and Oregon State, a pair of Nike-equipped schools, do battle for an opportunity to face reigning Pac-12 football champion and Nike love child Oregon in the division semifinal. While both schools take their designs from the same apparel company and are located within 200 miles of Nike’s Beaverton headquarters, the teams take two very different approaches to dressing the football team. Washington is all about a regal, traditionalist style, while Oregon State makes use of contrasting colors in a modern geometric design. Can OSU swing the upset to stage a uniform Civil War with their rival Ducks, or will readers opt for the stately look of the Huskies?

Before we get started breaking down this Pacific Northwest duo, be sure to vote for either Arizona State or Utah in their Pac-12 South battle until polls close at 9:00 am PST on Saturday. You can also check in on the entire Great Western Uniform Bracket 2011 and take a look at an overview of the tournament.

Overview: Washington

Purple and gold isn’t for everyone, but Washington sports what is, at the very least, a classy outfit. The Huskies wear the golden helmet, purple jersey and white pants at home in Seattle, giving them one piece of representation for each of the school’s primary colors. Consider that purple and gold are about as royal as colors can get, and UW has a downright monarchical brand on the gridiron.

On the road, the team can choose from white, gold or purple pants to match up with white jerseys. Perhaps the best is the gold, with purple and white stripes down the sides:

The Huskies at Oregon State last season (Photo via @McD22 on Flickr)

Like Utah, Washington has one of the great helmets in the game. Despite its old-school feel, the helmet hasn’t been a fixture in Husky football: although the golden helmet is nothing new, the team has switched to purple helmets multiple times over the last 40 years.

Photo of Washington Huskies quarterback Jake L...

Locker in UW's pre-2010 home uniform (Image via Wikipedia)

Nike introduced small changes to the jersey before last season–and instituted white pants for the home uniform–by adding the subtle piping around the neck and sleeves. The changes also brought back traditional block numbers to replace the rounded ones that Jake Locker and Friends had previously worn. Although the contrasting color piping doesn’t add much, traditional numbers better fit the block W mark on the helmet and remind people that Washington, way back in the olden days, was really good at football.

The 2010 changes also gave the team an alternate black uniform, which keeps the golden helmet and turns everything else black. They work well for UW, whose primary purple isn’t far from black and who has a tradition of wearing the darkest of hues. (That last link is a good one, by the way.) And unlike most teams that choose to wear black jerseys once a year, the Washington black alternate just plain old looks good:

Washington's new black alternate jersey

And on that note, let’s move over to the team that wears black all the time: the Oregon State Beavers.

Overview: Oregon State

There’s really not much to see here, which is why OSU got the #6 seed in the Pac-12 North. The Beavers mark is pretty cool, but it reeks of a decades-old design even though Oregon State doesn’t play it up as a retro look. The helmet, therefore, looks good in isolation as the beginning piece of a throwback-inspired uniform:

Oregon State's helmet and Beavers logo

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 09:  Tight end Joe Halahu...

OSU's away jersey (Image by Getty Images via @daylife)

Of course, what follows in Beaver wardrobe is anything but retro. Modern numbers on an otherwise nondescript jersey make the Oregon State uniform a boring hodgepodge. Available in black (home), white (away) and orange (alternate), the uniform scheme is unoffensive but unremarkable.

The Beavers score points with their end-of-season special Pro Combat design from Nike, which appeared for the year-end Civil War game against Oregon in Corvallis. With a new helmet and legitimate throwback feel, the Pro Combat’s simplicity makes it one of OSU’s best visual brands in years:


A model shows off OSU's 2010 Pro Combat uniform

For all the crazy things Nike sticks on the uniforms of Oregon, Oregon State’s Pro Combat is just a black jersey with orange numbers topped by a plain black helmet with a stripe down the middle. Perhaps the regular uniforms could go down this route in the future, giving Oregon State a cleaner visual identity and a greater contrast to the rival Ducks.

But you tell us: which is better?

Voting in this match-up is now closed. Check back at for results of the voting.


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About the Author

The Daily Axe Staff
The Daily Axe is an independent Stanford sports website covering Cardinal athletics year-round. Find The Daily Axe on and on social media via the links below.


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