Worst college football uniforms: The ugliest look worn by each Power Five team since 2000

Whether you care about sports fashion or not, there's no denying that uniforms play a pretty big role in every major college football program across the country. Jerseys and uniforms can serve as a recruiting tactic for impressionable high school prospects, as players often not only care about playing well, but also looking good while doing so. 

As such, many schools consistently roll out new uniforms in an effort to deliver the next cool, sleek and buzzworthy design that will catch the eye of a top recruit. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, it's often a case of programs attempting to shoehorn their brand into the popular fads that are taking off in the uniform world. Other times, it's just a case of a gimmick gone wrong.

But with an ever-flowing stream of new uniforms constantly cascading across college football, nearly every program has a look that they've struck out on. We're here to make sure they never live it down.

Presenting: The worst uniform worn by every Power Five college football program since the turn of the century.

ACC

Boston College

Gold on maroon alternate uniform, 2012

Clemson v Boston College
Getty Images

I appreciate BC's attempt to make a gold uniform happen -- and their hockey team has proved that it can make for a good look -- but this one just doesn't bring enough excitement.

Clemson

White on purple road uniform, 2010

Meineke Car Care Bowl
Charlotte Observer

Clemson has a pretty solid uniform history but this look just came across a bit jumbled in the way the colors were arranged, especially on the jersey. The purple collar accent with orange sleeve stripe is curious. 

Duke

Blue on white home uniform, 2006

NCAA Football - Navy vs Duke - November 4, 2006
Kevin C. Cox

This look is so boring that a high school team would be embarrassed to wear it.

Florida State

Black on black alternate uniform, 2006

We've seen FSU pull off black pretty well over the years, but this one looks like crap. It's all pretty bland outside of the tribal design on the collar and sleeves, and even that isn't particularly well done.

Georgia Tech

Blue on gold home uniform, 2008

When you have a color scheme that essentially involves mustard yellow (ahem, gold), you have to find ways to use it responsibly. This is not that. This is preposterous and disgusting.

Louisville

White on red road uniform, 2003

This is a bold and obnoxious look that is pretty fitting for the era, but that doesn't make it a good look. That yellow number trim is especially jarring. 

Miami

Orange on orange alternate home uniform, 2010

Miami has had some classics, but some atrocities as well. This is basically "Tang: The Uniform."

North Carolina

Blue on blue home uniform, 2013

I love North Carolina's baby blue but it looks best when paired with white, not black. As such, this uniform has always felt rather disappointing. Also, those Nike collars are straight trash.

NC State

Gray on gray "Iron Wolf" uniform, 2015

I've never been a huge fan of the gray-crazy trend that has swept college football over the past decade or so. I like it even less when you've got a great color scheme like NC State, and when the primary color in that scheme (red) is relegated to an accent in this crazy set.

Pittsburgh

Gold on gold home uniform, 2005

Why? Just why would you do this?

Syracuse

Gray on gray alternate uniform, 2014

I think the matte helmet is solid here, but those gray uniforms...woof. The sleeve design is just another fad as well. Had they thrown in some chrome, they would have hit fad bingo.

Virginia

White on white road uniform, 2011

Virginia v Miami
Getty Images

Holy hell, these are boring.

Virginia Tech

Borrowed Georgia Tech uniforms, 2007

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Technically speaking, these are most definitely the worst Virginia Tech uniforms of all-time. However, if we had to pick an official  uniform, it would probably be the gray unis from 2013.

Wake Forest

White on gold road uniform, 2008

Football - NCAA - Wake Forest vs. Miami
Icon Sports Wire

Boring helmet. Atrocious collar. Next!

Big Ten 

Illinois

Gray on gray alternate uniform, 2016

When you think of the Illini, you think of orange. You know what this set doesn't have? Orange. 

Indiana

Red on red home uniform, 2001

Indiana hasn't been afraid to get funky over the years, especially with their helmets. This 2001 set was probably seen as hip back in the day, but they haven't aged well. It reminds me of a generic Create-A-Team look that you'd see in Madden.

Iowa

Black on white throwback uniform, 2004

I wanted to avoid throwback uniforms altogether on this list, but Iowa has delivered pretty consistently with their uniforms over the years. Also, these are just so damn bland.

