Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 NWC Home Uniform Rankings

It’s been almost two years to the day that the ADvantage ranked the NWC home uniforms but over the past two years the NWC has changed in both their members and some teams have revamped their look.

Has the addition of Pacific, a Whitworth overhaul, and UPS and L&C helmet change caused a major shake-up in the NWC uniform rankings? Read on and see where Wildcat11 feels who is looking the best and worst when the NWC hits their home turf.

1. Linfield

The ‘Cats classic and clean looks continues to rule the NWC. I know…I’m a Linfield honk so you are probably shaking your head that I would put Linfield up top but seriously the ‘Cats home look is flat out fantastic. From the large and visible LINFIELD “college styled” font above the numbers and having the jersey and pants void of any of those bendy and pointy panel inserts you see so many teams have in their gear (which already looks outdated), the Linfield uniform continues to look sharp year after year. Linfield added a very slight but nice additional touch this past season by adding the NCAA patch on the home purples (the only team in the NWC that features the NCAA patch). But what I think makes the uniforms unique and tight at the same time is the red wildcat logo to add a splash of a 3rd color. You when see the uniforms you have no question who is playing.

Some might say the home uniform isn’t flashy but that is something I appreciate. You see the influence of the University of Oregon and the “Nikeization” of major college football uniforms with their “Pro Combat” lines and teams dropping tradition at each corner in an effort to keep up with the Jones. While change is good, changing just for the sake of change is foolish. Linfield’s look is almost a throwback to what’s out there now but the today’s players are able to add current football fashions on their person (arm bands, sleeves, visors, etc) to add a modern look while still staying steeped in a classic look. It works so why would you try to go and fix it?

Sidenotes: This look is one of four that Linfield breaks out. When on the road the ‘Cats will play with the All-Whites (which is an awesome look and many fans of the ‘Cats like the best) when playing on turf fields to playing with the white tops/purple pants on the road that have grass fields (Solid but falls way short of the home set and all-whites). The last look Linfield breaks out is the terrible, horrible, nightmarish All-Purples. Still hate it and always hate when Linfield breaks out the All-Purps.

2 Pacific Lutheran

Like Linfield, PLU has a 1st rate home uniform set and it’s a look they’ve had for a period of time with only some minor tweaking along the way. The PLU uniform has nice little touches such as having the cursive “Lutes” logo above their number instead of the tiny block lettering that you’ll see with many football uniforms today. (Not a huge fan of the school’s name in micro font above the numbers because it’s hard to see and most times the font style doesn’t even match the font that school uses.) In PLU’s case, this works because it’s their actual logo and like that it has a gold border. Also like the EMAL bumper above the facemask (Linfield has used a CATS bumper for years now) and PLU ties their Every Man A Lute mantra by having EMAL on their back nameplate instead of players names, so every really every Lute player is…..a Lute. Overall, it’s a great home uniform set that standouts from the crowd.

Sidenote: I believe that PLU only has 2 uniform combos that they use. If I’m wrong let me know but I think they just swap the black base/white numbers at home for white base/black numbers for the road. It’s a sharp look and I can understand why PLU doesn’t get crazy with going for a white top/white pants look

3. Willamette

For a long time the Bearcats have gone with all-reds at home and like most monochrome uniforms I wasn’t wild about but Willamette had nice touches like the embroidered numbers. Then in 2009, the Bearcats tried to get out of the Monochrome game by starting their season with white pants with a gold half pants stripe. The white pants didn’t work and Willamette had the good sense to recognize that as they went back to their all-reds the remainder of the season. But in 2010 the Bearcats rolled out a gold pants and I would say it’s an upgrade over the white pants and good news they are getting out of primarily being a monochrome team at home. I like the small red piping on the side of the pants but I’m not too sure about the little red patch at the bottom of the leg. It’s a little silly but I guess it’s better than the lame swooshy pointed stripping of years past.

Willamette’s tops are nice. Like the gold cuff on the sleeves, like the large font over the numbers, did the white stroke on the numbers and lettering, but the main issue I have is how the gold collar accent doesn’t come all the way around but instead juts out as smaller piping towards the players armpits. Maybe I’m wrong but I think it would look better if entire collar was gold. Overall, the gold pants are MUCH better and is a good look.

4. Whitworth

The best way I could sum up Whitworth’s uniform upgrade from this to the picture above is: “boring but not bad”. The Rats kept the boring monochrome black set but they changed the big block “WHITWORTH” to the micro font that I do dislike. They also when from white numbers with a scarlet stroke to scarlet numbers with a white stroke. The numbers themselves look fine but I have a beef with the placement of the numbers on the sleeves. Since they went to the microfont and have the numbers on the sleeves there are these big boring space from the numbers up. I think if they had the side numbers on top of the shoulder pads it would draw your eyes into the blank nothingness of the jersery.

