On Wednesday Nike officially pulled back the curtain on their latest line of Pro Combat football uniforms and they did so in grand style. Michael Irvin came out to describe the Miami uniform and Eric Rhett did his part to talk about the Florida uniform. One of the members of Ohio State’s first championship team in 1942, Charles Csuri, introduced Ohio State’s Pro Combat uniform, which pays homage not only to the 1942 Buckeyes but Csuri as well.
Few uniforms impressed like TCU’s, which was one of the best uniforms unveiled by Nike based on conversations I had with some members of the media in attendance for the event. TCU equipment manager Matt Lewis helped design the uniforms and mentioned to me that this year’s scale-like pattern on the helmet was the idea the Horned Frogs wanted to go with last year but it had just been thought of too late in the process. So this year TCU will feature the scale-like pattern on the helmet and uniform.
Florida took a similar approach with their uniform, employing an alligator-skin look to their own helmets and parts of the uniform. Some schools opted to pay tribute to their roots but no school pulled it off quite like Alabama. The program that is paired with the traditional look of the hound’s-tooth hat worn by Paul “Bear” Bryant will fill in part of their own helmets and their uniform numbers and stripes with the hound’s-tooth pattern. The helmet will look the same on television to the common fans but the stripe on top of the helmet will be filled with the pattern, which also fills the numbers on the uniform.
West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins was on hand to introduce the Mountaineers’ Pro Combat line. This year’s Pro Combat uniform for West Virginia will honor the coal mining roots of the region with a uniform that features more black than is customary for West Virginia. The back of the helmet will display a decal to honor the 29 lives lost in a coal mining tragedy late in the football season in 2009.
West Virginia’s rivals from Pittsburgh also highlight the main industry of the region, with an emphasis on the steel industry. Pitt’s lettering and numbering is designed to resemble steel beams and the color of the uniform employs a smoky feel throughout. Both West Virginia and Pittsburgh will wear their respective uniforms for this year’s edition of the Backyard Brawl.
College football fans will not have to wait that long to see some of these uniforms in action though. Monday night’s game between Boise State and Virginia Tech will see both teams wear their Pro Combat uniforms.
Florida will wear their uniforms on October 30 when they play Georgia. Alabama will wear their uniforms against Mississippi State on November 13. Miami will wear their uniforms on November 20 against Virginia Tech. Ohio State and Oregon State will each wear their respective season in their season finales against Michigan and Oregon, respectively.