Maryland

White on white "Maryland Pride" uniform, 2012

Maryland v North Carolina
Getty Images

Maryland's love affair with its own state flag is rather obnoxious, but these unis take it to another level. It looks like the state flag puked all over them.

Michigan

Maize on maize alternate uniform, 2017

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Advocare Classic - Michigan v Florida
Icon Sportswire

I don't blame Michigan for trying, but these are painful to look at. 

Michigan State

White on white road uniform, 2002

Michigan  State  v Michigan
Getty Images

Honestly, what were they thinking with that sleeve/shoulder design? It makes these jerseys look like the puffy shirt from "Seinfeld."

Minnesota

Gold on gold alternate uniform, 2017

Middle Tennessee v Minnesota
Getty Images

Full gold is tough to pull off, even for the Golden Gophers. Speaking of gophers, that helmet design is just a bit horrifying. Also not a fan of the huge Nike collar and "Minnesota" on the nameplate. But even Minnesota's worst uniform seems great compared to these abominations

Nebraska

Red on red alternate uniform, 2014

Illinois v Nebraska
Getty Images

I don't really hate these uniforms, if we're being totally honest. Sure, the sleeve and pant stripes sort of look like they were made with duct tape, but overall they're pretty sleek and modern while also looking good. My biggest issue is that they don't really feel like they fit Nebraska, a school that has largely stuck to the traditional route when it comes to its uniforms.

Northwestern

Black on black alternate "Gothic" uniform, 2014

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Northwestern
USATSI

These uniforms definitely listen to Good Charlotte and hate their parents.

Ohio State

Red on gray alternate uniform, 2011

Ohio State Buckeyes Vs. Wisconsin Badgers 10-29-2011
Getty Images

Ohio State's traditional look is excellent, so they're really forced to bring it if they want to venture away from that. However, their batting average with alternate looks isn't great, but none are worse than this brutal throwback/Nike Pro Combat hybrid. The helmets stink, the jerseys stink, and the pants stink. That being said, this is a very close second:

Penn State

Blue on white alternate uniform, 2017

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Penn State Athletics

There's absolutely nothing wrong with this look, but it's the only other option that PSU has provided beyond their classic set.

Purdue

White on gold road uniform, 2004

Purdue Boilermakers v Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Getty Images

Is it awful? No. Is it boring? Yes. 

Rutgers

White on black road uniform, 2011

Rutgers v Louisville
Getty Images

If you're the Scarlet Knights, you should be putting a focus on red in every primary uniform you've got. If you want to run with black in a specialty look, fine. But having a traditional uniform set in which there's more black than red is dumb and wrong.

Wisconsin

Red on white throwback uniform, 2005

Again, I hate to put a throwback on the list, but Wisconsin has done well with their more recent uniforms. Also, not every throwback needs to get made -- especially when the helmets look like that.

Big 12

Baylor

Black on black alternate home uniform, 2012

Oklahoma State v Baylor
Getty Images

I don't even know what this look is trying to accomplish. The helmet doesn't really fit with the jersey and pants, that Nike shoulder flair looks weird and completely out of place, and the pants are doing too much. 

Iowa State

Red on red home uniform, 2002

Nebraska v Iowa State
Getty Images

This uniform is about as amateur hour as it gets. The helmet and old logo stink and the jersey is incredibly bland. I also spent about an hour trying to figure out why the Cyclones would have dog bones featured on the collar, only to be told they're actually the letter 'I'...for Iowa. In hindsight, that last part might be my own fault.

Kansas

Red on red "Crimson Chrome" alternate home uniform, 2014

NCAA Football: Texas at Kansas
USATSI

Foghorn Leghorn called and he wants his ridiculous helmets back.

Kansas State

White on gray road uniform, 2007

Kansas State v Texas
Getty Images

These also fall under the "not bad but boring" category. This is a generic uniform you'd see worn by an opponent that gets beat during the montage portion of a Hollywood football movie.

Oklahoma

Red on cream alternate uniform, 2015

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Oklahoma
USATSI

I love the Sooners' traditional look, and I feel like these "Bring The Wood" alternates had potential too. But the stupid Nike collar makes the jersey look like it has a built-in bib.

