Alternate uniforms are on the rage in college football, and in all of sports for that matter. The trend started in the college ranks with Oregon and has worked its way to practically every college program in the nation. The ASU version "Desert Fuel" was unveiled last season and worn against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
While that uniform combination was almost universally praised by Sun Devil faithful, ASU's new apparel partner Adidas has a troubled history with alternate uniforms. The most recent was released today, with Nebraska becoming the latest victim.
New Nebraska uniforms pic.twitter.com/vG2I3CXdyG— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 23, 2015
Let's take another look at them.
Embarrassing. I think the red "N" stands for "No." pic.twitter.com/GyNvcfEqVR— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) July 23, 2015
Is this the first time we're seeing the *tire tread* pattern on the pants? (I honestly don't know) pic.twitter.com/74jiSBW74Y— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) July 23, 2015
This is the dark side of Adidas, where they try to do too much to a college football uniform. Watermarked school names and nicknames into the jersey? Tire tread on the side of the pants? Now, let's take a look at some other recent unveilings from Adidas.
Imagine seeing Evil Sparky on the side of ASU helmets in a few years.
These were made for Notre Dame a few years ago for their first Shamrock Series game against Miami. Notre Dame has one of the most traditional and classic looks in college football, but Adidas really doesn't go for traditional.
Let's not forget when Wisconsin wore these against Nebraska a few years back. Now, it has not all been bad for Adidas over the years. There have been some good alternates and I feel the need to showcase some of them.
Even though gray is not a traditional look for UCLA, I really think these work well with the blue and gold. This is an example of Adidas manipulating a uniform but keeping transition alive inside of them.
If fans want a preview of what an Adidas "Desert Fuel" could look like, this is as close as you fill find.
Now, the main differences between the last two Adidas alternates shown and the disastrous ones are that the bottom two are simple, yet progressive and forward-thinking. The UCLA and Louisville uniforms don't change the helmet logo and for the most part the uniforms are one solid color with traditional elements.
The Wisconsin and Notre Dame alternates above don't look anything like what Wisconsin and Notre Dame wear on a typical Saturday. What makes a great alternate uniform is that is it has roots in the school. What made the "Desert Fuel" look uniforms so good was that they were a tribute to the mining and copper industries of Arizona. They kept the pitchfork on the helmet and they didn't change too much about the actual jersey.
So, my plea to ASU is to not get caught up in the flash that Adidas gets caught up in. You already have a great look whether it be with the large pitchforks, small pitchforks or even Sparky on the helmets. You have a classic number scheme that is easy to read on any color you wear. Don't overthink the uniforms, keep them classy and traditional.