The Maryland Terrapins debuted the first of what will likely be many new uniforms on Monday night: Two-Face-style unis inspired by the bipolar Maryland state flag.
It’s hard to tell which side of the uniform is Harvey Dent and which is his evil half; each is criminally ugly.
Hideous though they may be, Maryland’s new uniforms could be a big first step down a lightly trodden path to national relevance. In a story last week at Grantland.com, Michael Kruse described how an emerging program built itself on a long line of fashion faux-pas:
Oregon clearly is the beneficiary of its unique relationship with Nike boss Phil Knight, a 1959 alum who has used his fortune to give the Ducks every potential material advantage. But the most consistently conspicuous portion of Knight’s lavish contributions are the team’s much-discussed uniforms — the yellows and the greens, the blacks and the grays, the highlighter neons and the stormtrooper whites, the many different helmets and jerseys and pants and socks and shoes, the more than 500 possible combinations in all.
The football Ducks of Oregon are something new. They didn’t get people to watch because they got good. They got good because they got people to watch. They are college sports’ undisputed champions of the 21st century’s attention economy.
Now comes Maryland, the first true challenger to Oregon’s primacy in the “attention economy.” UnderArmor, based in Baltimore and founded by former Maryland football player Kevin Plank, has outfitted the Terps for several years. This season, however, is the first for which UnderArmor has rolled out an Oregon-style menu of designs.
It’s not clear how many possible outfits Maryland can build. At a fashion show debuting the new looks, 16 players wore 16 different uniforms. Some feature a bizarre white helmet with gray squiggles, designed to look like a tortoise shell.
As Kruse notes, several other schools are adopting Oregon’s look: West Virginia, Boise State, Arizona State and fellow ACC teams Virginia Tech and Miami, among others.
But Maryland is the first to go beyond borrowing the Oregon aesthetic. The Terps are stealing the Ducks’ DNA by tapping a sportswear company helmed by an alum to create buzz with its garish uniform designs.
Will Maryland be able to replicate the Ducks’ results? Or will the on-field outcome be as unsightly as the uniforms themselves?