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Akshay Eye for the Uniform Guy: 2018 Season Recap

Counting down my favorite uniforms featured on #AkshayEye this season and talking GT uniforms.

NCAA Football: Quick Lane Bowl-Minnesota vs Georgia Tech Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

In a time-honored (but slightly belated) annual tradition, let’s count down my favorite uniforms from the 2018 season. I picked these from previous columns and while I ignored the grades on most of them (since this is a list of my favorites, not the best uniforms), they tended to be rated A or A+. Without further ado, the list (presented with my comments from previous columns):

10. Air Force (Week 13) - APLS AC-130

I’ll refrain from commenting on the actual badges used on the helmets and shoulders here because each of those has a very unique design, but overall, I really like these uniforms. With the all-gray design and the patches, the whole ensemble just screams Air Force in every way, shape, and form. I wish they went with gray helmets though.

9. California (Week 14) - Navy/Navy/Navy

Whoever re-did Cal’s uniforms when they moved to Under Armour a few years ago — thank you. Cal’s uniforms under Nike were....a mixed bag. But now, everything in this jersey screams Cal: the “fault line” pattern on the shoulders and pants; the deep ocean-like shade of navy; the sans serif numerals that look historic, yet modern; that bright sunny California gold — everything just comes together so well.

8. Iowa State (Week 11) - #WinInTheDark

This is niiiiiice. The Cyclones got a really nifty uniform and branding upgrade from Nike this offseason, and this week was a showcase for it. The gold of the numerals on the soft red of the jerseys really makes the numbers pop, and the black collar of the jersey goes very well with the black helmet.

7. Arkansas State (Arizona Bowl) - White/White/White

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.

6. Oklahoma State (Week 9) - 1988 Throwbacks

I am a sucker for well-done throwback uniforms. Texas Tech’s 1970s throwbacks last week for Homecoming? Fire, just for the old double-T logo on the helmet alone. Boston College’s return to “Hail Flutie”? Give me all of that. North Texas’s “Mean Joe Green” era uniforms? Simple, but awesome.

So when Oklahoma State announced they were wearing these bad boys earlier this week - naturally I drooled. This combination is very, very, very sharp. Everything from the tri-stripe on the shoulder to the old “OSU” logo on the helmet to the classic block numerals just works. White pants contrast nicely with the bright orange of the jersey, and a pants stripe that’s the reverse of the shoulder stripe creates a symmetry that pulls the whole ensemble together nicely.

5. Pitt (Week 11) - Retro

Script Pitt logo - check.

Gold and royal blue - check.

Ya love to see it. Pitt’s branding has gotten much, much better in recent years with the shift back to script Pitt and the return of these retro uniforms. Whoever is behind these changes at Pitt, kudos to you.

4. Oregon (Week 10) - Black/Black/Black

My god — black background with green trim. This is AWESOME. That color combination makes up for any qualms I have with the oversized numbers or the nameplates on Oregon’s jersey templates.

3. App State (Sun Belt Championship) - Black/Black/Black

App State’s uniforms are so great. I got nothing to analyze here; just look at this picture above in awe.

2. Athens Community College (SEC Championship) - pain

Ya just love to see it.

1. BYU (Idaho Potato Bowl) - Blue/Blue/Blue

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

As usual, this was a great season for uniforms — a lot of teams strayed from their traditional sets to appeal to true uniform connoisseurs (read: high school recruits). Hopefully, 2019 will bring us a lot more wacky stuff to talk about.

But in the few months that I’ve been producing #AkshayEye, I have specifically avoided reviewing the uniform combinations of one team: our very own Georgia Tech. Like I touched on in August, the switch to the #ThreeStripeLife from the dreaded R of Russell Athletic was a much needed boost and a very welcome change for the Yellow Jackets. I’ve already talked about our two standard combinations, but for much of the season, Tech mixed and matched components from these along with our third navy kit. Here’s how the season shook out uniform-wise:

