In past years, Kansas football has debuted some interesting uniform choices. Some good, some bad, and some that just make you scratch your head.
A streamlined look is common when it comes to college football uniforms, but fans normally aren’t going to lose any sleep over a few alternates now and then.
In the case of Kansas, there’s been room for improvement over the years. In present day, there’s been a happy medium of sorts. The current set is blue home tops and white road tops, which feature a combination of blue and white helmets.
While things seem simple now, it hasn’t always been this way. There have been a few adjustments over the years, leading up to the current look that nails down a signature look that places its roots in 2007.
Here are a few uniform sets that slipped through the cracks of rational thinking.
2013 vs. West Virginia
In 2013, Charlie Weis was leading Kansas into a new era of football following the firing of previous head coach Turner Gill in 2011.
A Week 10 matchup ended with a 31-19 win against West Virginia, handing the Jayhawks their third victory of the season.
Kansas wore grey tops and bottoms, along with a crimson helmet featuring the 1941 Jayhawk with matching grey face-masks.
While the helmet is passable by multiple standards of color and logo design, the jersey is where things go wrong.
They have a similar look to another poor choice of look by the Detroit Lions, who shared the grey color scheme. If the flat color of grey wasn’t confusing enough, there’s a weaving pattern that runs up and down the jersey, ending at the waist. Replacing the white numbers with blue ones, the red outline doesn’t pop the numbers enough and gives the font a “blurry” effect.
Overall, these just ended up looking too much out of Kansas’ element. Incorporating grey into their uniforms isn’t the worst decision out there, but it isn’t ideal.
2015 vs. Kansas State
The Sunflower Showdown is a tough watch for Kansas fans these days, however, it didn’t use to be.
The Jayhawks used to find common success over the Wildcats, mounting a substantial amount of wins against the Kansas State program since the rivalry began in 1902.
Despite still holding the overall record against Kansas State for all-time meetings, the Jayhawks haven’t found a win against the Wildcats since 2008.
In 2015, Kansas sported a crimson look that hasn’t aged well, even over six years.
Featuring a crimson take on the former half-Jayhawk, half “KU” insignia helmet, these uniforms didn’t come out very well.
The uniforms also draw the silver “Jayhawks” wordmark across the chest, which barely fit due to the font size.
This was accompanied by a silver outlining that found its way onto the helmet, numbers, and worst of all, the arm-sleeves. Don’t get me wrong, crimson is cool, but this was too much.
2012 vs. Iowa State
Black can be an excellent look for college football. Schools like Oklahoma State, Oregon, and Houston have all adopted excellent-looking black uniforms over the years.
However, in Kansas’ case, the same can’t be said. During their home finale of the 2012 season, the Jayhawks wore black uniforms with white helmets. The result wasn’t pretty.
Besides suffering a 51-23 loss to the Cyclones these uniforms didn’t do any favors for Kansas. They featured an arched “Kansas” wordmark over a number font that was a departure from the traditional style. This was paired with a blue outline, which didn’t look very good.
Black helmets may have improved the look, but we’ll never know. Kansas included a black helmet in their uniform debut that year, along with some other acceptable combinations.
Regardless, this look wasn’t going to cut it for fans and black may be a color Kansas should stay away from in the future.
2019 vs. Kansas State
Heading into the 2019 Sunflower Showdown, Kansas had some momentum following an upset victory over Texas Tech. The Jayhawks were 3-5 and life wasn’t terrible.
Former head coach Les Miles was putting an acceptable product on the field and the annual rivalry showcased the first sold-out crowd at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium since 2009.
However, the fun didn’t last long. The Jayhawks served fans a 38-10 home loss, along with some awful thread choices.
Coming into the matchup, Kansas was set to debut “student-designed” uniforms. These ended up looking unusual and adopted the grey jersey once again. Blue and red sleeves added to the confusion, despite a well-designed helmet.
These uniforms simply shouldn’t have been used. It was too much of a departure from their traditional style re-gained following the hiring of former head coach Les Miles and sticking to their new set would’ve been the right move here.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having students involved in the design process of alternate uniforms, but there may need to be a supervision process going forward.