Today’s big news inside the Pac-12 is that the Washington Huskies have scheduled an 11 a.m., fashion show, debuting the school’s new football uniforms.
Over the last few seasons, the Huskies have worn all-black, black-and-purple, black-and-gold, gold-and-gold, purple-and-purple. I lost track.
Besides, didn’t Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Utah and Cal do it first?
The Pac-12 leads the nation in black-outs, white-outs, red-outs and gold-outs.
Arizona hasn’t won a football game against ASU since 2011, but it beat the Sun Devils to the color copper, making copper helmets part of the school’s football color scheme. It was an absolute coup.
Everyone in the conference has re-branded, even stodgy old Stanford. Those who work the 9-to-5 design shift at Nike have blurred all the lines. Have you seen Washington State’s all-gray football unis?
I bring this to your attention because Arizona last week quietly and without a syllable of fanfare made the most subtle yet irresistible change in the ongoing football fashion war.
At the spring game, some of the UA’s football players wore a BEAR DOWN sticker across he back of their helmets. If you are a sucker for the Button Salmon legend the way I am, it was better than all the colors in the football rainbow.
Even Oregon and all the Nike money in the universe can’t touch it.
Why didn’t someone think of this earlier?
Why isn’t BEAR DOWN stitched on Arizona’s softball jerseys? When CBS cameras focus on Kaleb Tarczewski shooting a foul shot, wouldn’t it be appropriate if they saw a modest mention of BEAR DOWN, the school’s singular rallying cry?
For that matter, why doesn’t someone rename Arizona Stadium? It was Varsity Stadium for 50 years until someone with administrative juice changed it to Arizona Stadium.
Shouldn’t it be Bear Down Stadium until a corporate sponsor coughs up $30 million or $50 million to put his name on the marquee?
Everything goes in college sports, 2014. Nothing stays the same for long.
Oregon State has announced a $40 million plan to revitalize Valley Center, its football operations building, which 15 years ago was as good as it gets, there or in nearby Eugene, Ore.
Now the Beavers need to expand if only to store more than 500 football helmets of every imaginable color, which has become the curse of college football equipment managers. When you’ve got 105 football players, each with five different helmets, you need a helmet-only warehouse.
This is the Age of the Helmet and Arizona has been in pace. Utah still has the manufacturer’s brand, SCHUTT, prominently across the back of its helmets.
Utah might be well-advised to dip into its sports history and deep-six the SCHUTT. The school’s fight son “Utah Man,” is sensational.
How about “Utah Man” on the helmet?
I was puzzled when commissioner Larry Scott invited Utah to join the conference — the Utes really weren’t good in anything except mid-major football and women’s gymnastics — but in the Battle of Fight Songs, Utah can play with anybody. Alas, given the fluid nature of college sports, “Utah Man” is about to be dumped.
The Utah student government has charged that “Utah Man” is too “male-centric and not inclusive” and is in the process of re-writing an epic fight song written in 1904.
It hopes to change “I am a Utah man, sir,” to “I am a Utah fan, sir.”
It hopes to eliminate the phrase “our coeds are the fairest” entirely from the fight song lyrics.
Like the Helmet Wars, you can next expect Fight Song Wars in Pac-12 sports.
Washington sings: “Our boys are there with bells; their fighting blood excels.
“Mighty are the men who wear the purple and gold.”
The Huskies’ women’s tennis team, who often wear black, might ask for some editing.
Oregon State sings: “We’ll root for every man, we’ll cheer for any stand;
“Men of iron, their strength will never yield.”
Hey, the Beavers’ women’s soccer team lifts weights, too.
Stanford is as close to old-school as it gets in the Pac-12. Have you ever been to “new” Maples Pavilion? It’s a dump.
The Cardinal has the single worst pep band and fight song in the Pac-12 and perhaps in all of college sports. It’s from bizarro world. It’s so bad that it’s good.
The official Stanford fight song — “Come Join the Band” — is so dismal that for the last 44 years the school has played “All Right Now,” a 1970s pop tune as its athletic anthem.
It’s a song about a guy trying to pick up a girl.
I’ll take “Bear Down” anytime.