The Huskers are getting new threads.
Yesterday, Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne announced that the football team will wear alternate uniforms at one home game in the upcoming 2012 season.
The move comes at a time when the college football landscape is changing dramatically. It’s no longer enough to have a good school tradition and strong facilities.
A powerhouse needs to have extra perks.
For schools like Alabama, who is consistently in the top 10 in recruiting rankings, it’s a big name head coach, a rabid fan base and a history of putting players in the NFL. But that plan can’t work for every school.
Schools with less-than-stellar legacies, like Oregon, have to stand out. There’s no better way to stand out than with flashy uniforms.
Oregon is the most extreme example of a school with radical uniforms, but it’s beginning to happen nationwide in college football. Programs like Arizona State, TCU, Oklahoma State and dozens of other schools are adding alternate uniforms to their repertoire.
The result is a boost in national exposure and recruiting. In the last three years, Oregon has vaulted to national relevance, producing top 25 recruiting classes each of the past three seasons.
Even schools like Maryland, whose alternate uniforms resulted in a massive volume of criticism, are still generating headlines, which draws eyes to the program.
Nebraska falls somewhere in between Alabama and Oregon. The Huskers just moved to the Big Ten last season, and as the rest of the college football landscape begins to change, programs are changing with it.
Osborne said that the Huskers will continue to be the traditional team they have always been and won’t be changing Nebraska’s iconic cream helmets with a scarlet N with Nebraska’s new uniforms. However, the fact that Nebraska will be experimenting with alternate uniforms is a sign of change, as coaches and school officials have dismissed the desire to try new uniforms as recently as January.
No comment has been made in regards to whether the use of an alternate jersey will be a permanent fixture for the Huskers, but one thing is clear at this point: people are talking about it.
By Chris Peters
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