Washington and Cal wrap up the 3rd round of The Great Western Uniform Bracket 2011. Either the Huskies or the Golden Bears–the top 2 vote-getters in the last round–will win the Pac-12 North and go on to face either Arizona State or Colorado in the tournament final. If history is any indication, this pairing could yield the highest number of votes yet.
The two final-round teams will get entirely new and expanded uniform summaries and images, freshening up the descriptions that have carried these teams through three rounds already.
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The Huskies, the higher seed and the most popular team of the second round, is up first.
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:
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.
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:
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 (where it’s surrounded by a bear claw). 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 battle of the vote-earning heavyweights, which will win your vote to advance?
Voting is now closed. Check back on Thursday for results.