Precisely how fire are these 18 new college football uniforms? Ask an expert by Zito Madu

The grading scale for these uniforms is very simple: one to five flame emojis.

One flame emoji means that you should be ashamed of your program and, as a result, should forfeit every game this season to atone for bad fashion choices.

Five flame emojis means that you’re the Cory Matthews of the college football world. You know how much of a compliment that is if you’ve ever seen his outfits in Boy Meets World.

Oklahoma State

The thing that makes cowboys cool is not the bandana. The bandana is only cool because it’s worn by a cowboy.

I mean, cowboys made leather vests look like a good idea; the coolness factor comes from the general badass, vagabond-style, anti-hero attitude of the person wearing the bandana, weird hat, vest and uncomfortable shoes.

So while the uniform as a whole looks pretty awesome, I can’t sit here as a man of good taste and condone the bandana look. I get the intent and appreciate the effort. but no.

And a sheriff badge on a cowboy is a weird thing, isn’t it? I’ve always seen cowboys as the handsome, unshaven, lawless bastards riding into town to cause trouble. You give them a badge, and they’re just standard police officers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; it’s just not as cool as the video suggests. The black uniform is nice though.

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Three. A well-managed house fire.


I love that Kentucky went with the checkerboard design, so that if any of the players are hungry on the sidelines, they can just cut up the uniform and use it as a fancy napkin. Players are often seen carrying plates of food on the sidelines, dumbfounded as they look everywhere for a piece of well-designed cloth to keep their new uniforms clean.

The blue collar fits the blue uniform, but on the other two, it makes it look like they’re wearing an undershirt? I don’t understand the obsession with trying to make collars cool. They’re collars; the less noticed, the better. The only people who obsess over them are the aunts that you avoid for years because they will stop at nothing to fix your collar and tell you how fat your cheeks have gotten. That’s not who you want to be. Leave Collars Alone 2016.

Also, the crooked K thing doesn’t work.

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Two and a half. Sean Kingston claiming that fire was burning on the dance floor.

South Carolina

I have nothing bad to say about these. I actually love them. Simple, clean, garnet ... you can’t lose with that.

The only problem here isn’t the uniform’s fault. That Under Armour logo is so damn hideous that seeing it on these beautiful uniforms is like if da Vinci decided to stamp an MS Paint watermark on the Mona Lisa.

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Four. This is Anakin Skywalker-dying-in-a-volcano-before-becoming-Vader levels of fire. Except the UA logo is a reminder that he will be idolized by the whiny Kylo Ren in the future.


The black jerseys with the gold pants are so damn great. They’re like something you wear to throw extravagant parties in hopes of attracting the attention of the person you’ve always loved, even as you went to war and got into shady business dealings, before you ultimately drive her to a fit of road rage and her husband, heartbroken, duels you by your pool. But you looked dashing throughout the whole ordeal, Purdue.

The pattern on the shoulders of the white jerseys looks like the road signals that signify a no-turn middle lane, and I can’t figure out why fans and opponents need to know that information in the middle of a game.

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Four. The gold pants can’t be denied. This is "We just survived the hottest month in recorded history" heat.


Orange is an ugly color, and no amount of tiger paw outlines and updates to the uniform will change that. Orange dominates the whole outfit, and that’s just not good in any way.

I understand that it is the school’s color. They’re tigers after all. We just can’t sit here as decent, civilized people and pretend that there’s anything redeemable about a predominately orange uniform. I refuse. It’s an intrusive color, not bright enough like yellow to represent sunshine and happiness, but still begging for your attention. Just there, in your face, making everything uncomfortable. It’s the morning breath of colors.

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One and a half. Charmander’s tail threatening to go out in the "Charmander - The Stray Pokemon" episode. He would have died. That’s how bad of a color orange is.

Virginia Tech

So, they went and put stripes on last year’s helmet? In the "Hurricane Neddy" episode of The Simpsons, Ned Flanders’ house is destroyed in a hurricane and everything seemingly goes wrong after it. The townspeople come together to rebuild his house as a gesture of appreciation. When he sees the new home, he notices the bad construction, and the house promptly collapses. Ned finally, after years of dealing gracefully with misfortunes, loses his mind and lashes out at everyone around him. He gives each person an extensive verbal lashing, but when he gets to Homer Simpson, his neighbor and man who has caused him the most pain, all he says is, "Homer, you are the worst human being I have ever met."

I say that to say this: these uniforms suck.

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One. I wish I could give it a zero rating. I really do. I wish I was there when the uniforms were first tweeted, so I could have told them to delete their account.

Somewhat better Virginia Tech

I'm not sure what's going on with the dirty, gray, camouflage thing here, but I do know that whatever it is, and whatever the idea is supposed to be, it's excessive.

This is a black uniform. They are best when they're left completely black. It's cool, it's sleek, it's intimidating. Adding all of this extra noise, especially by the chest -- which makes it look like a very tacky, hipster vest -- is like covering a black panther in foliage to conceal it more at night. You're missing the entire point.

Still, black uniforms are automatically great.

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Daredevil, season 2. It's great, but too much going on now. Could definitely had been more refined.


