Round 3–the Divisional Finals and the tournament’s semifinal round– of The Great Western Uniform Bracket 2011 begins this morning with Arizona State and Colorado. The North division’s final will start tomorrow, when Washington takes on Cal for the right toface the winner of Sun Devils-Buffs. The four remaining teams didn’t just get lucky with their opponents–all four have consistently won some of the highest overall vote totals in the opening two rounds. More than in any previous round, social media and sharing (made simple by the sharing buttons at the bottom of each post) will play a crucial role in gaining the necessary votes to move on. As always, interaction with us either in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter makes you eligible for our end-of-tournament prize.
Each school’s uniform summary remains largely the same as those that have appeared in Rounds 1 and 2. However, there are a few updates–including a link to one of the most strangely addictive Flash features in recent memory–from Arizona State for you to explore in this match-up.
ASU, the #3 seed, gets top billing here.
Overview: Arizona State
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.
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.
Confused by all the colors? So is everyone else! Thanks to Jon Wirth, there’s a site that can make visualizing the Sun Devils’ new outfits much easier, and amusing, for you: the Sun Devil Uniform Selector. Click any of the colors available for a uniform component, stick all the components together, and you’ll see exactly what the total uniform will look like.
Plus, when ASU put their new matte black helmets on the field for a camp practice late last week, the world got a picture of Gus Johnson wearing one of the new lids. That is all.
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.
Which school will you pick: Colorado or ASU? Voting is now closed. Check back on Thursday for results.