In the immortal words of Deion Sanders: “You look good, you play good.” Uniforms are becoming a more integral aspect of college football programs year by year. Seemingly every program has weekly uniform combination announcements, recruits get decked out in the team uniforms on official visits, there are even websites dedicated to uniforms.
The role uniforms play in college football isn’t lost on us here at the Tar Heel Blog. So the unofficial committee of one took the bye week to rank every program’s uniforms in the ACC.
1A. North Carolina Tar Heels
Not a Tar Heel game goes by that I don’t get a text from one of my friends around the country to the effect of: “damn, Carolina has the dopest jerseys.” The Carolina blue and white are so clean, and so uniquely Carolina. I’ve heard some clamoring among Tar Heel fans for more navy blue. I like the simple Carolina blue and white, but I’d allow some navy blue. Kenan is also the only stadium where you’ll see the argyle striping on the helmet and the side of the pants. The simple, unique uniform scheme land the Tar Heels in the top spot.
1B. Florida State Seminoles
It’d be unfair to put anything other than a #1 next to Florida State’s name when it comes to uniforms. The Seminoles and the Tar Heels have the two best uniforms in the entire country. This is the last season fans will have a look at this version of Florida State’s uniforms, as the university has already announced that next season they’ll be returning to their more traditional white number look. The gold numbers are cleaner, and therefore get my vote, but folks in Tallahassee sure are excited about the white numbers coming back.
3. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The Demon Deacons make it to the podium after ditching the confusing sleeve pattern replacing it with the simple “WF” logo to match the helmets. The only adjustment that needs making is the gold collar is much too thick. Imagine an all black collar replacing the gold one currently pictured, the collar ends up distracting from the rest of any otherwise fantastic uniform.
4. Syracuse Orange
Syracuse had the biggest uniform rebrand in the conference this offseason. The Orange completely revamped to a classic throwback style uniform that has themes dating back to uniforms Syracuse wore in the 1960’s. They have enough helmet, jersey, and pant combinations to create unique uniform styles for almost the entire season. Points for the throwback style, and points for variation.
5. Clemson Tigers
The Tigers are essentially wearing the same jerseys that they won the National Championship in, as in the 1981 National Championship. This committee of one is okay with that because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? The numbers on the side shoulder and tiger paw on the top shoulder are an older look that enough teams have gone away from to consider it a niche look for the Tigers. The best look the Tigers have donned is the all purple jerseys that they break out in their military appreciation game. The military appreciation game at Clemson, which was founded as a military school, has become one of the most special one off annual games in the country. Their purple jerseys match the occasion.
6. Duke Blue Devils
Duke comes in 6th in these rankings but 1st in the way they announce their uniforms every week. Their social media team created a video game like feature customizing the Blue Devils uniform from week to week. As far as the actual uniforms go, the written “Duke” looks better on the helmet than the block “D”. When Duke goes with a simple one or two color scheme it works, but when they try to work in black, blue, and white then the uniforms looks a little complicated.
7. Virginia Cavaliers
The helmet concept of having the logo on one side and the number on the other is a pro for the Cavaliers. The “V” on the helmet or logo is almost exclusively white or orange, but would it look better on the helmet if it were blue so it matched the numbers? Who’s to say, really. We’re here to say, though, that the gray face mask gives the helmet an old school feel that they use on both their white and blue helmets.
8. Pitt Panthers
After years of clamoring from fans and alumni, the university finally switched back to their royal blue and yellow color scheme. You might notice that the number font is a bit...pointy might be the right word? That font is intentional my friends, it was modeled after the Cathedral of Learning on campus. Hail to Pitt, not Pittsburgh, for making their uniforms unique to their school and something the fanbase has loved so far.
9. Louisville Cardinals
The best part of Louisville’s jerseys is the simple one color outline of the Cardinal on their helmet. In the past few years they’ve gone for some complicated helmet looks that were simply too busy and looked distracting. The jersey of the year for Louisville are these Muhammad Ali inspired uniforms they debuted against Boston College. The basketball team had a similar Ali inspired uniform a year ago. That game didn’t go swimmingly for Louisville, as Tar Heel fans will remember.
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Praise be to the decision makers that moved Georgia Tech from Russell to Adidas uniforms. The Yellow Jackets don’t do anything flashy, but they do the best job they can of trying to incorporate some hornet/stinger aspects into the uniform. The striping on the pants looks much cleaner than the shoulder stripe.
11. Miami Hurricanes
Count the Hurricanes among the ACC programs that ditched a complicated, busy jersey design for a clean, simple look. Less is more when it comes to uniforms, and less is certainly more when it comes to the shoulder pattern on Miami’s uniforms. The striping is still a bit too thick for the committee’s liking, put props to the folks in Coral Gables for the upgrade.
12. Virginia Tech Hokies
The Hokies are so close to having great uniforms. The helmet striping is fantastic. The “TECH” on the right hip is original and the perfect size. What’s holding the Hokies back from a top ten ranking is whatever is going on with their collar. The Hokies are staying on brand with much of the conference by having their collar much thicker than what it should be. Tech does get points for trying something new on the shoulder sleeve, but it should have never left the design lab.
13. Boston College
The Eagles are the only team with a true shoulder sleeve in the conference, which is why they find themselves all the way down at thirteen. The shoulder sleeve would be justified if the white stripe wasn’t there, but it simply doesn’t fit with the rest of the uniform. The slanted stripes on the pants is a classic Under Armor design that would also look better with just the maroon.
14. NC State Wolfpack
As you’ve noticed by this point, shoulder patterns can make or break a uniform. As far as NC State is concerned, boy do they break the uniform. What’s sad is the rest of the uniform is pretty solid. The committee of one likes the old school wolf logo on the helmet, as well as the right hip. The minimal use of whatever the third color is on their jerseys makes the uniforms flashy but effortless. The shoulder pattern, however, looks like a mix between a tribal tattoo and a bathrobe. Raleigh deserves better.