Monday, August 04, 2008

Road UNI Watch - WSU Football Blog Style

With practice sessions about to begin, we will step outside the box a bit today. All the buzz has been about the new uniforms that will grace our Cougars next year once the Nike deal takes hold in January, and obviously some concerns arose with the news. Would they create something hideous as we've seen from our NW brethren in Oregon? Or the "Jog-Bra" look at Oregon State? Maybe they'll stay conservative, ala UW which aside from changing some of the font on the numbers, well, they still "look" like UW, you know what I mean?

Anyway, we thought it would be a good idea to look back at some past WSU combo's in the modern era, and see if we might come to a consensus of which uni's worked the best over the years, and which ones didn't. Today we'll roll out the road combo's. Check out the poll question to the right, and feel free to leave comments on which style you prefer. Here goes:

1) 1981 Holiday Bowl Road Uni's

Crimson pants with white stripes down the side. Solid block crimson numerals with double-crimson stripe on the sleeves. Gray helmets with Cougars script, and a center stripe on the helmet. White face masks, white shoes.

Mainly rolled with this style in the Walden era with very little change. Basic, but clean.

2) 1988 Aloha Bowl Road Uni's

Here we see the change that Erickson wanted when he showed up. Gray pants without any piping or stripes, and a WSU cougar head logo on the hip. White jerseys with basic lettering, and the big change having the Washington State school name across the chest. WSU Cougar head logo on the sleeves. White shoes. Gray helmets with Cougars script and crimson face masks.

Erickson was quoted at the time he took the WSU job that if we were going to play in the Pac-10, we were going to look like we belonged in the Pac-10, so some tweaks were made. I like this look to an extent, but I could do without the Washington State name across the chest.

3) The Bledsoe/Palouse Posse/Ryan Leaf years of the early-late 90's

Same jersey as we had when Erickson did the tweaking. Cougar head logo on the sleeves, school name across the chest, basic crimson lettering. But the big change? solid colors that many schools went with in the 90's for their road pants. Still a solid look, and a nice contrast of colors with the crimson pants and gray helmets. Although some would complain on the overall color of the crimson, as they just didn't look deep enough. In the lighting conditions on the road or on TV, a lot of times we looked too "fire engine red", and it's hard to argue with that when you view some of the pics. Later you'll see we attempted to correct that, but as you can see here, it is more of a red vs. a crimson.
There were a few variations in this era. Occasionally we would roll out the gray pants on the road, but it was very rare. The "Bledsoe's" wore that look for a road game at Oregon in 1991, and Leaf and company wore it at Stanford in the mid-90's and maybe the biggest win ever, the 1997 Apple Cup. But it was pretty rare. The 1997 Rose Bowl saw the gray script helmets with the rose as part of the script (just beautiful!), with white tops and crimson pants.

One variation of this era was at times we would have the Cougars script helmet, and others where we would wear the Cougar head logo on the helmets. Here's a shot of the variation in a 1995 game at Cal, complete with a solid crimson stripe down the center:

4) The Gesser - Kegel - Derting years - stripes and stuff.

A big departure from the past, WSU joined many others in going with the Russell Athletics look of the side, "modern" stripes which went down the side of the torso up through the top, under the shoulders and finishing at the neck. The school name still appeared across the chest, but it was considerably smaller, and a small WSU logo was at the center of the neck line.

WSU also became one of the only schools in America with more than one helmet, rolling out the crimson shells for road games, with white face masks. White shoes and white pants with crimson stripes down the side to complete the vertical look. The numbers got some block in gray coloring to give them an extra dimension. We even modified things a bit to these jerseys, going with an extra stripe along the shoulders for a different look.

I liked these uni's initially, but ultimately I longed for the more conservative, old-school look without the busy stripes on the jerseys. Which takes us to today.

5) The Current Versions - Mkristo Bruce - Jerome Harrison - Jason Hill - Alex Brink years.
And here we are today. Crimson pants the majority of the time, with three versions - one we rarely see, the extra bolded crimson stripe that Mkristo is modeling above. One with a double-white stripe down the side, and a pants scheme that looks a little too much like Stanford if you want to know the truth. And another, a solid crimson look that even looks like a deeper crimson color (although I think lighting has a lot to do with this):

Crimson helmets with Cougar head logo and white face masks, and the school name remains small across the chest. Black shoes complete the look, and it's sharp. The stripes on the jerseys and wavy stripes to the pants are gone, and the lettering is much more of a block-style with an extra crimson outline.

