By Luke Winn, SI.com
A couple of years ago over in my college basketball blog, I launched a project called the Style Archive, which attempted to catalog noteworthy hoops fashion periodically during the season. Trivial as it was (and still probably is), the Archive was popular enough to become a recurring feature. This year I've been enlisted to help with The Sweep, so the Archive, at least for this week, moves over to the gridiron.
College football jersey changes aren't the easiest thing to track. The principal apparel dealers -- Nike, Adidas and Under Armour -- are constantly making small tweaks that don't have huge impacts on teams' overall aesthetics (see Tennessee's new pants stripe, which is not the hugest deal). I scoured the Internets for more significant uni-changes, and thanks to a few key sources, namely team sites, posters on the NCAA strategies message board's uniform thread and Paul Lukas' UniWatch Blog, came up with short lists of the best and worst.
First, the Good:
1. Whitecaps at SMU
One of June Jones' early orders of business as new head coach was to revive the white helmets from SMU's glory days. They may have some NCAA Death Penalty connotations, but they're a big improvement from '07's navy domes.
2. Oregon State, simplified
After committing one of the biggest style atrocities of all time in '07 -- with the bra-strap jerseys -- the Beavers bounced back in a big way with this stripped-down Nike look. It's a little Bears-ish, but it's classy.
3. Retro Virginia Tech
The Hokies wore these white helmets from 1971-73, and are breaking them out again for their home opener against Furman -- along with retro jerseys patched together with elements from three different eras past in Blacksburg.
4. Hawaii tradition
New outfitter Under Armour was gracious enough not to make the Warriors conform to a standard jersey template. Tapa patterns are still on the sleeves, and the signature font is still present; the only negative is the lack of Tapa on the pants.
5. Bear-clawed at UC
These new clawed-design pants probably aren't going to go over very well with the general sporting populace, but I like them. They feel very Cincinnati-ish, and really, it was time for someone to buck the plain-old-pants trend.
Check back later for the Bad/Ugly ...