2018 Uniform Schedule

Week Date Opponent Combination Result Notes
Week Date Opponent Combination Result Notes
1 9/1/18 Alcorn State Gold/White/Gold W, 41-0 gold numerals
2 9/8/18 at USF Gold/White/White L, 38-48 navy numerals
3 9/15/18 at Pitt White/White/White L, 19-24 navy numerals
4 9/22/18 Climpsun Gold/Navy/White L, 21-49
5 9/29/18 Bowling Green Gold/White/Gold W, 63-17 gold numerals
6 10/5/18 at Louisville White/White/White W, 66-31 navy numerals
7 10/13/18 Duke Gold/White/Navy L, 14-28 navy numerals
9 10/25/18 at VPISU White/White/White W, 49-28 navy numerals
10 11/3/18 at UNC White/White/Navy W, 38-28 navy numerals
11 11/10/18 Miami (FL) White/White/White W, 27-21 navy numerals
12 11/17/18 Virginia Gold/White/Gold W, 30-27 gold numerals
13 11/24/18 at Athens CC Gold/White/White L, 21-45 navy numerals
Bowl 12/26/18 Minnesota Gold/Navy/Navy L, 10-34

But you might be asking yourself what the records are for each different combination. I’ve got that for you too:

2018 Uniform Combinations

Combination Record Opponents
Combination Record Opponents
Gold/White/Gold 3-0 Alcorn St, Bowling Green, UVA
White/White/Navy 1-0 UNC
White/White/White 3-1 Pitt, Louisville, VPISU, Miami
Gold/Navy/White 0-1 Climpsun
Gold/White/Navy 0-1 Duke
Gold/Navy/Navy 0-1 Minnesota
Gold/White/White 0-2 USF, Athens CC

Even still, you might be looking for some specific splits (maybe to support some opinions you have on these uniforms?); here are some of those for ya:

2018 Uniform Splits

Situation Record Notes
Situation Record Notes
Any use of Navy 1-3
Standard Adidas Sets 6-1 Gold/White/Gold and White/White/White
Home 4-2
Away 3-3
Neutral Site 0-1
Gold Helmets 3-5
White Helmets 4-1
Gold Numerals 3-0 Not including navy jerseys
Navy Numerals 4-4

Some “key” takeaways from all of these tables and data points:

  • Navy is cursed.
  • We should always wear the base Adidas sets.
  • White helmets > Gold helmets
  • Gold numerals > Navy numerals
  • Our uniforms (and team) fare better at home than away.

My favorite GT uniform of 2018? The throwback kit (9/22 vs Clemson).

NCAA Football: Clemson at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, we got murdered in these. Yes, the navy jersey already existed and the whole combination is a bit contrived. Parts of the general CFB public seem indifferent to radically different uniforms and their proliferation as part of the arms race in modern college football, maintaining that the only reason for the uptick in interest is solely to curry the favor of fickle and vain high school recruits (heck, I joked about that above). And for the most part, that opinion makes sense — new jerseys exist as a bargaining chip to woo recruits and make them feel and look “cool”.

But there’s another side of the story as well: when designers reach back into history to build jersey components, it almost always is a hit. These kinds of jersey designs both take advantage of and build nostalgia in a fanbase: older fans may remember when the team played in these jerseys during their college days, while younger fans and students get to see a new jersey combination and learn about the history of their team. I wasn’t alive for the early-90s glory days of the gold/navy/white uniforms, but after having watched these in action, I feel connected to that era of GT football history.

This fall was my final football season as a student. While it didn’t end the way a lot of us had hoped (like seriously, holy [Stevie Nicks] was I wrong), it was a lot of fun (despite all of the frustration, especially early on) and these uniforms will make up the majority of what I remember from this season. 30 or 40 years from now, when I think about my Georgia Tech football experience as a student, I’m going to reminisce on the Miracle on Techwood Drive, the legacy of Paul Johnson and his quirky offense, and the two bowl games I got to see — but most of all, I’m going to remember the excitement we had for switching to adidas and getting brand-new uniforms. I’m going to remember going into each week wondering what combination we were going to wear next and being excited to be rid of that dreaded R. I’m going to remember watching the spectacular things we did in these jerseys: fighting our way back from 1-3 to make it to a bowl game, beating UVA in overtime, crushing VT in Blacksburg (again), and (finally) getting past Mark Richt and Miami. The 2018 season will be forever defined in my mind as the season of Adidas. I think that’s the oft-forgotten part about uniforms — the visual ties they create between student/fan and program, both during and after they’re worn.

But to wrap up the column for this season, I’d like to refer to something I wrote back in August:

In the immortal words of Atlanta legend Deion Sanders, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good.” Georgia Tech football now looks good; we have less than a month until we get to see if they’ll play good.

Georgia Tech did indeed look good this season. They played...ok, but nevertheless, it seems that Year 1 of the Adidas experiment was a resounding success.

Got more uni thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading #AkshayEye this season!