wester-kentucky
After a few years of wild, unruly uniform design, the NCAA has cracked down for the 2013. Let's quickly mourn the loss of bizarro game day dress. Done. Ok. Here are the specifics:

"Jerseys must have clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals measuring at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively, and be of one solid color that itself is clearly in distinct contrast with the color of the jersey, irrespective of any border around the number." [source]

What does this mean? Essentially, the NCAA wants clarity and legibility. So, gone are the days of really wild prints within numbers, insane font choices, and potentially bold patterns that compromise the integrity of the numbers. Does this signal an end to fun in college football uniform design? NO.

The helmet remains a free territory and plenty of teams are taking advantage. But despite opportunity for great variety, preseason reveals prove acceptance and adoption of two trends: matte black and chrome finishes.

Kicking off a season of coverage, Sneaker Report presents the best and worst of college football's latest crop of helmets.

Nick Schonberger is Deputy Editor at Complex Media and a formerly a mediocre Water Polo player.

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wester-kentucky

School: Western Kentucky
Uniform Supplier: Russell
Date Released: 7/19/2013

The Hilltoppers roll into the 2013 season with a new head coach, former Louisville and Arkansas general Bobby Petrino, and complement the change with an appropriate set of new clothes. Supplied by Russell Athletic, Western Kentucky's gone for trend on top. The chrome helmet, which has been slowly rising in popularity of the past few years, is going mainstream. While many school's go chrome on alternative helmets, WKU will rock this headgear for every game. The side features the program's odd logo—a hand waving a red towel.

oregon

School: Oregon
Uniform Supplier: Nike
Date Released: 6/2/2013

In the race for wildest college football uniforms, one team reigns supreme: Oregon. Nike's flagship school has pioneered so many wild ideas (shiny helmets among them) that it's hard to keep track. For 2013, the Ducks are taking things a step forward and popping yellow wings on top of chrome. This will be an alternative option.

washington

School: University of Washington
Uniform Supplier: Nike
Date Released: 7/3/2013

Oregon's northern neighbors are doubling up on trends for 2013. Not content with just a black helmet, the Huskies will alternate with a gold chrome number. Both feature the school's iconic "W" on the side. The gold chrome has the added bonus of a purple face mask.

indiana

School: Indiana
Uniform Supplier: adidas
Date Released: 6/3/2013

Oh, Indiana. Already the laughing stock of the Big Ten and making matters worse by trying to combine an icon of the basketball team—candy stripe pants—and a major trend in college football—chrome—into a winning helmet. This fail reminds some bloggers of a Marvel Comics superhero. To make matters worse, the face mask is also chrome. The good news? Indiana has five other helmets to choose from in 2013, including a red option featuring the famous torch from the State flag.

baylor

School: Baylor
Uniform Supplier: Nike
Date Released: 1/21/2013

Baylor's got two new helmets for 2013. Guess what? Like many other schools they've gone for chrome and matte. Both options match face mask to body of the helmet and feature an interlocking "BU" logo on the side. If push comes to shove, we favor the black.
usc-01

School: University of Central Florida
Uniform Supplier: Nike
Date Released: 8/15/2013

Wouldn't this be great without the big gold center streak? UCF stumbles on the matte trend with some misguided design choices, but luckily for us this helmet is just an alternative option.

south-carolina

School: South Carolina
Uniform Supplier: Under Armour
Date Released: 7/25/2013

Under Armour's been bold with the Gamecocks. The "Battle Grey" uniforms worn last season against LSU incorporated an incredible custom camouflage inspired by the Palmetto Tree and Crescent moon associated with the South Carolina flag. While new NCAA regulations will limit patterns in 2013, it won't minimize flash. South Carolina will follow the crowd and go chrome for headgear in a few games.

tulsa

School: Tulsa
Uniform Supplier: Nike
Date Released: 8/5/2013

Here's a friendly reminder that Conference USA still fields football teams. The best? Often forgotten Tulsa. Gold helmets have featured in Tulsa uniform configurations before, but in 2013 gold meets chrome as the school attempts to snag a greater share of the national spotlight.

notre-dame

School: Notre Dame
Uniform Supplier: adidas
Date Released: 8/5/2013

The Fighting Irish break from tradition annually with a "Shamrock Series" uniform. These are, regularly, appalling. 2013 is no different. Following trend, the helmet has a gold chrome finish. Which, in fairness, isn't too much of a drastic shift for the guys from South Bend.

old-dominion

School: Old Dominion
Uniform Supplier: Nike
Date Released: 8/12/2013

Stepping up to the Football Bowl Subdivision level, Old Dominion wants to dress the part. The Monarch's helmet hits high marks for trend—it's matte black—and for the unusual configuration of logo on one side, number on the other. The logo, a lion layered within the state of Virginia, is particularly awesome. ODU will play as an independent this season and then step into Conference USA for 2014.

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