GREAT DEBATE: Coug unis pro and con

WHEN BILL MOOS unveiled Washington State's new uniforms last week, the court of public opinion seemed largely favorable. Anecdotally speaking, the most furrowed brows came from the older among us while the most enthusiastic reactions came from the younger crowd. CF.C went to the two ends of that spectrum over the weekend to learn what's to like and not like about the new football uniforms.

On one end, we have a 56-year-old WSU graduate and long-time season ticketholder from Spokane who started following the Cougs in the mid 1960s. On the other, a 12-year-old Seattle kid who has been religiously following the Cougs since 2004.

The two debaters here are from the same family: Steve Witter, as devout a Cougar as you'll find, and his nephew Ryan, who lives five minutes from Husky Stadium and relishes nothing more than wearing crimson in the sea of purple surrounding him. Here's what they have to say about WSU's new uniforms ...

ROBO-COUGS IN RED: Permanent or temporary look?
By Steve Witter
WSU Class of ‘76


LET'S GET THIS OUT of the way from the outset -- I am a sentimental old-schooler when it comes to sports uniforms. Given a choice -- traditional or trendy – I usually prefer classic styles that have stood the test of time.

The best uniforms in baseball? No contest. In my book, it's the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox (honorable mention to the Mariners).


KARSTETTER IN CRIMSON OR RED?

In pro football – Raiders and Colts (sorry Seahawks).

In college football, I have been a devoted Cougar since childhood. And while I've never been a fan of USC, I have to grudgingly admit there's one thing I've always liked about the Trojans – their uniforms. They're essentially the same today as they were in the 1960s.

The same for Notre Dame, save for a slight change in gold tinting.

A traditional uniform is like a gray business suit – a timeless classic that never goes out of style.

So, for a traditionalist like me, the debut of new Nike-designed Cougar football threads left me mostly nonplussed. They weren't awful. They weren't great. They were just, just … Nike.

I was not alone. A Seattle Times poll the day after the unveiling produced a mostly lukewarm verdict from online respondents.

The new uniforms present many items for discussion. From the stripes to the fonts, they are clearly non-traditional. For me, these are small issues. My major gripe, as it has been for years, is that the official school color – crimson – continues to be banished from the fields and courts.

Real crimson leans toward burgundy or maroon (ala Mike Price crimson helmets a decade ago). The uniform designers can tell us the new color is crimson, but it isn't. It's plain old pedestrian red, dressed up with curlicue fonts.

Bill Moos says the new uniforms should appeal to 17 year olds and, thus, improve recruiting. I hope he's right. At the same time, I can't help but wonder whether this lure is exaggerated. Indeed, the last time I checked the Scout rankings, recruiting remained robust at USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, LSU, Nebraska and Penn State, among others, who still dress old school.

In the greater scheme of Cougar athletics, uniform colors and styles matter less than victories. Partisans like me will faithfully purchase their season tickets and pack into Martin Stadium no matter what. Still, I will miss seeing real crimson in a classically styled uniform.

Like college football today, baseball went through a similar period of uniform experimentation in the 70s and 80s with the loud and wild (A's and Astros) to the downright bizarre (Chicago White Sox). In time, good sense prevailed. Pinstripes returned, replacing rainbows.

What about the Cougs? Will the robo-look in red be temporary or permanent? What will our team – and, indeed, the rest of college football – look like in 10 years?

Will we look back and brag that WSU was on the leading edge of a uniform revolution patterned after the Arena League? Or will we, like the old A's, Astros and Chisox, look back on this as a bad memory and say, "What were we thinking?"

At least one sentimental old-schooler will hope for the latter.

ALL-GRAYS MAKE A STATEMENT: We are beast
By Ryan Witter
Seattle 6th Grader


MY DAD, UNCLE AND Grandpa think the Cougars' new all-gray uniforms are ugly. Not me. I think they're the coolest uniforms around. They make those "black out" things the Huskies have been wearing look weak.

No one wears all-gray. This makes the Cougars special, and the way the shades work -- dark on the pants and shoulder stripes, light on the jerseys, helmets and logo -- is really unique.


TUEL LIKES THE DUDS.

Mr. Moos, the athletic director, said the new uniforms were designed to appeal to high schoolers, not to older guys like my dad and uncle. That makes sense because my dad and uncle can't throw a pass 50 yards or jump higher than about three inches. They also run slower than David Ortiz.

Aaron Dunn, the Cougar tight end, sent out a twitter message the other day saying he thought the new uniforms were awesome. My favorite player, Jeff Tuel, said he loved them. They like the uniforms and I like the uniforms. Together, our ages add up to less than my uncle's.

These new uniforms are modern. The old ones were boring. They weren't bad, they were just boring. The new uniforms aren't boring at all. The Cougars are going to look beast when they step onto the field.

My only complaint is about the white uniforms. They look good but white isn't one of WSU's colors. I think the Cougars should drop the white and wear the all-gray uniforms whenever possible. They are going to shine on national TV when the Cougars are playing in a bowl game this winter.

The color of the Cougars' home jerseys has been a topic in my family for as long as I can remember. Everyone has complained that the Cougars are always wearing red, not crimson. The new home uniforms do seem a little light to be crimson, but they're dark enough for me and they look great with those shoulder stripes and the curlicue edges on the numbers. WSU said the idea for the curlicues came from the pointy edges on the Cougar-head logo. That is cool.

I think WSU definitely scored a touchdown with the new uniforms, especially the all-gray ones. I love the all-gray ones, and hope my dad and uncle come to their senses about them in time for my birthday in June.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In case you missed out, Cougfan.com last week ran two photo galleries covering every thread of WSU's new uniforms. Here are the links to those spreads:

NEW UNIFORMS UP CLOSE

THE FIRST LOOK AT NEW WSU GARB


TOOMER AND KARSTETTER ARE MODELS OF FASHION SENSE.


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