Posted by Adam Jacobi
In the Big Ten, there's no more tradition-obsessed (read: change-averse) football program than Michigan. where fans react with consternation toward things most programs take for granted: luxury boxes, piped-in music, and uniform changes, for some examples.
So it must have been some sort of comfort when adidas unveiled its alternate home uniforms for Michigan against Notre Dame in the second week of the season, and the uniforms were still quite obviously Michigan uniforms at first glance -- unlike, say, the Georgia Pro Combat uniform. Notre Dame, also an adidas school, wore a uniform that was also quintessentially its own in that game. Hey, there's something to be said for familiarity.
Similarly, Michigan fans must have been relieved to see that the team's alternate road uniforms it's busting out for the 2012 Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech are, again, quite obviously Michigan uniforms. The "new" threads, seen at right and courtesy of the Michigan athletic department on WhoSay.com, were the result of teamwork between adidas and the football players themselves.
“We met with our seniors and showed them some concepts that were proposed by adidas and the mock-up is what they chose,” said Michigan coach Brady Hoke in a special news release. “This is a something the players enjoy and we thought it would be a nice way to commemorate our appearance in the Sugar Bowl.”
In addition, according to Michigan, the players decided to wear the grey face mask on the famed winged helmet. Player numbers will also continue to appear on the helmet.
The uniform is being modeled by a computer simulation of UNIDENTIFIED RANDOM STUDENT-ATHLETE NUMBER 16, and is in no way meant to be thought of as anything resembling Denard Robinson.
Virginia Tech will not be wearing a special uniform for the game.
Anyway, kudos to adidas for again opting not to engage in the excesses of other companies' alternate uniforms (take a look at Ohio State's scarlet mess from this year and tell me, I dare you to tell me Nike didn't only give them to OSU because Rutgers passed on them first) and sticking to the same colors and relatively similar color proportions as usual. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, sure, but a little tweak never hurt anybody either.
We did, however, wonder what would happen if, like most of its other uniform providers, adidas had absolutely no regard for tradition and instead went for the flashiest design possible. We have obtained an EXCLUSIVE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE SNEAK PEEK at exactly that scenario, and we're happy to share it with you here. Enjoy:
- First of all, the cumbersome title Wolverines has been shortened to the much more economical and efficient "'Rines," much in the same way that Miami has come to be known as "the 'Canes" or Boise State is now referred to simply as "the 'Cos."
- Second, the winged helmet has given way to the winged shoulders, which seems more in line with the way animals fly anyway (Can you imagine if birds' wings were on their heads? Ridiculous!).
- The colors are more eye-catching than before, and that's always a plus, right?
- And lastly, according to the uniform patch, Michigan would be in the Pac-12. Yeah, conference realignment got weird in this alternate universe.
Anyway, feel free to show that version of the Michigan uniform to any Wolverine fan if you want to give them an aneurysm.