Your regularly scheduled ACC Weekly Power Rankings will be back at a later date. This week, we’re doing something different.
Sometimes life gets in the way.
For the past few weeks my day job has taken me out of the ACC viewing footprint and kept me working through the majority of the College Football Saturday. As a result, I’ve basically missed the last three weeks of ACC football. Now, I’d be lying if I told you that I normally watched every ACC game in a given week, but I tried to spread myself out and check in on as many games as I could. Last week, the only ACCtion I was able to see was about half of Virginia’s upset of Miami (which I kind of called last week in this spot? Whatever, I’m taking credit for it). Rather than rely more on box scores and S&P+ than I normally do, we’re going to take the power rankings in a different direction for a bit.
UNIFORM POWER RANKINGS
That’s right. Everyone knows that the only thing that’s more important than how your team plays on the field is how they look on field, so we’re going to rank what really matters. To keep things simple we’re going to focus on home uniforms. Maybe we’ll revisit this and look at roads and alternates in the future. Maybe not. We’ll see. As always, these rankings are my opinions, so tell me what exactly I got wrong in the comments.
Starting with the bottom:
14 - Syracuse Orange
This was easy. Syracuse has worn a few different combos at home this year and, frankly, none of them are good. This white/orange/orange is probably the best of the bunch but it’s still easily the worst in the conference. I’m a fan of orange (more on that later) but doubling up on it is a lot. I’m really not a fan of the sleeves either, though it’s better here than on their other jerseys. Syracuse’s basketball uniforms are really good, so there’s potential but the current football kits just don’t work. I feel like adding a bit of white to the jerseys would make a big difference.
13 - Boston College Eagles
Boston College’s look is pretty clean and simple but there are two design features that I can’t get past. First, the pants stripes. Two diagonal stripes across the front of the leg is a unique but strange choice that I really dislike. Second, the gold paneled sleeves also strike me as a bit of an odd design choice. Last weekend, the Eagles broke out some Doug Flutie-era throwbacks for Homecoming and they were beautiful. Wear them full-time, BC.
12 - Louisville Cardinals
There may be a bit of an anti-red bias in the next couple of selections. In theory I like the concept of putting wings on the sleeves but they really don’t work for me here. The Old English L pants logo also seems really big which bothers me more than it probably should. The main helmet shown here is pretty solid.
11 - NC State Wolfpack
Yep, a definite bias against the color red and weird shoulder designs. Similar to Louisville’s wings, NC State’s shoulder stripes (claw marks?) just don’t work for me. I think I like “WOLFPACK” down the side of the pants, though I’m not sure I like the asymmetry. The Tuffy logo is a really good, old school logo and lifts NC State above Louisville.
10 - Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech’s uniforms are fairly basic aside from one feature: the shoulder stripes. When I first saw these jerseys revealed, I thought the way the stripes formed a “V” was a pretty neat feature but after seeing them in action a few times, I find myself disliking the look. The numbers are also really big, though that does make them easier to read. Points off for the “TECH” pants logo when everyone knows VT isn’t the real Tech.
9 - Virginia Cavaliers
I’m used to Virginia having navy jerseys but it seems like the Cavaliers are transitioning to orange as their primary look in a callback to the successful late 80s/early 90s teams. The new look will take a bit to get used to but it’s solid overall. Again, I generally like orange and it works well here when balanced with white pants and a navy stripe here or there. The big negative for this look is the asymmetric helmet. The V over crossed swords is a great helmet logo. If it was on both sides, Virginia would probably leap up this list.
8 - Duke Blue Devils
The top 8 home uniforms are all really good so from this point, it’s basically nitpicking and personal preference. I’m slotting Duke at 8 because their overall look - when not wearing the gray jerseys they sported against Georgia Tech - is pretty plain but, at the same time, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The royal blue and white is a timeless, classic look. The jersey pairs well with blue or white pants. The “D” helmet is really, really nice but shout out to the script Duke helmet, which is a great alternate that they’ve worn quite a bit this season.