Finally, the look that we have seen in the last two Apple Cups. It's also a look that has done us well over the years (1988 Aloha Bowl, 1997 Apple Cup, 2005 and 2007 Apple Cups). Yes, I'm talking about the gray helmets with the Cougars script, same simple, clean jerseys, solid gray pants with the WSU hip logo, and black shoes. I have to admit.....I FREAKIN' LOVE IT!

So there you have it. Feel free to chime in via comments or vote in the poll for your favorite combo.


medinabooster said...

Ugh. I hate the recent apple cups for good reason. So that means they get my vote if I am a couglet.

Logan said...

I would like to see an all crimson home uni like the bledsoe years with the grey script helmet...maybe even with the crimson helmet for one game. I haven't been able to decide on road unis, but i liked the apple cup unis...and i like the current road unis, except the pants could be rid of the striping.

Sedihawk said...

Hey Logan, we'll do something for the home uni's later on. But while I would agree with you on the crimson pants without the stripe and crimson helmets looking sharp (06 at Auburn and at UCLA comes to mind), I just can't get over the gray helmets, gray pants, black shoes and the Cougars script logo on the helmets. Maybe it's sentimental because of the recent Apple Cup wins, but I love the look myself.

Logan said...

ahh, my fault. i look forward to that post in the future. i love the crimson helmets, they need to stay.

CougX said...


The 'Apple Cup' is simple and classy looking for the road - script helmets included. As for home - the same except with crimson pants. We also won the AC in 1983 and 1985 in Seattle with the 'classic look' with the exception of stripes on the pants. WSU has a workman like image and being too flashy with the uni's just doesn’t fit. Some schools stay with a traditional look regardless of level of success (Stanford and USC for example) so change for the sake of change is not always for the better.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. You have someone named 'Brinkhater' yet Brink threw for a school-record 10,000 yards. And you post a picture of Chad Davis? Where is chaddavishater when you need him?

LOVE: Apple Cup roadies. But also heart the Crimson hats and solid Crimson tights with blank shoes. But we look too much like Tex AM in that getup. My vote is Apple Cup roadies.

HATE: Crimson pants with the stanford stripe. look too red and the stripe is unnecessary.

Why are we going to nike? Cant we go to underarmour?? CLICK CLACK we MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE MOFO's!

logan said...

nike is the best deal financially if i remember correctly, which is really important for a school like us.

Sedihawk said...

Anony, you are right. Those Crimson helmets and solid Crimson pants are a little "A&M-ish". A & M is much deeper, almost a purple color, but yeah, not a bad comparison.

We will hit the home uniforms later in the week. So far the AC's are in the lead. And cougx, you are right, we aren't a flashy t-shirt type school. I think the conservative look was well-received. But at the same time, uni's matter a lot to the ones who they are really meant for, and that is of course, the players. Nike is king of marketing itself, and recruits have said in the past that sometimes a big factor can be the uniforms for when a recruit chooses a school. I know it sounds shallow but it is what it is. The JC monster back, Blount at Oregon, was quoted by saying that the uniforms were a big factor in his decision.

Then again, Michigan and Ohio State are Nike schools, and their looks have stayed pretty traditional. We aren't Michigan or Ohio State, but, still, it might not be a total disaster. So we'll see what the school ultimately chooses, but I think when you hear "Nike" and college uniforms, you hold your breath!

Mike said...

nike is the best deal financially if i remember correctly, which is really important for a school like us.

Not to mention, although UnderArmour is the "cool" brand right now, their actual gear (shoes, etc.) is pretty subpar.

Anonymous said...

Three things I love about the Gibson TD picture: 1) Look at Jeshua Anderson's leap, #85. He looks like he's leaping over the last hurdle in yet another NCAA track win. 2) Look at number 28 for UW. That play was such a big breakdown of coverage that on the other side of the field, I believe he's the closest defender to Gibson on the play. Worst UW defense ever last year. 3) The ref was a UW alum and hoped Gibson would somehow screw it up. Even though Gibson is five yards deep in the endzone and basically walked into the endzone, the ref still couldn't bring thyself to raise the ARMS! Come on.

E said...

Call me an old stick in the mud, but I'd like to see us pick a uniform/helmet combination for both home and away and then STICK WITH IT! A lot of success in college football comes from traditions passed down through generations and uniforms are part of the deal. It's been mentioned a couple of times that the most storied and successful programs have kept their uniforms consistent, regardless of the most recent fad or trend. And, while the Cougs are not exactly a "storied" program, I'd like to see some consistency, which in turn will build brand recognition when we're on TV. You don't turn on a Michigan game and wonder, "who are those guys in the blue unis with funny stripes on the helmet". You also want kids in the state of Washington to grow up dying to wear the crimson bucket with a white coug head logo on it because their dad, or uncle or grandpa wore it in his day.

