As the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler, the feel and smell of fall are in the air – burning firewood, pumpkin spice, and the aroma of grilling out on a sunny, Saturday morning while tailgating with friends and family.
This past college football season had all the drama, pageantry, and hoopla you could want, with powerhouse stalwarts and precocious underdogs all vying for a coveted spot in the college football playoff.
Many did it in style, too. Over the past ten-plus years, the trend in college football uniforms has been toward the bold and flashy, with teams like Oregon becoming notorious for outrageous design and color schemes, sometimes leading fans to wonder what the school’s actual colors are.
However, 2017 saw a swing back to simple, classic-style jerseys. Teams like Michigan, Alabama, and Oklahoma have remained relatively true to tradition, with the occasional “alternate” jersey thrown in for a special occasion.
Other teams, like the aforementioned Oregon Ducks, have experimented with different jersey styles, colors, logos, logo placements, and uniform details, like claws and talons adorning jersey sleeves. Those same teams often have “alternate-alternate” jerseys, sometimes more than a fan can keep up with.
So why are we starting to see a trend back to simple, classic-looking jersey designs?
It may just have become all too much – and too confusing – for fans of college football. When you add too many design elements to a relatively small space like a jersey – remember, most jerseys have a number on the front and back, as well players’ names – the elements can be difficult to see, especially from far away on TV or high up in the stands at a game.
If you can’t identify the design elements, or a school by its jersey, then what’s the point of having those elements?
This goes hand-in-hand with another reason simple is the new trend. Although college football jersey sales do not account for as high of a percentage of the college apparel business as professional teams, they are nonetheless a big money-maker.
If schools oversaturate the market with alternate jerseys, or change jerseys every season, it can lead to confusion and apathy on the part of the consumer, perhaps causing them to avoid buying a jersey altogether instead of trying to decide what one they want, or waiting season after season until they find one they like best. Designing and marketing a classic jersey can certainly boost sales and revenue for the school.
So what will the trends be in 2018? The smart bet is on a continuation of the simple-design trend with classic colors and a classic look, but we’ll just have to wait to see until August when most schools release their upcoming season’s jerseys. Until then, we can enjoy speculating!