Welcome to Uniformity, a special place of the internet dedicated to our healthy obsession with anything and everything to do with BYU uniforms. Here we’ll discuss updates to new uniform sets, explore the rich history of Cougar gear and pontificate on what the future could behold.
A few weeks ago, there was some swirling news regarding potential changes to BYU’s football uniforms. An initial report from Mitch Harper of ESPN 960 stated that BYU would be converting full time to “royal blue jerseys at home and white royal blue numbers on the road.” Excitement was abound until that report was later rebuffed by BYU’s associate AD Duff Tittle. While Duff did dispel the notion that royal would be the primary color, he didn’t mention the other part of Harper’s report where he said the Cougars will be adding another alternate uniform that would probably be gray.
Who knows if we’ll actually get to see this additional uniform in the fall, but for now we can at least think of it being on the table. BYU doesn’t go buck wild with their uniforms like other schools, so a new set would be a significant announcement.
For being someone who obsesses over uniform changes and updates you would think that I would fully embrace another jersey color option, but I’m actually a little hesitant. After years of watching other schools dilute their brand by using color schemes outside of their primary set, I’d prefer that BYU stick with what they currently have.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a solid alternate uniform. BYU’s limited use of the black uniforms (which are fine, but not their best) is perfect because they’re only used once every couple of seasons. Where teams can run into trouble is when they start to stray too far from their traditional school colors on a regular basis.
Over the course of the last decade, Oregon has been setting the trend for what other college teams do with their uniforms. They never wear the same thing twice in one season, and about five years ago they really started to mix up what they did in terms of color. The Ducks sported a variety of different greens and yellows as well as plenty of black, gray, chrome and whatever the folks at Nike could come up with. In 2016 they wore a blue and yellow getup that looked more like a Cal uniform. Even for Oregon this was going a little too far and in the 2017 season they decided to scale back and stick to their more traditional colors. Even with their usual flair they had their traditional yellow or green in every uniform last season.
Oregon wasn’t the only school to scale back on their alternate uniform colors. After experimenting with the truly terrible “Desert Fuel” uniforms, Arizona State decided that their uniforms should be primarily maroon and gold. I wouldn’t be surprised if more teams start to simplify their uniform offering, slowing the very trend that Oregon started.
These schools have started to see that when you run out a different uniform combination each week you run the risk of losing that strong brand identity associated with your school. Schools like Texas, Alabama and Penn State usually don’t ever deviate from their standard look. That might be boring, but when you turn on the TV you know for fact which team you are watching.
In BYU’s case, they haven’t gone to the extremes of Oregon or Arizona State have, but its not as if we’re short on uniform options either. There is already have a solid lineup, including two alternate uniforms with their royal and black getups. With the royal being used on a semi-regular basis and the black set getting into the mix every couple of years there really isn’t a need for something new.
And if the idea is to do something new that will separate BYU from other schools, they might want to try something else besides gray. Just about every team in the country has adopted some sort of gray uniform and in general it doesn’t look that great. Of the 50+ teams that have adopted gray there are probably only two instances in which I’ve seen it done well, those being Washington State and Colorado, and even then they’re just fine. At this point I’d rather them keep the black uniforms as opposed to have both black and gray, which seems redundant.