In the fourth week of the college football season, the Oregon Ducks donned their uniforms from the 1996 to 1998 seasons in the hope of upsetting No. 6 California. Not only did they beat California, they emasculated them with a 42-3 beatdown. The result was so stunning, so unpredictable -- even for a quality Pac-10 team like Oregon -- that everyone was thinking the same thing: it had to be the uniforms.
But was it?
For those of you who don't know, the Oregon Ducks are well-known for having made an absurd amount of uniform changes over the years. In fact in 2006, the school make a pact with Nike that gave them a whopping 384 different jersey selections, literally meaning that every single season they'll be wearing something new.
When I first saw this uniform, it instantly reminded me of the old jerseys the Notre Dame Fighting Irish used to wear in the 70's and 80's. I was somewhat surprised to learn that the Ducks wear wearing this design barely a decade ago. It has a much older look to it.
Oregon running back LaMichael James had a huge game against the California defense: 188 yards and a touchdown. The interlocking OU on the helmet is no longer a part of the design. This is probably because there are at least half a dozen teams that OU could associated with (primarily Oklahoma)
I think it's interesting that none of their uniform designs would lead you to believe that they're called the Ducks. Granted, a duck isn't exactly the most fearsome creature out there, but you'd think they'd have a picture of a duck on at least one of those 384 options.
It's pretty hard to wear a yellow helmet and yellow pants and get away with it. And since most of the Ducks uniforms are pretty ugly -- what with the lack of attention to detail with 384 jerseys -- I was expecting the 1996 editions to be kinda shabby. But these actually look alright. And when you annihilate one of the 10 best teams in the country, it's hard to argue with the results.
Classic Oregon home uniform: B
Photos taken by Steve Dykes, Getty Images