August 15, 2011

Uniform Bracket: UCLA v. ASU

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By The Daily Axe Staff

The Great Western Uniform Bracket 2011 resumes after record-breaking voting to end the first round last week. With the four winners of the opening pairings now official, they’ll have to get by the tournament’s top four overall seeds in order to reach the divisional finals. That process begins with #2 UCLA and #3 ASU, who square off for the right to face the winner of USC-Colorado. Cast your votes and leave us a message on TwitterFacebook or in our comments section to be eligible to win our prize for voters in the uniform bracket.

The Bruins and Sun Devils meet for the opportunity to move to the divisional finals, and the tournament’s semifinals, in this 2-3 match-up. ASU laid a 55-34 whopping on the Bruins when the two met on the gridiron in 2010. That game was the second in a season-ending, 3-game losing streak for UCLA and the start of a two-game winning streak for ASU that got the Sun Devils to a 6-6 overall record at season’s end. Again, this coupling pits the traditional against the ultra-new and Adidas versus Nike. It’s also the opening contest of the second round of the uniform bracket.

It begins with the higher seed and the team that sat out the first round: UCLA.

Overview: UCLA

UCLA’s uniforms are among the most familiar in the country, and certainly are some of the most recognizable in the Pac-12. The Bruins’ powder blue, gold and white immediately recall UCLA in a way that most schools’ color schemes do not, and the program has not made any drastic changes to the traditional UCLA look. Plus, those stripes that adorn the shoulders of UCLA’s (and many other schools’) uniforms are called UCLA Stripes, honoring their creation in Pasadena.

UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut throws against USC. (Photo via @Neon Tommy on Flickr)

The stripes, which used to run around the shoulder pads and under the arm to create a ring, have been considerably shortened in the most recent version of the jersey. Instead of the full wrap-around of old, the team now has a strange pseudo-stripe on the shoulders. The true UCLA stripes have even been done away with for the replica consumer model. And, as the excellent and overwhelmingly thorough Uni Watch pointed out last year, the new super-slim Adidas cut provided to UCLA makes unsightly distortions, stretches and graphic sloppiness in the uniform. (Check out the link for Paul Lukas’s full observations on the UCLA jerseys.)

And, from the UCLA video showing off the Tech Fit unis, it’s clear that the jerseys are not just tight, but frighteningly tight:

For what little it’s worth, the top YouTube comments on the video aren’t supportive of the stretch fit:

When UCLA isn’t even wearing UCLA stripes, that’s when you know Adidas has killed college football. These things are horrible.

all this “technology”, but they can’t figure out a way to get stripes to wrap around the shoulders? come ON, adidas!

UCLA's helmet, which the Bruins have worn in its current form since 2004.

So maybe the recent Adidas changes aren’t spectacular, but things in the world of Westwood aesthetics aren’t that bad, are they? Even if modernizations of the jerseys have rendered them hideous to Bruin fans, the team at least has one of the all-time great helmets still intact, no? called for a new wrinkle in the wardrobe back in the spring, and would like throwback uniforms to work their way onto the field more often. That seems like a pretty reasonable request given the merchandising opportunity it would present and how good the team might look in the 80s threads. It would be a shame for the program to abandon the old school UCLA look, so going backward–and remaining more faithful to the customary Bruins brand–is probably the way for the team and Adidas to head in the future.

Overview: Arizona State

Some background on ASU: the Sun Devils beat Utah in Round 1, but did so by the narrowest margin of any of the opening round victors, taking 54% of the voting against the Utes. There’s only so much to say about uniforms, so here’s the summary that appeared for ASU when they first took on Utah.

The Sun Devils’ threads have not yet seen game action, and what we know about them comes almost exclusively from a Nike/ASU event in April, when the two parties showed the new branding off to the public. Arizona State has largely done away with the traditional Sparky logo in favor of the new pitchfork mark, which will replace the demonic cartoon on the team’s helmet (although the back of the hat will still feature a scaled-down Sparky decal). While the colors remain largely the same, the team will have a new, all-black alternate uniform, and the whole line will more closely resemble a Nike Pro Combat style. While the home jersey will remain maroon and the away jersey white, the team will have the option to switch pants around to create more uniform combinations. With white, yellow and maroon pants (the black will only be used for the alternate scheme) the squad can mix it up from week to week:

Sure, the word “attitude” is used far too many times in the video, but the new branding does give ASU a contemporary, cutting-edge (haha) look that many schools don’t get from their uniform suppliers.

ASU's new away uniform

The new branding identity for ASU certainly gives the school a 21st-century update (one that, considering its problems with technology, Arizona State desperately needs) and a more distinctive mark for televised games. But the change also breaks from ASU tradition; although Sparky always held a pitchfork, that the Sun Devil himself will be gone from the helmet in favor of an ultra-sleek Nike design removes some of the charm and pageantry that contribute to the fun of college sports. At least the physical mascot will still roam the sidelines on Saturdays.

Keep in mind something else about ASU: regardless of how well Nike designs uniforms for the school, Sun Devil colors are more or less hideous.Yellow and maroon isn’t as bad as it gets, but it ain’t beautiful, either. They work well with the Sun Devil mascot and the school’s place in the Sunbelt, but they hardly constitute an elegant color palette.

The school’s home outfit makes better use of the maroon than their old uniforms did, and, like all the other new ASU jerseys, includes a tasteful tribute to former ASU player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman just below the neckline:

The black alternate jersey, all the rage in college football and fleshed out with numbers that transition from yellow at their tops to white at their bottoms, rounds out a nice new arsenal of gridiron style for Dennis Erickson’s team.

Can Arizona State pull the upset with its new uniforms, or can the Bruins hold on and face either Colorado or cross-town rival USC in the tournament semifinal? Cast your vote below, and spread the word using the sharing links below the poll.

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

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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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