My biggest complaint about the Rats uniforms are their helmets. Blah. The university spent a lot of time and money in updating their old Buccaneers logo and they came up with this flying pirate flag. It’s OK and I don’t have a problem with it but the dark red just blends into the black of the helmet and the effect is just a boring lid. I think it would be a huge improvement for the Rats if they just put a white stroke/outline on the boarder of the flag. It would pop out more and match the white stroke of their jersey numbers. Overall, it’s a middle of the road look and is perfect for the middle of our ranking

5. Lewis & Clark

In 2009, L&C found themselves coming in last of the home uniform rankings but while they haven’t changed their boring black monochrome uniform they did get rid of those hideous orange helmets that made the Pios look like a group of floating pumpkins where taking the home turf on the hill. Instead they replaced the orange with black and it’s an improvement. Again we have the tiny “PIONEERS” font above the jersey and pure orange double stripes and numbering. There is just something missing with this uniform that can’t get it past the boring Rats home gear. The double orange stripe is fine but I think they could drop white in the middle to break it up. L&C has changed their uniforms so many times over the years it’s great to see them settle on one look but I’m just not feeling this look.

Sidenote: I do really like the Pios road uniforms. The white tops are fine but what makes that road uniform go is the black and orange stripes on the shoulders. That looks sharp.

6. Pacific

The Boxers are back and you’ll never forget that after attending one of their home games and seeing these nightmare fuel all-red uniforms. Ugh. They pretty much have the same jersey top as Whitworth with the tiny PACIFIC font, numbering that has a black stroke, black collar, with the numbers and black cuffs on the side. They should have gone with their block P logo or their unique dragon logo above the front numbers. Either of those would have been better than the micro font spelling. However, the all-red look is the biggest offender. It’s just bad, bad, bad. I’d wager some good money that little kids probably thought the Kool Aid man and his family was playing O-Line for the Boxers during home games.

The other thing that I don’t know what to make is the Boxer’s pants stripe. They have what looks to be a classic NFL style strip on their pants but all of the sudden it stops right below the hip pad. I have no idea who thought that would look cool but it looks like they ran out of material and just said “screw it, looks good enough”.

However, the saving grace is for as bad as the Boxers all-red uniform is at home is that their Boxers all-whites road uniforms look freaking great. In fact, they should adopt their All-Whites as both their home and road uniforms and dump the All-Reds. It looks clean and doesn’t hurt your eyes…now only if they could get someone to finish the strips on their pants.

7. Puget Sound

The Loggers hired a new coach before 2010 and with a new coach came a shake up in the Loggers uniforms. Out with their traditional maroon lids with a white stripe and those were replaced with an all-white helmet with a “PS” logo on each side. Pretty much biting on Linfield’s style and that gains you zero points in this ranking. So fine, they went with an all-white lid with a new logo…it looks fine (for a carbon copy of the best program in the conference) but let’s be honest…those jerseys stink and are easily the worst in the conference. The font is a funky in-between the micro font of an L&C/Pacific/Whitworth and the larger font of Linfield/Willamette but the biggest offense is the use of those horribly out of style pointy stripes that have infected football uniforms since the late 1990’s early 2000’s (Thank you Denver Broncos). I might be nit-picking here but is UPS really using Adidas pants with Russell Athletic jerseys?

I just have a hard time getting over the total lack of creativity when you had the chance to do something new when it came to the all-white lids. That would be like Linfield adopting a “flying L” as their new helmet logo or Whitworth sticking EMAR on the back of their jersey. Bottom line, the Loggers uniforms come across as 2nd rate wannabes and at least L&C and Pacific are trying to make their own mark with their look so they get to avoid the basement in this year’s rankings.


doc said...

Hallelujah! No one has tried to weave any Black and Purple into The Streak.
I do not recognize the NCAA Champion Women softball players at first sometimes.
Black is beautiful, but has no place in the LINFIELD scheme.
I totally agree with your opinions on 'CAT gear.

d1shima said...

Kool Aid Man was funny but nailing three schools in one phrase is literary genius...EMAR had me rolling!

Downtown48 said...

Russell and the words of Neil Maddox, you can't be cross dressin' dogg!

criswyly said...

My ranking:
1. Linfield
2. PLU
3. Whillamette
4. Whitworth
5. Puget Sound
6. Lewis & Clark
7. Pacific

With any Wildcat uniform...."you always know who you are playing..."

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this piece. gave me a good chuckle. Just a inside beat from the inner workings of the cat dome. No offense to any of the alumni (i have recently been inducted in to the club my self) but it has long been the desire of the more recent cats (over the last 5 or 6 years) to add an additional alternate uniform to "spice it up." I know all the traditionalists must be appalled by this thought but im just relaying the sentiments of some of the more recent cats. Perhaps a black or red jersey? I know black is quite played out with mt. union, White water and St. Thomas all having a black alternate but most of the new generation cats think it would look pretty sweet. I know this is probably never going to happen but its just some food for thought.

BTW: I do enjoy our classic look. Please don't think i am knocking it in any way.

criswyly said...

