Wiedmer: Georgia shouldn't have worn those Nike uniforms

Wiedmer: Georgia shouldn't have worn those Nike uniforms

September 5th, 2011 by Mark Wiedmer in Sports - Columns

It's probably hard for any member of the Bulldog Nation to find a single positive in Georgia's 35-21 loss to Boise State on Saturday night inside the Georgia Dome.

And it wasn't just that the Dawgs couldn't deal with either Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore or the Boise defense. Georgia looked awful, too. And we're not talking about the quality of play.

As if a lot of Georgia fans don't already think UGA coach Mark Richt should be fired, those atrocious uniforms only added to their lengthening laundry list of complaints.

When you've got one of the classiest uniforms in college football - silver britches, red jerseys with white numbers, the timeless red helmet with the single white stripe and oval "G" on each side - trotting out something that makes you look like a basket of grape tomatoes is like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

What makes this latest Nike marketing ploy worse even worse is that Richt's already been burned once while playing with these uniform matchsticks.

Remember the Alabama game under the Samford Stadium lights on Sept. 27, 2008? Final score: Bama 41, Georgia 30. Electing to return to the same desperate gamble of wearing black shirts that had shocked Auburn a season earlier, Richt instead watched his Preseason No. 1s dress for their own funeral between the hedges.

But at least the black shirts had succeeded before they failed. This all-red ensemble with that wretched, somewhat silver helmet was a fan disappointment from the get-go.

In light of Saturday's result, the only question this morning is whose stock fell faster - Nike's, Georgia's or Richt's?

Indeed, the only thing good to come out of the Boise State game is that Georgia's supposed to return to their old unis for the rest of the season.

In the future, the Dawgs need to ask themselves if it's merely coincidence that Auburn and Alabama have claimed the last two national titles wearing uniforms that haven't changed in more than 50 years? You think Tennessee fans would ever go for removing the orange power T from the sides of their white helmets?

In fact, for a lesson in how to best clothe yourself on a national stage, the Bulldogs might want to study LSU, which pounded Oregon 40-27 inside Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night in Dallas while wearing their tasteful and traditional yellow-gold helmets, white jerseys and yellow-gold pants, all of those trimmed in purple.

You've got to go back to the mid-1950s to find the last time the Tigers strayed from that look for more than a game or two, and it's certainly served them well. Given plenty of reasons against the Ducks to mail it in - suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson's legal troubles following a bar fight, an ongoing NCAA investigation into talent scout Willie Lyles, the suspension of wideout Russell Shepard - the Tigers instead served notice that they intend to become the sixth straight SEC school to win a BCS national title.

As long as they can get by Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5, that is. The Tigers almost won that matchup inside that same Bryant-Denny Stadium a couple of years ago, before some odd officiating and odder clock management allowed the eventual national champs to escape with a 24-15 win.

In fact, from the looks of both the Tide and Tigers this weekend, the Bama-LSU showdown should decide which SEC school will play for the national championship inside New Orleans' Superdome on Jan. 9.

Or it will if lightning doesn't strike thrice in Knoxville on Oct. 15, when the Bayou Bengals face Tennessee.

Average as UT was a year ago, the Vols nearly beat LSU in Baton Rouge. Though LSU is clearly better than that Tiger bunch, UT's performance in its 42-16 win over Montana hints at significant improvement, too.

But lightning striking in or around Neyland Stadium twice against Montana - both a real thunderstorm that delayed kickoff for 93 minutes and the two lightning strikes that quarterback Tyler Bray threw to move UT on top 14-0 in the game's first seven minutes - is not the same as being able to fry LSU's title dreams.

For that they might need a third strike, something to make Tigers coach Les Miles' hair stand straight up. (Oops, it already does.)

So what did we learn this weekend in the SEC? We learned that Kentucky and Ole Miss probably aren't very good. We learned that Bama and LSU are as good as advertised, that South Carolina might get there, that Mississippi State and Florida deserve to be ranked and that Auburn might miss Cam Newton as much as the Supremes missed Diana Ross.

We also again learned that UT's Bray can throw the ball with the best of them, his stretch of at least two TD tosses in seven straight games positively Peyton-esque.

And when it comes to coaching, we were again reminded that good as Nick Saban is at Alabama, no coach's players may play as hard for him or genuinely love him as much as LSU's do Miles. Gotta be the white cap.

But what we may have most learned is that when it comes to the tradition-rich SEC, Nike should copy existing football uniforms rather than creating new ones. Especially for schools whose coaches are about to need a heat shield stitched into the seats of their pants.