7 - Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest’s look is pretty no-frills. The big design feature is a sublimated sleeve design that’s hardly noticable. That said, I absolutely love their home uniforms. I’m admitedly a bit of a sucker for black and old gold as a color scheme because of my high school days but this is a pretty clean look overall. Wake also has a pair of helmets that are really fun: the matte black helmet featured here and a gold chrome helmet they break out for a few games each year.
6 - Pittsburgh Panthers
Y’all ready for my hottest college football take? Pitt’s navy and gold uniforms are better than their blue and yellow throwbacks. I know the college football internet loves the blue and yellow but I’ll take navy and gold Pitt all day. The key is getting enough gold into the look. If Pitt’s primary home uniform was the head-to-toe navy they wore against Penn State they would be much lower in these rankings. The gold/navy/gold kits they wore against Albany (pictured above) or gold/navy/white they wore against GT? Fantastic. Oh, and the switch to scipt Pitt a few years ago was a home run.
5 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
There might be a bit of home team bias here but I love, love, love the new adidas primary home uniforms. Georgia Tech’s home whites are classic, clean, and (mostly) unique and adidas’s small moves to modernize the look are simple and unobtrusive enough to work really well. The “stinger” stripes in place of full shoulder or pant stripes look good and is a nice nod to the Tech’s one of a kind mascot. The name plate font has gotten a few complaints but honestly doesn’t bother me and is a very small piece of an otherwise great look.
4 - North Carolina Tar Heels
This may be one of my more controversial positions but I am pro-argyle. North Carolina’s defining uniform element is the argyle helmet and pants stripe and I am in favor of the unique feature. The Carolina blue and white color combo makes the Tar Heels immediately recognizable, a key part of any uniform. UNC may have more success on the hardwood but the program branding is a winner on the gridiron too.
3 - Florida State Seminoles
Looking at the top three teams on these ACC Home Uniform Power Rankings, I think it’s worth asking how much of what makes a uniform “good” or “classic” comes down to team success. The top three teams are the conference’s most successful programs. Would their uniforms rank as highly if the teams had Syracuse’s history and recent success (no offense, Orange fans)? I don’t know, but all three have distinctive brands that immediately evoke strong college football feelings and that propels them to the top of the list.
Taking home the ACC Home Uniform bronze medal is Florida State. The color scheme is very similar to Boston College, who ranks near the bottom. The difference comes in Florida State’s lack of superflolus striping. Instead, the Seminoles employ shoulder stripes that show strong ties to their mascot roots. Native American imagery in sports is always a touchy subject but Florida State, with input from the Seminole tribe, does as good of a job as any team at honoring the roots of the nickname while staying respectful. The helmet is one of the best in college football as well.
2 - Miami Hurricanes
That Miami was able to co-opt the letter “U” as their identifying mark even though almost every FBS team has a U in their abbreviation is one of the biggest and boldest branding moves in sports, but by golly they’ve made it work. Say what you will about Miami but the U logo and unique-within-FBS green and orange color scheme combine to create one of the strongest and most distinctive looks in all of college football. Now that adidas has ditched the tire-tred jerseys, Miami’s simple, clean look shines again. Their primary home combination is white/green/white, with orange striping but the inverted white/orange/white with green striping looks almost as good.
1 - Clemson Tigers
Remember how I said early on that I was a fan of the color orange? Clemson’s home uniforms are basically perfect. The orange is bright, but rich, and contrasts well with the white pants and numerals. The secondary color, purple, isn’t overused and separates Clemson from the other orange teams who tend to use navy or black as supporting colors. The paw print on the helmet and shoulders is simple but identifiable and, again, separates Clemson from the other Tiger mascot teams who tend to use a tiger head as the primary logo. It’s a little annoying that the conference’s best team also is the best dressed but I can find no fault with Clemson’s uniforms. They’re simply outstanding.
Alright, let me have it. Who is the best dressed in the ACC? Which look is massively overrated? Which is criminally underrated?