Oklahoma State

Black on black alternate uniform, 2014

The jersey is completely fine but that chrome Pistol Pete helmet is completely outrageous. This Pistol Pete helmet, however, should be worn all the time.

Texas

White on white road uniform, 2000

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Getty Images

Texas' uniforms have pretty much remained the same for the last few decades (not a bad thing at all) so let's just point a finger at the oldest version of the more boring jersey.

TCU

Gray on gray alternate home uniform, 2015

Kansas v TCU
Getty Images

Maybe you can tie this look together if you roll out a white helmet, but the chrome lid on top of this pajama set looks preposterous.

Texas Tech

Gray on gray alternate "Never Quit" uniforms, 2013

Kansas State  v Texas Tech
Getty Images

I appreciate the message behind these uniforms, which were inspired by "Lone Survivor" but let's face it ... they're ugly. The gray on gray, the shoulders, the back of the pants design, the "Never Quit" nameplates and, most of all, the helmets -- it's all just too much. 

West Virginia

Gray on gray alternate uniform, 2012

Maryland v West Virginia
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I like West Virginia's color scheme. I like it significantly less when it's drowned in gray...on gray...on gray. 

FBS Independents

Notre Dame

Navy on white "Pinstripe Game" uniform, 2018

Alright, so technically these haven't even been worn yet, and I don't typically like to judge uniforms until I actually see them on the field. But we can all agree that this is going to be Notre Dame's worst (and tackiest) look ever, right? OK, great. Moving on...

BYU

Navy on navy home uniform, 2001

gettyimages-608856.jpg
Getty Images

These aren't great, but I'm very upset these hideous monstrosities came just a year too early for me to include in this list.

Pac-12

Arizona

Navy on navy home uniform, 2006 

USC Trojans v Arizona Wildcats
Getty Images

These could have been made a lot less boring had they included a red and white helmet stripe, or even a white facemask. I also don't like the random red stripe that goes across the back of the jersey.

Arizona State

Black on black alternate uniform, 2013

Notre Dame v Arizona State
at Cowboys Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images

The jersey is fine (even with those Pikachu sleeves) but that flame-broiled helmet needs to go. Flame decals on the lid AND the sleeves? This is Guy Fieri's favorite uniform EVER. 

California

Navy on white home uniform, 2015

Arizona State v California
Getty Images

This uniform is SO close to being fine, but the collar is an absolute disaster. The Nike collars are always bad, but they become so much worse when you mix in two nonsensical vertical lines. In any case, the gold pants also round out this look better than the white ones.

Colorado

Gold on gray alternate uniform, 2009

Wyoming v Colorado
Getty Images

Absolutely not.

Oregon

Black on black Vegas Bowl home uniform, 2006

For better or for worse, Oregon is probably the most notorious program when it comes to football uniforms. It seems like they roll out a different uniform combo every week -- some of them winners, some of them not so much -- which makes it hard to pick just one. However, my least favorite might be this one from the 2006 Vegas Bowl. I don't like the black and green together, especially without any accents separating them. I think the shoulder design is stupid, especially the titanium graphic pattern, which also appears on the pants. But dumbest of all is the neon yellow flame helmet. How does any of this have anything to do with Ducks?

Oregon State

Orange on black home alternate uniform, 2007

Arizona Wildcats v Oregon State Beavers
Getty Images

Is it just me or does that jersey design make it look like they're all wearing sports bras? (Or "bros," for my "Seinfeld" folk.)

Stanford

Black on black alternate home uniform, 2012

Pac-12 Championship - UCLA v Stanford
Getty Images

Stanford's black uniforms are fine, but the version with the classic white helmet brings significantly more pop than these ones.

UCLA

Gray on gray home alternate uniform, 2014

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 01 Arizona at UCLA
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Introducing college football's tackiest velour jumpsuit ever!

USC

White on yellow alternate road uniform, 2016

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 03 Advocare Classic - USC v Alabama
Getty Images

USC is another one of those teams that rarely changes their look much, but this was a rather subtle change of pace. They threw in a maroon collar and a sleeve stripe but left everything else pretty much the same. Those things didn't really bring much to the table other than making the jersey look a little busier. 

Utah

White on red road uniform, 2007

Utah v Louisville
Getty Images

I never quite understood what was  going on with the design elements here, especially with that big white stripe at the top of the pants. It just looked so...weird. We can probably chalk this up as a classic case of "trying to be trendy but having no real clue about how to make it work."

