The fine folks at Cowboys Ride for Free, aka our sister blog for Oklahoma State, had a Big 12 uniform ranking. ODB will do more with uniforms beyond this post, but for now, we release our own ranking.
I don’t care about the history of uniforms, or what fits 1950. If I cared about old money, I’d write a 3,000 word post about how Great Gatsby explains realignment. Instead, my focus is on variety, creativity, and weeks without bad uniforms. Someone else could pick different categories or hate chrome. But that would be ludicrous.
10. Iowa State
Sometimes it’s not happening. They have limited variety, and suffer from what I often rail against: chronic mascot confusion. The Cyclones don’t use Cy, who is a cardinal, on their helmets, and they also don’t even use their actual macot: a cyclone. There are many fine folks in Ames and Des Moines. Their uniforms are not fine.
The Jayhawks have made strides in recent years. When we finally do mascot rankings, Baby Jay will give Kansas a huge leap over some of these weak mascots. But that ranking isn’t today.
Kansas still suffers from some bad combinations. The designs often mix too many of their colors, as Ryan Willis is dealing with above. When K.U. goes with a revitalized fighting Jayhawk and a nice red and blue combination, they have some of the best uniforms in the Big 12. However, the worst uniform can kill. The 2020 Jayhawks will have top five uniforms. The 2016 Jayhawks do not.
This is where disagreements may begin. Some may say the Longhorns have a brilliant shade of orange, so there’s no need for variety. Others may say the occasional black uniform is all the variety needed. But they’d be wrong. The uniforms are not flashy. They rely on one color, but the one color is not something I’d want to look at for a five count, much less have as my only color.
7. Kansas State
Bill Snyder football is not built on flash. These rankings are. Their purple is a fine color. In the modern era, the Wildcats should have more combinations. They also wear gray far too often.
The Sooners have nice uniforms, but they have almost no variety. They get bonus points in a system that has no real scoring for not wearing gray. However, the Sooners should add a few more combinations.
Maybe it’s also impossible to separate how often they play in those uniforms while “Boomer Sooner,” plays from how the uniforms stand alone.
Their color alone and lack of combinations cannot vault them over the remainder of the list.
5. West Virginia
The mountaineers may have the best two color combination in the Big 12. The blue and yellow work well together. Their road uniforms and all yellow combination needs work. But the blue and yellow is so well done. That combination may be the best home uniform.
They have combinations. They incorporate their mascot well into their uniforms, which can be difficult when your mascot may be the 9th best in the Big 12. The Frogs rarely have a bad uniform. At their best, they do not match the heights the others hit, but the consistency is something.
3. Oklahoma State
Orange and black works as a combination. We have a holiday after it, a popular candy, and what rivals West Virginia for the best two-color scheme in the Big 12.
The Cowboys also work in their mascot well at times. Let’s go ahead and hand them the trophy.
But wait. There’s the gray uniform combination. Mike Gundy walks out. T. Boone Pickens is on to his next energy empire and has just built another facility. And here come the Cowboys not wearing anywhere close to their best uniforms. If Oklahoma State stopped wearing gray, then they’d probably win this thing.
2. Texas Tech
The colors are wonderful. The Texas Tech logo looks awesome, and their white uniforms still maintain flash. They also have the best gray uniforms in the Big 12. Many overlook Texas Tech, but they shouldn’t.
Love them or hate them. There’s not much in-between for the Baylor uniforms. They’re flashy. The school isn’t afraid to say, “You know what, there is more than one shade of green, let’s give it a shot.” The chrome helmet- while taking a break for a time- lurks as one of the best helmets in college football. The all black combination is excellent.
If anyone thinks I’m just ranking these uniforms number one because this is a Baylor blog, I genuinely think these are the best uniforms. I’m not picking Baylor to win the Big 12 in football or basketball, but I would take Baylor’s uniforms over any other Big 12 school. You can live life wearing the same boring color a school has worn for 80 years, or you can always look to reinvent yourself and enjoy the feeling of finding something great. Baylor does that several times a season. The Bears have the best uniforms in the Big 12.