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Akshay Eye for the Uniform Guy: Bowl Season

Bowls invite uniform weirdness. Let’s dive in.

Quick Lane Bowl - Minnesota v Georgia Tech Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

#AkshayEye makes a triumphant return after a holiday hiatus! Bowl uniforms got just as weird as regular season uniforms for some schools. Let’s take a peek, shall we?

Next week’s #AkshayEye will be a top 10 for the 2018 season. Got any suggestions? Leave them below!

Please note: I am no trained uniform connoisseur. I call them like I see them.


Kit: Chrome Gold/White/Maroon

Result: W 34-10 vs Georgia Tech (Quick Lane Bowl)

Quick Lane Bowl - Minnesota v Georgia Tech Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

I knocked Minnesota for their uniform combination a few months ago, but their selection for the Quick Lane Bowl was very well put together. The gold chrome of their helmets looks awesome and the fill and outline of the jersey numerals matches the main color and accents of the pants (respectively), so that’s a win for the Gophers. However, the captains’ Cs on these jerseys were very high and tight on the right shoulder — it looked a little strange and out of place.

Grade: A


Kit: Black/Gray/Black

Result: L 27-56 vs Duke (Independence Bowl)

NCAA Football: Independence Bowl-Temple vs Duke Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Temple, what is you doin’? Red numerals on gray? Not good. A helmet logo of just “TEMPLE” in a very generic font? Not good. Using a gray jersey between a black helmet and black pants? Passable, but not great. This jersey makes use of all of Temple’s primary colors and some of its primary logo patterns, but I really wish it didn’t.

Grade: D+

#13 Washington State

Kit: “Ketchup Bottle” - White/Red/Red

Result: W 28-26 vs #24 Iowa State (Alamo Bowl)

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Iowa State vs Washington State Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Loved this kit from Wazzu. Even though Iowa State also came out wearing white helmets, Wazzu’s had a good contrast from their jerseys. The white numerals on those red jerseys popped really nicely, and overall the all-red combo they went with looked awesome.

Grade: A

#21 Fresno State

Kit: Red/Navy/Navy

Result: W 31-20 vs Arizona State (Las Vegas Bowl)

NCAA Football: Las Vegas Bowl-Arizona State vs Fresno State Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This is a pretty unique combination from Fresno State; outside of Arizona, I don’t think there are a lot of schools with navy and red as primary colors that also use all-navy or all-red uniforms. This one’s a mixture of both, and the red shoulder design and numerals look really good. I like the inclusion of the script “Bulldogs” on the helmet (I’m a sucker for that kind of thing), but it just doesn't match the “modern” numeral font on the jerseys and looks a little out of place. These also get a couple more points off because this game was just so hard to watch with both teams wearing dark colored jerseys.

Grade: B-


Kit: White/White/White

Result: W 41-24 vs Louisiana (Cure Bowl)

NCAA Football: Cure Bowl-Tulane vs UL Lafayette Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I still have an issue with the use of green to fill the numerals and light blue to outline them. Something about that just doesn’t look right to me.

But what does look right to me: Oversized. Angry. Wave. Helmet. Give me all of that.

Grade: B+

Middle Tennessee State

Kit: Gray/White/Gray

Result: L 13-45 vs Appalachian State (New Orleans Bowl)

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The lack of contrast between the gray of MTSU’s helmet and pants and their white jersey looked a little funky to me. I think they just should have just gone all white to contrast perfectly with App State’s (amazing) all-black look.

Grade: B

Northern Illinois

Kit: Black/Red/Black

Result: L 13-37 vs UAB (Boca Raton Bowl)

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl-UAB vs Northern Illinois Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NIU looked good. Their black helmets matched their pants, which is always great, and the black outline on the white numerals really helped them pop off their red jerseys. I really wish adidas would take them off the tire-track template though.

Grade: A


Kit: Black/Black/Black

Result: W 27-0 vs San Diego State (Boca Raton Bowl)

NCAA Football: Frisco Bowl-Ohio vs San Diego State Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Oh look, another team doing a blackout when black’s not in their color palette. To be fair to Ohio, the uniform looks mostly fine, but Ohio’s green doesn’t really create any contrast in the helmet logo or the outlines on the numerals. The white shoulder stripe is also super random, but it does match the numerals, so there’s that.

Grade: B


Kit: Yellow/Navy/Navy

Result: L 32-35 vs FIU (Bahamas Bowl) University of Toledo / Derek Markel

This is a very unique combination, and I’ve never seen a yellow helmet (unless you count gold, but that’s besides the point), so I’m not sure how to feel about this one. The uniform does look a little bit like pajamas, but that’s always the risk with these darker color jersey/pant combos. Overall, it looks ok. I’m not really sure what I would change to make it look better, though.

Grade: B-

Arkansas State

Kit: White/White/White

Result: L 13-16 vs Nevada (Arizona Bowl)

NCAA Football: Arizona Bowl-Arkansas State vs Nevada Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Awesome stuff from Arkansas State. Love the single helmet stripe AND the wolf logo. It’s overall a very simple design, but they get all of the little things right and it looks very well done.

Sidenote: thoughts and prayers to Wendy Anderson, the wife of Arkansas State’s head coach, as she begins another battle with breast cancer.

Grade: A+


Kit: White/Blue/Blue

Result: W 49-18 vs Western Michigan (Idaho Potato Bowl)

NCAA Football: Potato Bowl-Brigham Young vs Western Michigan Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Love these a lot. Royal blue is such a fantastic shade of blue.

Grade: A+

#3 Notre Dame

Kit: “Rush for Gold” - Gold/White/Gold

Result: L 3-30 vs Clemson (Cotton Bowl - CFP Semifinal)

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

This is basically the usual away jersey from Notre Dame, but they went all-in on the Kelly Green and Gold accents on all of their other gear, which makes it a bit different. I have a huge soft spot for Kelly Green and Notre Dame’s usual uniforms (the nightmarish Shamrock Series ones, notwithstanding) are pretty good, so this whole ensemble is a win. Notable: ND was the first non-Nike team to make the College Football Playoff and props to Under Armour for showing off the best parts of the ND brand with this uniform combination.

Grade: A+

Got any uni thoughts? Let me know in the comments!