It might be a little silly to devote time to analyzing a poll about what uniforms fans prefer a college football team to wear, but as I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the subject, I think it’s worth devoting just a little more. It should probably be noted that this poll might be somewhat lacking in validity thanks to the fact I only got 26 responses. Obviously, this is just a fraction of the NU fan base. Nonetheless, I think the results say something very interesting. Northwestern fans have debated the football uniform issue since 2003 when NU changed from the Gary Barnett era black uniforms to the school color purple uniforms they now wear. To be honest, I thought the majority of fans still longed for the black jerseys as they represent multiple Big Ten Titles to those who cheered the ‘Cats in the mid-90s and 2000. However, as I spoke to people who attended NU in recent years, I realized they either have no recollection of the black jerseys or associate them with poor years in 2001 and 2002. To those who recently became NU fans, it probably seems odd to think of NU buying into the black uniform fad which took place in the 1990s. Personally, I don’t know if NU really bought into the fad. Gary Barnett credited his son, Clay, with the uniform design, and they were very similar to the uniforms worn by Barnett’s pervious employer, the University of Colorado.
I don’t really know what prompted the change in uniform color before the 2003 season. I know Randy Walker did mention at times that purple was the school color and he thought the uniform should represent that color. Pat Fitzgerald has said similar things in recent years as well. Some might disagree, but the fan vote is almost evenly split. Seeing that almost even split has moved me somewhat more strongly into the purple uniform camp. I would like to see NU wear the black Rose Bowl-style uniforms for a throwback day once a year, but I’m starting to see why people like the new purple jerseys. The newer jerseys clearly represent the school as they are the school color, they have very clear numbers (which hasn’t always been the case at NU), and NU has been to 4 bowl games (including the 1948 Rose Bowl) when wearing purple home jerseys. If NU is to continue wearing purple, though, I would like to see the Northwestern strips replace the USC-style shoulder strips and I really hope Coach Fitz sticks with the white pants at home. I really didn’t like the all-purple look.