Record voting. Record traffic. Yesterday witnessed the most traffic yet in The Great Western Uniform Bracket 2011 thanks to the enthusiasm of Washington Huskies followers and plugs from Washington reporters and fans (especially Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times). We’re glad to say that the uniform bracket has attracted fans from across the conference and is one of the most popular features we’ve ever done. With that in mind, be sure to vote in the final hours of Oregon-Washington and to vote in the two match-ups that will conclude the second round with a bang: USC-Colorado and Stanford-Cal, both of which began today. As always, commenting on any uniform bracket post or using Twitter or Facebook to interact with us makes you eligible for our bracket prize for a lucky reader.
The home team enters its first round of voting in The Great Western Uniform Bracket 2011, and it’s paired with its long-time Bay Area rival: the California Golden Bears. Cal fans gave the Golden Bears one of the highest vote totals in the first round of the tournament, so can Stanford fans counter with an impressive showing in the Cardinal’s first voting match-up? Or will Cal pull the upset and move to the North Division final against the winner of Oregon-Washington?
Stanford, the top seed and the team if not for which this site would not exist, is up first.
Stanford uniforms stick to tradition about as closely as any Pac-12 uniform does. White pants with cardinal stripes down the legs join either a plain cardinal (home) or plain white (away) jersey, all of which falls underneath the white helmet with Stanford block S logo and stripes down the crown. In recent years, the team has adopted Stanford Axe helmet stickers awarded for big plays and the like, differentiating players based on experience and game performance.
The Card’s uniforms are about as simple and purist-friendly as college football uniforms come, even compared to USC (pictured above) which has small stripes on the shoulders. Threatening the purists is the appearance of black alternates for Stanford, the first of which appeared last season and which will almost surely be the basis for Stanford’s Nike Pro Combat uniforms to be worn in November against Notre Dame.
But the hard-core traditionalists only have so much to complain about. After all, the outfit John Elway wore during his time on The Farm isn’t much different from what Andrew Luck wears now:
The facemask now matches the home jersey, the pant stripe is different and numbers have been removed from the jersey sleeves. But even in Jim Plunkett’s day, the Card bore profound aesthetic similarities to the 2011 team:
Is Cal Stanford’s sworn rival? Yes. Would Cal fans probably bash Stanford if this bracket were taking place on a Cal site? Almost definitely. But, taking the customary Stanford high ground, let’s say this: Cal’s uniforms are suboptimal. Despite the same colors that Michigan has used to make one of the greatest uniforms in the nation, Cal has managed a strange assortment of stripes, wooshes and what are supposed to look like the swipes made by a bear paw.
Yellow jerseys tend not to look good, especially when they’re bright yellow. And when Cal goes on the road, they occasionally pair their away white jersey with white pants, giving all the swoops of the uniform design a monochromatic canvas. The blue shirts are the best of the bunch, but still have the distracting and seemingly arbitrary things around the neckline and shoulders.
The blue-on-blue jersey and pants combination–the standard home uniform for Cal–is their best look and the best opportunity for the school to show off its colors and identity as an institution. Still, the design is cluttered with the various stripes and embellishments of the uniform and distracts from the clean block numbers and Cal’s logo, which appears prominently on the helmet and subtly just below the neckline. The color scheme and the logo itself–with the classy UC script also used by UCLA–are the strengths of Cal’s football branding and accordingly deserve higher billing in the overall uniform.
In this uniform bracket Big Game, which team will you vote for to come out on top?
Voting in this match-up is now closed. Check back at DailyAxe.com on Friday for results of the voting.