Washington

Purple on purple alternate home uniform, 2017

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 Cal at Washington
Getty Images

Washington has typically done a good job of mixing up their purple/gold/black/white color scheme for some very palatable looks, but even Grimace thinks this is way too much purple. Also, those helmets just don't really fit the rest of the look.

Washington State

Gray on gray alternate uniform, 2011

Washington State has tried to make different gray (and anthracite) combos work over the years, with some being slightly more tolerable than others. This one is the only to go full gray, including helmet, and it is not a winner. 

SEC

Alabama

N/A

Alabama refuses to change their uniforms and, as a result, I refuse to pick either one of their traditional uniforms as worse than the other. They're both classics that deserve to be treated with respect.

Arkansas

Red on red home uniform, 2009

South Carolina v Arkansas
Getty Images

This design is a bit of a mess from top to bottom, plus the red on white pops a bit more than the red on red. Overall, it's not a total abomination, but it is quite perplexing.

Auburn

White on white road uniform, 2003

Auburn v Georgia Tech
Getty Images

Auburn has been pretty good with keeping their uniforms classic and clean. The white iteration is a little worse than the classic navy one, so let's go with the early 2000s Russell Athletic version. 

Florida

Green on green Gator home uniform, 2017

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 14 Texas A&M at Florida
Getty Images

It was only a year ago, but let us never forget the time that Florida thought it would be a good idea to dress up as actual gators. When you have a beautiful color scheme and classic logo, it only makes sense to turn yourself into a horrifying reptile. 

Let us also never forget this god awful sleeve gimmick from Nike in 2005. 

Georgia

Red on red alternate home uniform, 2011

This isn't really an awful look, but it's such a departure from Georgia's typical, traditional route. I'm not a fan of the helmets (the silver base or massive red stripe) or the Nike collar, but the rest of it is okay. It just doesn't feel like Georgia, though.

Kentucky

Gray on gray alternate uniform, 2014

NCAA Football: Georgia at Kentucky
USATSI

These jerseys look fine when they're paired with blue pants, but the gray on gray is just so off-putting.

LSU

White on white alternate road uniform, 2011

This all-white version of LSU's classics would be completely fine if it weren't for the awkward Nike neckline and the equally awkward slab of purple underneath the arms. 

Ole Miss

Gray on gray alternate road uniform, 2010

More like Ole Miss(ed the mark on designing these uggo sweatsuits), am I right?

Mississippi State

Black on black alternate home uniform, 2010

Louisiana State University Tigers Football
Getty Images

Maroon and black are tough to mix when there's not a lot of white involved to help them pop. These unis are just too dark for their own good.

Missouri

Anthracite on gold alternate home uniform, 2013

I have no idea why the stomach section of these uniforms is a darker shade of gray/anthracite than the rest of the torso, but I do know that it looks stupid as hell. Also, gray on top of those mustard pants is just not a good look.

South Carolina

Black on black alternate home uniform, 2015 

NCAA Football: Florida at South Carolina
USATSI

I have no problem at all with the jerseys or pants here. I actually think they're quite nice. However, those helmets look like they were airbrushed by a sketchy beach boardwalk artist for $10. 

Tennessee

Gray on gray alternate home uniform, 2017

Georgia v Tennessee
Getty Images

I'm personally of the belief that Tennessee should stick to orange as their primary color most of the time. With that being said, I don't think their black unis are terrible, nor do I completely despise a gray uni paired with their usual white helmet. However, I hate the gray helmet used here, and the jersey design stinks as well.   

Texas A&M

Black on black home alternate uniform, 2015

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Texas A&M
USATSI

Blackout jerseys are fine if they're done right. But stand more than 10 feet away from this Texas A&M set and there's a good chance you'll have no idea what team it is due to the logos and wordmarks being so damn dark. That's not ideal.

Vanderbilt

Gold on black alternate home uniform, 2012

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - North Carolina State v Vanderbilt
Getty Images

Vanderbilt has effectively done gold uniforms in the past, but I can't get past the shoulder design on these ones. It's just very awkward and very annoying. 

Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so there's a good chance you don't like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often... Full Bio

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