When the 6th ranked Buckeyes take the field against No. 2 Penn State on Saturday afternoon, they’re going to look a little different than what we’ve grown accustomed to. They’ll still be donning the familiar scarlet and gray, but there will only be a tiny bit of scarlet. And a lot of gray. Like…a lot. The helmets, jerseys and pants consist entirely of various shades of gray, with the exception of a scarlet block-O on the jersey collar and on the helmet’s nose bumper. Ohio State will also ditch their traditional helmet stickers in favor of a black version that features a scarlet Buckeye leaf. The helmets, jersey numbers and socks will all have a subtle wolf’s fur pattern, a nod to the “Land of the Wolves” theme the Buckeyes adopted prior to the 2016 season. Rounding out the uniform is a pair of solid scarlet Lebron James cleats. Below are additional images of the new uniforms courtesy of the Ohio State Football Twitter account.
I don’t particularly care for these alternates. At all. I’ll preface this by saying I had a hard time adjusting when Ohio State ditched the gray sleeve stripes on their home jerseys in 2006, so that’s what you’re dealing with here. I’m a big fan of classic, traditional college football uniforms, and I have a hard time adjusting to any deviation from that. Does that make me ate up? Probably. Do I put too much importance on what a team wears? Absolutely. Does a team’s uniform have any impact on the actual game? Without a doubt. Luckily Ohio State’s track record when wearing alternates is pretty good. Plus if the Buckeyes, who are currently 6.5 point favorites, do happen to lose, they have a built-in excuse. I’m pretty sure the playoff committee will cut the Buckeyes some slack if they lose knowing OSU had to figure out how to stop Heisman front runner Saquon Barkley and overcome their atrocious gray uniforms. I understand why schools do this. It’s a great opportunity to generate additional jersey sales, plus recruits love it. A lot of fans like it too, as evidenced by all the flame emojis on Buckeyes Twitter this week. Which I think is the perfect reaction to this dumpster fire of a uniform.
When I’m sitting on my couch on Saturday eating nachos and chicken wings while watching the Buckeyes and wearing gray sweatpants and a gray T-shirt that’s probably a size or two too small (it used to fit…), I don’t want the players to look like they’re dressed exactly like me. Are these throwbacks to the black and white TV era? Did somebody mess with the color settings on my tv? I don’t get it. These may be worse than the all black unis from a couple years ago. At least those had a little more contrast. I blame Nike for all of this. They started this pandemic with Oregon and it’s spread to just about every corner of the football world. I just hope these uniforms don’t sound as ugly as they look when I flip off the TV and turn on the radio.
Oh look, a hype video for the new uniforms. Maybe this will sway my opinion.
For a long time I wanted to believe the Buckeyes were a traditional team, one that wouldn’t give in to the latest uniform gimmicks that you see throughout the NCAA (or the NFL these days, for that matter). The Buckeyes have such a classic uniform, they would never mess with it. That would never happen to Ohio State. That’s for all of those flashy schools in the PAC 12 and ACC. I even started to ignore the warning signs over the past decade or so when OSU started introducing alternates of their own. Instead of accepting what they’ve become, I denied it. I made excuses for them:
“It’s only once a year, it’s not that big of a deal.”
“These are just modernized versions of uniforms from Ohio State’s past. They’re honoring the program’s storied history.”
“All black? Well, at least it looks slimming.”
It’s time for me to accept the truth about the team that I so passionately root for week in and week out. They have one of the most iconic uniforms in all of football, but once or twice a year they’re going to throw something radical out there that will be an affront to the eyes of many like myself who prefer a more traditional style. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m not going to like all of the alternates Ohio State comes up with. I’m probably going to downright hate some of them. But that’s okay. I can still like the team and think they look like clowns every once in a while. It’s not like they’d ever go the route of Oregon or Maryland and adopt an outlandish design as their primary uniforms. That could never happen at Ohio State…