You can't mess with the white helmet and Cat's vintage Linfield all the is the LINFIELD on the front of the jersey.

I don't think black anything would mix well with a white helmet and purple. You can do only two colors at one time....not three. IMHO.

Maybe Wildcat11 can breakout his photoshop and design a few models for us with different colors, etc....just to pass the time away until it's time to tee it up.

criswyly said...

I'm good with the girls softball team in longs as they keep winning national championships:)

Wildcat 11 said...

Anonymous 'Cat,

No worries my man. I can understand the younger 'Cats and current players wanting to throw a change up and that's why we get those hideous all-purples once a year. I wouldn't mind at all if the extra funds came along where the program could punch out an alternative home jersey.

My only thing is that I feel that a school should stick to their school colors in their primary scheme. I know the Ducks have taken long standing college uniform tradition and blown it out of the water but as you know I'm a traditionalist when it comes to this type of stuff. A red jersey might look good with purple/white sleeve stripes.

Linfield football wearing black...I'll pass.

criswyly said...

No way on black....Wildcats lead...they don't follow....

DucketsMalone7 said...

Keep the uniforms as is and I love the all purples!

Wildcat 11 said...


You would love that all-purples but it made a number of our "big body" guys look like Grimace come to life. I'll fight you to the death on this one! Go 'Cats!

Anonymous said...

Willamette Is better then PLU, and their stitched lettering is MUCH better then the printed Linfield lettering especially on the jerseys that are faded and well used. This is coming from a Linfield poster, I'm jealous

Wildcat 11 said...

Anonymous 'Cat,

I'll have to disagree about the Willamette look being better than PLU's. I don't even think it's close but it's just my opinion.

I will agree the embroidered numbers are very nice and Linfield does have some jerseys that have seen better days and should be replaced. Thanks for posting!

BT_Northwest said...

I don’t commit myself to endorsing your reasoning, but I have no problem with ranking UPS’s uniforms at the bottom of the NWC heap. That may seem strange coming from an old Logger — I played for UPS in the late ’70s and early ’80s, during the era when the Loggers were an NCAA Div. II power — but I hate the maroon and white colors.

In my years, the Logger colors were green and gold — the Green Bay Packer shades, and our uniforms were modeled on those of the Packers. While Puget Sound’s colors had (since the early 20th century) originally been maroon and white, the college’s students had voted in the mid-’60s to adopt new colors. Those of us who played in green and gold loved those colors.

But in 1998, the board of trustees, pushed by the UPS administration, dumped green and gold, and mandated that teams return to wearing maroon and white, notwithstanding furious objections from then-current student athletes, and alumni. A number of rationales were offered, especially concerning the history of the adoption of green and gold — rationales that well-informed assessment showed were blatantly bogus. Indeed, considered simply on their own terms, many of the arguments advanced in favor of changing the colors were simply ludicrous, as a matter of internal logic (to be precise, the lack thereof). None of that mattered; the administration simply forced the change through.

Indeed, when the administration announced it was “considering” changing the colors, it made a show of asking for input from students and alumni. But those of us who contacted the school to argue that green and gold should be kept, soon learned that the administration had utterly no interest in a genuine dialog; they expected us to swallow their rationalizations without objection, nod in acquiescence, accept a pat on the head, and just keep on donating money to alma mater. A trustee who called me, expecting just such a one-sided conversation, got very huffy when I responded with pointed rebuttals of her talking points.

I have long been unsure why the administration really thought it so important to go to the bother of dumping green and gold, since the publicly-announced reasons were obviously absurd. It does not seem there was anything like, say, some rich alumnus, who had graduated before the adoption of green and gold, pushing the return to maroon and white. The most persuasive explanation I have ever heard came from a couple alumni who still live in the area, and have long had their ears to the ground with respect to UPS politics. They told me, recently, that the president of UPS at the time, who had been hired in 1993, five years before the color change, decided that green and gold weren’t “dignified” enough. She had never played sports for UPS, and was not even an alumna of the school; the presumptuousness, the arrogance, of her disregard for our traditions, of her contempt for our sentiments, is still jaw-dropping.

Be that as it may, in the mid-’90s her administration had started laying the ground to push the dumping of green and gold. They took measures to undermine students’ identification with green and gold, and pushed flat-out lies about the adoption of green and gold three decades’ earlier. They got gullible freshmen to swallow their BS, and write opinion pieces and articles in the student paper that further compromised popular commitment to green and gold. It was a despicable campaign, but it worked.

I remain bitter and angry over how the administration and trustees spat in our faces, and spat in the faces of our old coaches, who tried to persuade them not to go forward with this. I support today’s Logger players and coaches, but I have repeatedly told those who call from the University that I will never again donate money to the school. The betrayal of trust was deeply foul, and I will not forget it. I hate the maroon and white uniforms, and it is profoundly satisfying to find them at the bottom of your rankings.