There’s a big misconception about medieval knights that we need to shatter right now. Knights were terrible people. When not fighting, they drank a lot and caused trouble among the people. There’s nothing really awesome about them or their lifestyle, and even their armor were clunky, ill-designed human cages.

You’re better off just going full-on Pegasus mode and designing a uniform that takes inspiration from a beautiful beast that sprang up from the blood of a slain Medusa than making your uniforms look like weird combat armor. There’s just a lot of lines on the shirts, and they’re not dividing anything in particular; they’re just there.

It’s trying too hard and doing too much, like a knight who has to come to terms with the barren wasteland that is life after the war has ended.

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Two. Thank the Pegasus and the colors. This is as lukewarm as everything The Killers did after Sam’s Town.


Look at all those lines on the shirts, intersecting, curving and doing nothing except ruining what was potentially a good uniform. Also, look at that: stripes on the deltoids, which admittedly don’t look too bad in the white but are nauseous on the blue.

This might be harsh, but when something that could have been so perfect is infected by unnecessary details, like useless lines and Mario Kart speed boosts, you tend to get frustrated. The uniforms are cool, I guess, but could have been much better.

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Three and a half. Drake’s verse on "Grammys," and the lines and stripes are the Future verse.

Iowa State

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Two. They’re like LeBron James’ shoes. Regardless of the effort, they’re ugly.


Everything Jordan Brand is fire. Don’t ask me any questions on it.

I see the weird lines again on the shirts. But there’s also that Jumpman logo there, so the least I can do is order at least 10 of these to wear around Ann Arbor at the same time, as I check the Clear Path Psychic Readings building for Jim Harbaugh. You know he goes there.

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Five. Heath Ledger’s Joker. Michael Jordan’s jumper over Bryon Russell after crossing him over in game six of the 1998 NBA Finals. Hearing "If young Metro don’t trust you, I’mma shoot you" for the first time. Michael Corleone settling all the family’s business at the end of The Godfather.

NC State

As the greatest prophet of our time, Mr. Cameron Giles, said in "Killa Cam," verse 2, line 4: "Who am I to fuck tradition up?"

I can’t hate on throwbacks. These are nice. Minus the stripes on the helmet. That goes without saying.

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Four and a half. Nic Cage’s-initial-transformation-into-Ghost Rider levels of flames. Not the scene itself, but how hot the fire had to have been for him to be so over-the-top.


Ok, I know what I said about collars. They’re generally not something you want to add style to, but the Trojan key pattern is great. It’s a simple design that doesn’t try to tell you everything it represents. It’s barely noticeable, like a bunch of soldiers hiding inside of a horse that’s presented as a war gift.

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Four. The Greeks burning Troy to the ground after winning the war, only to be punished by the gods for their cruelty.


The most that I can say about these is that they’re boring? The undershirt look will never be good, and I never thought that a black-and-red combination could ever not be good, but here we are. 2016 is full of surprises. They’re not really bad, they’re just not really anything at all.

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Two and a half. A bonfire in the late summer night with friends. And as they’re all enjoying the night, you have the dreadful thought of jumping into the fire after realizing you’ve accomplished nothing of note in your life. Time and history will forget you.


I want you to sit with me as a dear friend. I want you to imagine a better world. In this better world, we have learned to love each other, to celebrate differences rather than see them as reasons for division. In this world, we have fixed global warming, poverty and Internet Explorer.

This brave new world of ours is full of endless possibilities for progress, since the only thing holding us back is our own imagination.

Now, one of these great possibilities is the existence of this uniform without the Under Armour logo on the shirt and the helmet stripes. Do you see how beautiful it looks? Do you see what we could have? I could cry at the thought.

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Four and a half. John F. Kennedy’s moon speech at Rice University.


Apparently these cool crawfish helmets are fake. It was just a cruel April Fool's joke by head coach Mark Hudspeth.

Mark, your last helmet was just a regular, ugly, striped thing. I firmly believe it’s the reason why your team went 4-8. Playing a joke with such a cool look is like teasing your significant other by pretending to be a better person before reverting back to the lazy, inconsiderate waste of space that they’re planning to leave soon. This is not cool, Mark.

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One. Don’t toy with people’s emotions. It doesn’t even get a funny description, because I’m upset.

Pitt's throwbacks

"Who am I to fuck tradition up?"

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Five. But damn those stripes and oppressive lines. This fight is not over. Still, this is like seeing Beyonce perform "Partition" live. Few physical experiences are as great as that. I sang every word along with her, and at the end of it, I realized that I had been crying the entire time.

Air Force

In the list of uniforms I was sent, the description "dope helmets" was written next to the words "Air Force." I muttered to myself, "We’ll see about that," and clicked the link.

When the page loaded, I jumped back and said aloud, "Oh wow, that’s baller." So there you have it.

When part of the inspiration of your helmet is a group of World War II pilots called The Flying Tigers, and instead of paw prints or the ugly Clemson orange, the art for the nose of their planes was shark teeth, I can’t do anything but extend my gratitude. I’m thankful just to review such a great piece of art.

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Six. I make the rules here, and a design and backstory this awesome is too good for standard ratings. This is Moses-and-the-burning-bush levels of fire. It’s a spiritual experience.