Monday, August 04, 2008
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.