The Great Western Uniform Bracket 2011 is in full swing, and the ASU-Utah and Washington-Oregon State pairings wrapped up on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. We’ll unveil the winners of all four first-round match-ups later in the week, but both races were close and enjoyed the support of a lot of readers. We hope to keep the excitement up going into this week, and then into the later rounds of the tournament as we crown the conference’s best-dressed football team. Cast your votes and leave us a message on Twitter, Facebook or in our comments section to be eligible to win our prize for voters in the uniform bracket.
The 3rd first-round match-up in The Great Western Uniform Bracket pits Pac-12 newbie Colorado against the Arizona Wildcats. The winner will emerge to face the South’s top seed, USC, in the second round and will be the first winner of a 4-5 fight (the other, Washington State versus Cal, starts tomorrow). Again, we have two Nike schools and both CU and UA have strong visual brands. Arizona has certainly opted for a more modern look–complete with a wide range of color options for the coaching staff to choose from for each Saturday–than Colorado’s conservative but elegant black and gold, so this one could come down to a clash of competing schools of uniform thought.
Will readers go for tradition and opt for the Buffs, or stick with the sleek, Pac-12 veteran Wildcats?
We start with the favorite, #4 Arizona.
Arizona easily wins the Most Patriotic Uniform in the Pac-12 competition with an outfit ensemble consisting of various combinations of red, white and blue helmets, jerseys and pants. Their primary helmet, as seen in the picture above, has a white shell with a red, white and blue stripe down the ridge. The stripe fades away into triangles that grow increasingly far away from each other, giving the otherwise retro helmet a stroke of the Nike modern. They’ve also kept the blue shell that the team has worn since 2004, but only wore the blue lids three times–including the Stanford game–in 2010. If history is any indication, expect more white in 2011: between 1981 and 2003, the Wildcats wore white helmets all the time.
The bevy of combinations made possible by all the interchangeable uniform elements led Arizona commentator Scott Terrell to ponder which colors led to the most success on the field for UA. The verdict? In the years since head coach Mike Stoops took over (and not counting 2010 games) the team is best off in blue helmet, blue jersey and white pants. Of course, the Wildcats wear blue at home–suggesting that as much mojo as a particular uniform set might have, home field advantage still means more.
The jersey itself is fairly plain, with contemporary, rounded numerals that appear on both front and back and on the sleeves. The same tapered stripe that appears on the white helmet also shows up on the pants, furthering the red, white and blue color scheme.
All in all, the Wildcats have an uncluttered, clean look, and one that is free of the stripes and random affectations that their pre-2010 uniforms had. With two helmet choices, the team can wear blue jerseys without blending in with the ocean (although, in Arizona, there’s not much ocean to blend in with). While the outfit isn’t bursting with tradition or aesthetically astonishing, it’s a sharp, distinctive and patriotic image for the team and the university.
Arizona also gets extra credit for having an equipment blog, and perhaps the only one in the Pac-12.
Colorado enters the 2011 season and its first year of Pac-12 membership with new uniforms and helmets for the football team. Fortunately, they’re not much different from the traditional Buffs attire. The gold of the helmet will now be less yellow and more pure gold, matching the color of the CU logo. The new color more closely resembles the gold used throughout the rest of the uniform and the university’s branding in general, remedying the inconsistency between the previous helmet and the jersey and pants:
So long to those yellow-gold shells. Here’s a look at the new shade of gold, modeled by CU linebacker Doug Rippy (in wide receiver Paul Richardson’s #6 jersey):
Along with the helmet, the jersey goes retro with plain white, block numbers and the large block Colorado nameplate across the chest. It’s hardly a dramatic departure from the 2010 home uniforms, but a step in the right direction relative to the 2009 ensemble, as Nick Groke at the Denver Post noted. Jon Woods at Ralphie Report also reported that the away jersey for 2011 will assume the same design as the home shirt, while substituting the away white for home black. It’s also worth noting that a poster on AllBuffs.com predicted this uniform change almost exactly back in February 2010.
In all, the Colorado uniform has a throwback feel that has Western U.S. written all over it (and, considering the bold Colorado and the Pac-12 patch, that’s literally true). The design does a great job of representing the character of the state while presenting a look that should be popular with both fans and the players. The new uniforms also closely resemble those the team wore in 1990, when the Buffs won the National Championship. That could be the good luck charm that CU needs to turn the football program around and start off its tenure in the Pac-12 with a successful season.
Voting in this match-up is now closed. Check back at DailyAxe.com on Thursday for results of the voting.