I’ve heard numerous different opinions about the new Maryland football uniforms.
Awesome. Horrific. Way too much going on. Sweet! What were they thinking?
For me, it isn’t so much the actual designs of the uniforms that I am concerned with, although I do think they look pretty sweet.
Rather, it is the new brand that the athletic department at Maryland is trying to create that excites me as a longtime fan of all things Terrapins sports.
Forward-thinking people or groups usually come out on top in today’s society. Take a look out west to Oregon. Oregon is one of the top 10 most recognizable programs in the country right now. Why is that?
When someone says Oregon football, what is the first thing you think of?
For me, the first thing is their uniforms. The second thing that comes to mind is an image of Autzen Stadium on a Saturday night, widely considered one of the best home field advantages in all of college sports.
When I broaden the thought to Oregon Ducks athletics in general, I also think about the new basketball court that they debuted last year.
Check out the title of this piece: Oregon’s crazy new basketball floor is quintessentially Oregon.
Crazy = Quintessentially Oregon.
Grandpa on his couch might not care about crazy. He might say that he doesn’t care about looks, only wins. Drew Forrester might be too much of an old man to like these new uniforms. He might say “Screw that, just win baby!”
But you know who does care? You know what group of people aren’t too old?
You know how you win in college sports?
How many of you reading this play Madden or NBA Live on Xbox 360 or PS3?
How many of you same people play around with the different uniform combinations or switch to the alternate jerseys before playing?
Why do you do it? Because it’s cool. Unique is attractive.
To these teenagers, the show that Kevin Anderson, Kevin Plank, and the rest of the university orchestrated on Monday night was awesome. It was cool.
It set Maryland apart from the N.C. State’s and Virginia’s and Boston College’s of the world that the Terps are competing with.
Again, Maryland is now unique.
Just like Oregon’s Nike branding and partnership with Phil Knight has set them apart from the Oregon State’s and Stanford’s of the world, Under Armour and Kevin Plank are working to set Maryland apart from the rest.
This is a new era of Maryland football. Kevin Anderson. Mark Turgeon. Randy Edsall…
One of the biggest marks of a new era is a new look. A new feel. New houses might be really nice inside, but without a new coat of paint, no one is going to want to buy it.
I love Gary Williams, but Mark Turgeon has been the anti-Gary Williams on the recruiting trail. The athletic department gave Turgeon the budget to go after Dalonte Hill and bring him to College Park.
Randy Edsall is set to lead what should be one of the best Maryland football teams in quite some time.
Times are changing in College Park. Personally, I feel they are changing for the better.
Maryland’s new look not only represents that change, but continues branding the Terps with Under Armour.
And it starts branding Maryland, in the eyes of future recruits, as a cool place to go play sports.
This a cool brand. And the recruits that Randy Edsall and Mark Turgeon are chasing want cool.
N.C. State isn’t cool.
Right now, Maryland is cool. The Terps have the swag.
The true test will come on the football field and basketball court when Randy Edsall and Mark Turgeon have to prove that actions speak louder than looks. I get that. We all do.
But the looks, even if you think they’re horrific, are going bring action to these new coaches.
Just ask Chip Kelly.
Props to Kevin Anderson, Kevin Plank, and the entire athletic department and university for thinking ahead, being proactive, and making a clear effort to brand Terrapins sports in a newer and better light.
The new uni’s are cool, at least in my opinion. But they represent more than just a change in looks.
How far that change takes Terrapins nation remains to be seen…