Recruits dish on college football uniforms: Does your team rank high ... or low?
Poll of 100 FBS recruits says today's athletes aren't impressed by traditional uniforms like Alabama's
Over the last decade, we've seen an explosion of uniform changes and alternates being introduced to college football as teams look to solidify its brand with young people.
Ask an older college football fan to name their favorite uniform and you'll probably hear them fawn over Penn State's classic all-white look or maybe Alabama's crimson tops and white bottoms; but for recruits, those uniforms are simply boring.
A survey of 100 uncommitted FBS recruits -- mostly sophomores and juniors -- as compiled by Mike Nowoswiat of Pick Six Previews, revealed which teams (and brands) had the best uniforms in college football.
Unsurprisingly, the runaway winner was Oregon, which garnered 60 votes as having the best uniforms. The next highest were Baylor (8), TCU (6), Maryland (5) and Florida State (5).
Recruits were also asked to name the school they thought had the worst uniforms; teams with "classic" looks did not fare well.
Alabama and Penn State each had 11 recruits respond that they had the worst uniforms. Maryland's Under Armour uniforms clearly cause the most polarity as the Terrapins received five votes for worst uniform as well as the five for best uniform.
As for the brands that recruits like best, Nike rates out the highest among recruits (9.5 out of 10), but Adidas (8.1) and Under Armour (7.9) aren't far behind. (Russell Athletic is a 2.9 and, well, that's just not surprising at all).
You may say, who cares? Kids won't be all that influenced by uniforms.
You would be wrong.
The survey also asked the recruits how important uniforms were to how they viewed a program and whether threads would impact their decision on where to go. Seventy-two percent responded that it was either "very true" or "moderately true" that uniforms have a "great impact" on their perception of a team, while 33 percent said it was "very true" or "moderately true" that uniforms would impact their college decision.
Thirty-three percent isn't incredibly high, but it's still higher than what you would expect considering how many factors go into the decision for a recruit on where to go. The 72 percent saying it has an impact on their perception of the program is a much bigger deal.
A recruit may not make their final decision based off of a uniform, but having "cool" uniforms could be the difference in a recruit even taking a look at a program or not. Then it's a matter of selling the program, philosophy, academics and the rest.
For programs steeped in prestigious history, uniforms may not be all that critical. I mean, Alabama clearly doesn't have a problem getting recruits to come to their program, even if recruits aren't enamored by donning the crimson and white.
However, there's no doubt that moving to more modern uniforms and adding a number of different styles can make an impact in the long run for a program.
Oregon has become a national brand thanks to its infinite number of uniform combinations (with a nice assist from power booster and Nike founder Phil Knight). Baylor and TCU, two programs that have become national contenders despite being non-traditional powers in the Big 12, have used the introduction of new uniforms to make their brand appeal to recruits.
So just remember the next time your favorite team makes a uniform change or introduces an alternate that maybe deviates from the precious "tradition" of your school: These changes aren't for you, they're for the 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids that your program needs to become a contender.
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