While it’s hard to draw many conclusions from beating up inferior talent, the Miami Hurricanes looked pretty good in their season opener. Jacory Harris basically had a perfect throw, the defense didn’t let Florida A&M anywhere near the end zone and it seems like we have more talented running backs than we know what to do with. Any way you cut it, last week they looked good.
That is, unless you saw what was unveiled a day earlier. As part of Nike’s “Pro Combat” series, Miami revealed their new alternate uniforms that will be worn for our game against Virginia Tech. Yes, the same Virginia Tech that played Boise State last Monday, where both teams donned their versions of the Nike drawing-board disasters. The only thing salvageable from that debacle of design was VaTech’s flat-black helmets, which did manage to look good despite the idiotic pseudo-circuitry on the helmet stripe.
But back to our unis. For those who haven’t seen them, the most noticeable changes from our normal home jerseys are a green helmet, orange pants with a “U” printed on the left knee and green shoulder panels for each arm. Throw the orange tops into the mix and we’ve transformed our team into giant carrots. Imagine defensive end Allen Bailey striking fear in the hearts of quarterbacks, not as a modern marvel of genetics and hard work, but as a 6-foot-4-inch, 285-pound carrot. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
I’m all for pushing the envelope on uniform design. If everyone wore the same template as Alabama or Penn State but with different color schemes, it would get pretty monotonous; this is where Miami has routinely excelled. But while always innovating, our uniforms never became tacky or ill-conceived, which is how I’d have to describe this current incarnation of the “U”.
The concept behind ‘Pro Combat’ seems to be that of what led Ed Hardy into the mainstream for a short and shameful time: By being as obnoxiously bright, shiny and complicated as possible, the audience shies away from making any criticisms in order to not seem overly conservative. So instead of someone saying ‘Hey, you look like a dumb, shiny carrot,’ we all stay quiet and treat the uniforms with the same kid-gloves we use to judge modern art.
To draw a parallel from the car world, maybe these uni’s are just Nike’s versions of a concept car. We’ll undoubtedly be seeing aspects of these designs in the future, but it’s pretty shocking for them to be put in production so quickly. Like the DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” these jerseys should have stayed as a work of fiction.
Let this year be a warning to all those who think that more and newer are always better. By trying to guess the next trend, Nike has out-thought themselves into creating 10 different uniforms that all routinely suck, and now we’re all stuck watching a crucial game with players dressed as produce.
Did I mention they look like carrots?
Austen Gregerson is a junior majoring in print journalism and political science. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.