With the college football season starting in earnest Saturday, it's time for a look at who's up, who's down, what's hot and who's not.
No, this isn't about the Top 25 or the early Heisman Trophy hype, and don't even start with the BCS nonsense yet. Fashion Week is about to get under way in New York, so why not a gridiron critique?
While the Fab Five gave us long, baggy shorts, college football players aren't typically fashion trendsetters. Too many teams are stuck on that white jersey-white pants combination, and spandex and shoulder pads haven't been in since the '80s. Grass stains and mud aren't on anyone's list of accessories, and only Jesper Parnevik could love the combinations Oregon has been trying.
That doesn't mean style isn't important, though. Between the thousands of fans at the game and the millions more watching on TV, a whole lot of people are going to be giving these guys the once-over.
So let's examine the good, the bad and the really ugly in college football fashion. GOOD
1. Michigan -- Maize and blue and winged helmets. Enough said. 2. Florida State -- While other schools experiment with shading and accent panels, the Seminoles leave well enough alone. As they should. Garnet and gold looks great on its own, in any combination. Plus, they have the best helmet in the game. 3. Harvard -- The black-and-white stripe down the center of the helmet is nice, but nothing beats the school motto on the shoulders -- in Latin. The Crimson can run over and educate you at the same time.
4. Texas -- This is the only way to wear orange. 5. Louisiana-Lafayette -- Simple in either red or white, with "LOUISIANA" in plain block letters on the front, but they work. There's no need to be flashy when your helmet says "Ragin' Cajuns." 6. Notre Dame (blue or white jerseys) -- Love the Irish or hate them, you can't deny their uniforms are classics. And nothing says college football like those gold helmets.
7. LSU -- One of the few times yellow and purple look good together. The Lakers get the other pass. 8. UCLA -- Powder blue and gold is a tough combo to pull off, but the Bruins do it with style.
9. Ohio State -- Impressive enough on their own, the scarlet-and-grey uniforms look even better with Buckeye stickers on the helmets.
10. Penn State -- Sure they're boring. They're also old-school cool.
Honorable mentions: Auburn, Colorado, Fresno State, Mississippi, North Texas, Southern California, Virginia. BAD
1. Oregon State -- Every day is Halloween in Corvallis!
2. Notre Dame (green jerseys) -- These were great the first few times they made a special appearance. Now they're getting hokey. They're also not working.
3. Tulsa -- Royal blue doesn't look good in a jersey, and it's even worse on a helmet.
4. Mount Union -- Good thing the Purple Raiders have won eight Division III titles in 13 years or people would really make fun of their grapelike duds.
5. North Carolina -- Basketball uniforms look great in Carolina blue. Football uniforms, not so much.
6. Baylor -- The all-green uniforms look like something out of the Jolly Green Giant's closet. Pick one helmet or another, too.
7. Wyoming -- What can brown do for you? In this case, nothing.
8. Maryland -- Ralph Friedgen's gameday outfits look better. And put the turtle on the helmet.
9. Missouri -- With no numbers on the sleeves or shoulders, it looks as if the Tigers got hold of their jerseys before the designers finished them.
10. (tie) Nebraska and Mississippi State -- There's old-school and there's boring. These are boring. REALLY UGLY
1. Oregon -- Oh, where to begin. That neon yellow that made you run to adjust the color on the TV is no longer the Ducks' worst fashion faux pas. After yet another redesign -- this is No. 4 since the 1996 Cotton Bowl -- Oregon now looks ready for the XFL. The numbers look like something in a fun-house mirror, and the diamond-print reinforcements on the knees and shoulders make it seem as if moths got into the locker room.
Can we settle on one home and one road uniform, too? White with green, all green, green and black, yellow and green -- make up your mind!
2. TCU -- Purple is never a good color choice, and the mascot is ugly. But putting those triangles on the trim around the neck and sleeves took it to a whole new level of bad. Please remember the players will have to show these pictures to their kids someday.
3. Tennessee -- This shade of orange is acceptable only for creamsicles and selected Halloween decorations. (This goes for you, too, Syracuse.)
4. Boise State -- Bright blue jerseys to match the bright blue field. This isn't paintball -- there's no reason to blend in.
5. Virginia Tech -- Even Crayola wouldn't put orange and maroon together.<