So, I was happy to see that our current road unis are essentially the same as the 1981 Holiday Bowl team, but with a different helmet. Although I like the gray helmet with the script cougars for sentimental reasons, and they look good in close-up photos like the ones posted above, they don't "pop" when you watch the team on TV. The crimson helmet with the white coug head looks TIGHT! The coug head logo is one of the coolest in all sports and the gray "apple cup" unis don't feature it prominently enough. And maybe it's because I grew up watching Derrick Thomas absolutely crush the Seahawks twice a year, but I also love the white facemasks because they look so intimidating, especially on defensive players.

So, my vote is to keep our current road uniforms, either the version on AB, or Cody Boyd above. Then we should stick with these for the next 50-100 years.


Sedihawk said...

I hear what you are saying E. I am more old-school as well and remember the Derrick Thomas days as well as you do. Didn't the Seahawks win that game on a last-second TD pass, even when Thomas sacked DK 8 times?

Anyway, I think uniforms are a hard thing to nail down. Other schools are so aggressive in trying new things for marketing and recruiting purposes. So do we sit by and fold our arms, saying sorry, we're just fine with what we have? Or do we go with the progressive approach that our primary competition is using? I would love to stick with one look, and that would be it, but very few schools have pulled that off. Michigan is a great example, but they are the most successful program of all-time in terms of wins. Look around the Pac-10, and only USC, UCLA and UW have stuck with the same overall look since the Pac-10 became the Pac-10. Look at Oregon, Oregon State, and all their combo's over the years. Look at Cal this year, new uni's yet again. Stanford has been tweaking their look forever. Subtle changes, but still, always tweaking. The AZ schools have changed all sorts of things. And really, even USC, UCLA and UW have at least made some modifications. So I guess it's rare to pick a look and stick with it. Today's day and age, even more so!

Selahcoug said...

I like the recent Apple Cup look, but I think we should keep that just for the Apple Cup. I really like the look Cody Boyd is modeling above, the Crimson helmet with the solid Crimson pants. I think they should just leave the stripes off all of the pants, it is to 80's.

millcreekcoug said...

The crimson pants with the stripes look wayyyy to much like Nebraska. If we are going to keep the crimson scheme on the road, go with the solid crimson pants.

Personally I wouldn't mind if we went with the gray scheme for all road games.

Just please please please keep the black shoes.

I'll have more to say on the home

Woody said...

I am probably too late to weigh in on the Uni Thread, but I will post anyway.
My two cents on the Coug Uni's is pretty simple. Silver helmet/Silver Pants both Home and Away. I prefer the Coug Logo on the helmet, but the script works ok for me, maybe trade off for special games. I agree with the building tradition thing, screw the large shoe companies.
Which leads me to my next point. Nike is interested in one thing and one thing only and that is making as much money off of programs like WSU as possible. So, expect some changes next season. They want to create a look that they can duplicate for cheap in China/India and sell a bunch of new product on the backs of the schools. So, eventually I suspect we will have a template/pattern that is similar to other schools. I hope I am wrong.
The reason programs like USC, Michigan, etc. can keep their traditional look and still be Nike is two reasons: Their fan bases are huge and collectively they sell a lot of product and Nike needs them as signature accounts. So, they can go to smaller programs and say hey we do Michigan and USC. The kids want what the big programs are doing as well.
There are a bunch of other smarmy details to what we could be in store for next year, but I will not get into it now. Maybe I will save it for next year when we get our new unis.

Cannot wait for the 30th.

Go Cougs!


Sedihawk said...

Hey Woody, never too late for good comments!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, aren't you the guy who's said before that he's worked with Nike or worked in the apparel/team business? I thought you or someone else might have left comments before about the nature of the uniform business and that there are a lot of details we don't know, like how colors are used, the marketing strategies, etc?

Tinit said...

I love the look in the Cody Boyd picture. As somebody else posted it REALLY pops on TV, especially the helmets. I do like the gray scheme with the script helmets though for the AC.

millcreekcoug said...

Michigan is with Adidas.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the Cougs have some special event this season like the Huskies did last year where they wear throwback uniforms celebrating past seasons when they won the National Championship? Oh... That's right....

warren moon said...

Really anonymous? Clearly a husky fan, Just OVERFLOWING with national titles! Let's see, you made up a national title from 1960 from one poll nobody in the universe would acknowledge and doesn't even exist. Whatever it takes to feel good, play dress-up and fly a flag about your horrible program right now. Yes, you were goof in 1991. But 1991 was a CO title, not an outright deal, so you share that one.

