North Carolina will have a new set of uniforms for the 2013 season
It's 2013 and uniforms are an extremely important part of college football and if you don't believe that, you're behind. These aren't the days of your parents and grandparents where looks didn't matter as long as you got your hands dirty and got the job done! It's a new age, and if you're a university is not consistently in BCS bowl games or contending for conference championships every year, you better do something about those old boring 1980's uniforms you have on. Universities shouldn't try to appeal to the older alumni that were a part of the '78 graduating class, because those people aren't going to be on the field making plays. The uniforms need to appeal to kids. They need to appeal to 16, 17, and 18 year old, extraordinary athletic, kids. When a school makes a kid look good on and off the field they have an edge over the school that can't. How much of an edge is it really? Here is my list of what is important to a college football recruit when looking for a university to attend and where uniforms stand:
1. Style of play: The best wide receiver in the country isn't going to a school that runs the ball the majority of the time. An athletic running quarterback who thrives in the read option isn't going to a school that lines him up behind center the whole game. The 5 star running back isn't heading over to Hawaii to watch the ball fly around the field 65 times a game while he gets his 3 or 4 screen passes. Ok, so that's common sense.
2. Chance to start: A player needs to know that he has a chance to play or start right away. A kid may suck it up the first year in order to go to the better school over a program that may have started him his freshman year, but they need to know they'll play soon and often.
3. The programs winning pedigree: How many BCS games has the school been in? How many championships? Do they go 10-2 every year or 7-5? How many NFL players has the program produced for the position the recruit plays?
4. UNIFORMS: Here it is. Right after style of play, chance to start, and the schools winning past, uniforms is the most important thing to a recruit. If a recruit is deciding between two schools and the top 3 categories are similar in his mind, the program with the better uniforms will get the kid. Now-a-days when a kid can't leave the house without matching head to toe, looks are a big deal. If your school isn't in a state with thousands of talented football playing super humans (California, Ohio, Texas, Florida, and most southern states) you need to attract players from out of state. The University of Oregon didn't attract players because of their big green trees, hippy girls, and rain 12 months a year, they did it with style of play and uniforms. There are plenty of schools that run the hurry-up spread offense, but Oregon was able to separate themselves because of their uniforms. Their new aged facilities only became a part of Oregon's fire power in the last few years, their good-looking unique uniforms have been Oregon's staple for recruiting for much longer than a few years.
5. Facilities: Most of the programs in the power conferences have similar facilities. Yes some are better than others, i.e. Alabama, Oregon, Texas A&M, but for the most part the facilities are similar if you're a part of the SEC, PAC 12, BIG 12, BIG 10, or ACC.
6. Relationship with coaches: Being the first university to reach out to the kid is a big deal. But it immediately becomes less of a deal when bigger and better schools start calling. Having a good player/coach relationship is also a big deal, until a SEC school calls once and offers a scholarship and a starting spot. The personal relationship a coach builds with a kid is important, but when it comes down to it, it's not the meat and potatoes of recruiting.
7. Location: As the years go by, kids care less and less how close a university is to their hometown. In most cases, players want to venture on and start at a school that is far away from where they're from. Programs can pay for families to visit and they can pay for the kid to return home whenever he wants, so distance is not a problem.
8. Televised games: Every power conference program gets their shot at playing at least one nationally televised game during the year. Obviously, the elite programs get more prime-time televised games, but overall this is a miniature piece of the recruiting pie.