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College Football’s 10 Worst Alternate Uniforms of 2016


Not too long ago, we looked at the best alternate uniforms of this college football season, so you knew it was only a matter of time until we listed the worst alternates of the fall. That time has come.

So without further ado, check out this season’s 10 alternate unis we wish had never seen the light of day.

— Written by Jim Weber, a veteran college sports journalist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. Weber has written for CBS Sports Network,, ESPN the Magazine and the college sports website he founded and sold, Follow him on Twitter at @JimMWeber.

10. Toledo Gradient Helmets

Toledo is usually one of the better-dressed Group of Five teams so we were disappointed when the Rockets introduced these gradient helmets that fade from gold to blame. We blame the Jacksonville Jaguars for this abhorrent trend.

9. USF “SoFlo” Uniforms

Where do you even begin with USF’s “SoFlo” uniforms? After the Bulls introduced the gradient look on the hardwood, they carried it over to the gridiron — and made fans go cross-eyed in the process. There’s just way too much going on here with the gradient scheme on the shoulders, pants and helmet stripe.

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8. Ball State Red Helmets

Ball State’s red alternate helmets are a monochromatic blur featuring a red bird on a red lid. As if that isn’t bad enough, the helmet is asymmetrical with the school logo on one side and the words “BALL STATE” on the other in a font so cheap it looks like it was designed in Microsoft Paint.

7. Eastern Michigan Throwback Uniforms

You can never go wrong with throwback uniforms — unless you are Eastern Michigan. The Eagles broke out random throwbacks from the 2000-01 season that look almost exactly like the New York Jets. How original.

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(Photo courtesy of Eastern Michigan University Athletics,

6. UTSA “Black Bird” Uniforms

We’ll give UTSA a pass for its ugly standard uniforms because the program was started in 2011. But we can’t look the other way when it comes to these “Black Bird” uniforms the Roadrunners trotted out for Halloween. The blackout unis just don’t work for UTSA and the all-orange bird logo is the final scene of this horror show.

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5. UCLA Military-Themed Uniforms

While we respect UCLA honoring the military with this uniform, the way the Bruins did it was highly questionable. Let’s start with the red-and-white stripes across the facemask and logo that makes it almost impossible to read “UCLA.” Then there’s the fact that UCLA’s school colors are powder blue and gold, not this random Navy Blue that looks almost purple.

4. Idaho All-Silver Uniforms

Idaho’s whole uniform reboot this past offseason was an unmitigated disaster and the nadir of the Vandals’ combinations is this all-silver-everything mess. Just look at how miserable the player modeling this uni is. Coaches like to say, “Look good, feel good, play good.” Well this is “Look bad, feel bad, play bad.”

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3. Eastern Michigan Matte Gray Helmets

Eastern Michigan makes its second appearance on this list with a matte gray helmet featuring a steel plate, block “E.” We get that Eastern Michigan’s going for the whole “blue collar” mentality with gray uniforms and a field called “The Factory” but can’t EMU have just a little fashion sense in the process? Apparently not.

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(Photo courtesy of

2. Oregon State “Men of Roses” Gray Helmet

Enough with the gratuitous gray already, people! Oregon State’s homage to the 1942 Rose Bowl team combines two things we hate: the school’s wretched “BeaverShark” logo and Gray for Gray’s Sake (kudos to Uni Watch’s Phil Hecken for the phrase). The only thing that stops us from thinking we’ve gone color blind are the beaver’s cold, dead, orange eyes.

1. Virginia Tech “Battle at Bristol” Uniforms

The Hokies have had some dreadful “Hokie Stone” alternate helmets the last couple years but nothing could have prepared us for the “Battle at Bristol” unis in September. Virginia Tech looked like concrete slabs vs. Tennessee and played that way while giving up 31 unanswered points in the 45-24 loss.