Maybe we can go back into the archives and see if we can find someone, anyone, who voted us #1 in 1916 or 1930. We could wear throwbacks, fly a flag, pretend like it matters. Then we would be the coolest!

How's the new decade working out? Oh, you have won just 44 games? You are only ten wins behind us. Well, at least you are owning the've lost 3 of the last 4 Apple Cups? Well at least you have a whole bunch of bowl wins this decade....oh, you have just one? Well, you have Husky stadium....oh, it's a run-down pile of shit? Well, at least you have TY AND HIS 11-25 RECORD TO SUCK ON. Oh....THAT'S RIGHT! You guys do suck.

Anonymous said...

Apple Cup version for sure. Ditch the crimson helmets all together. The swapping helmets thing is a gimick and it's lame. The logo looks too big on the helmet, plus it looks terrible from the left side. The script obviously reads backwards as well, but for some reason it doesn't look as bad.


Woody said...

I indeed was the one that used to work in the athletic apparel business, and yes there are a lot of details (like with any business)that do not get out there for public consumption.

Unfortunaltely far to often the bottom line is only selling merch. It is not performance for the athletes, it is not tradition of a school, it is selling merchandise.
It will porobably be a good thing for consumable wear, as we will have some different choices of cool items to buy. But we have to cross our fingers that they do not go all Oregon on our a** and make us look like clowns on the field.

Go Cougs!


Anthony McClanahan said...

Love the "Apple Cup" look too. That is the way to go forward PERIOD. The Crimson helmet has to looks great sitting on the shelf but on the field with crimson pants we simply look like Arkansas...I seriously think that everytime I see us on the road.

Secondly and this goes to all uniforms for all team home and road. For god's sake can we as a school define what color "Cougar Crimson" is going to be and stick to it. I would go so far as to have Sterk hire a "Quality Crimson Control" specialist who demands that all suppliers and licensees conform to one uniform color of Cougar Crimson.

Anyway...I say Cougar script helmets for all games (thankfully the grey logo helmets are retired...the logo just never "popped" on the silver helmets and it was a terrible look) Clean white jerseys with silver pants looks great on the road.

For the home look we COULD have the sweetest look ever. We have to go to a solid 2-color crimson/silver look. (Think Detroit Lions throwbacks with Crimson where the blue is)

1-Silver Cougar-script helmet
2-Crimson jersey with Silver, NOT WHITE numbers and maybe a small silver "Wazzu" or logo at the neck.
3-Solid Silver pants (crison logo okay)
4-Solid Crimson socks (all worn tucked into the pants
5-Black Shoes
6-NO WHITE Lettering or stripes anywhere on the uniform***
7-Only exception would be for an Crimson pants "All Crimson look" for MAXIMUM one game per year.

All the best uniforms are TWO color designs that are clean and classy.
For Example
Michigan Home
Texas Road
Alabama Home
Penn State Home/Road
USC Home

We could look awesome at home and on the road and put the memories of the embarrassing 2-helmet Gesser-era uniforms to bed forever

Anonymous said...

I personally am into the new age uniforms that programs are going for such as orgeon becuase when u flip through the chanells even if you think ugly or not u still wanna see what oregon's wearing and cant help but stop an look... for that said my opinion on the uni's and im in college and in the age group of recruits, i would like to see Wazzu have a four helmet set with crimson an gray helmets with the script and then also with the head so we would have four total helmets. I also liked the unis we busted out two years ago against Usc for one game an wished we could have went somewhere towards that direction.. but as of complete unis that they have worn consistently i like the ten win season gear the best and have hated it ever since we've turned back the clock and went old school on it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if anyone will see my comments or not since it has been well over a month from the date this topic was posted, but here goes---

1. Silver pants-please get rid of them! we are not crimson and silver. we are crimson and grey. don't freak out. think about it. when was the last time you saw grey used prominantly in uniforms? it's been a while because we eventually figured out how to make that original grey (such as some of our early pants) sparkly, giving us an additional, unofficial school color. Imagine a grey helmet. that'd be a first. if done properly, grey could work very well.
2. Crimson helmets-unquestionably one of the best helmets in ALL of football! i love em!
3. Nike-personally i am pumped for a uni change. nike has an unpredictable and nervewrecking history of football unis. (one thing i noticed, which i love, is the silver, almost white names on the back of oregons white jerseys. it gives the school a more unified penn state-esque quality while still allowing the names to be there)
Lastly, i have a few questions.

How much control does nike have over our helmets?

When will the school select our new uni designs?

Will i be able to find it here first?