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(Re) Ranking the Big Ten’s Best Uniforms

In light of recent developments, it seems appropriate to release an official BHGP ranking of the Big Ten’s best uniforms.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Florida vs Iowa
Iowa’s uniforms have changed a few times over the years, but now there’s a classic look you have to love.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s come to my attention that one of our own has recently released an official ranking of the Big Ten’s best uniforms in 2017. It’s also come to my attention that our beloved Hawkeyes, in their iconic, timeless, Pittsburgh Steeler copies were not exactly ranked highly. Finally, it’s come to my attention that some of you think I could be so despicable, so anti-Iowan, so un-American as to have done this.

This. Will. Not. Stand.

On Thursday, our very own JP Scott, who is also a contributor at Athlon Sports, released his annual ranking of the best uniforms in the Big Ten. Now, I’ve never met the other JP, but by all accounts he’s a good guy. A decent human being. And yet, he had the audacity to rank Iowa’s uniforms 12th out of 14 Big Ten teams. 12th!

Image via

His explanation?

I'm probably going to get a lot of grief over this on social media, but I'm over Iowa's uniforms. The whole Steeler rip-off thing was fun while it lasted, but it's now just tired and outdated. A team with one of the finest logos in sports deserves an upgrade. I recommend the all-blacks they wore a couple of years ago against Minnesota. Switch to those and there's a good chance Iowa tops this list.

So, because this is a democracy and it’s the dead of summer, The Pants has come up with our own rankings. The real rankings. The right rankings.

14. Minnesota Golden Gophers

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota comes in at the bottom of this list specifically because of their terrible color scheme. Maroon and gold(?) is not a great look, especially as used in the photo above. They get points for trying to be bold, but it just doesn't work. The back of their helmets say "Gold Standard." Gold standard for bad jerseys, that is.

The only way the boat rowers could possibly make them worse is if they add oars, a la P.J. Fleck's WMU squad.

13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Maryland Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

These aren't particularly awful. They're just so... plain. They have the most common color scheme in the Big Ten and a pretty bland logo to boot. If your team is going to be bad on the field, they should at least be interesting to look at.

12. Indiana Hoosiers

NCAA Football: Foster Farms Bowl-Indiana vs Utah Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest knock on Indiana has to be their helmets, doesn't it? That big ol' half stripe thing just sitting there right on the front of their domes leads me to believe they couldn't decide whether or not they wanted their helmets to be crimson or white, so they did that. Just get simple with it, pick a color, and then throw the script Indiana logo on there. Oh, yeah. That's the stuff.

T-11. Nebraska Cornhuskers

NCAA Football: Music City Bowl-Tennessee vs Nebraska Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

T-11. Wisconsin Badgers

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Wisconsin vs Penn State Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

These are the same. They're both boring. Red is an overused color scheme. Both logos are kinda trash. Next.

9. Purdue Boilermakers

NCAA Football: Purdue at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I actually don't hate these! Black and gold is a sexy color scheme and they absolutely rock it. The jerseys have that shoulder decal, but are still simple enough. Their biggest improvement could come on the lids they wear - they experimented a bit with a train logo on the side and that would be A1 if they put it there permanently.

8. Ohio State Buckeyes

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The highest ranking red team in these rankings comes in at eight, and it has to do almost exclusively with the helmet stickers. Those things just transcend time in a way that few other things in college football have. On top of that, they wear those grey pants that help them stand out from their red counterparts in the conference.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini

NCAA Football: Illinois at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Orange! It's certainly a loud color, but it's one that distinguishes the Illini from the rest of the conference. Illinois could just use the color as an accent to the navy and white, but instead opt to use it as their main color in looks like this. Ladies and gentlemen, it works well - there's not much they could improve upon in this look.

6. Michigan State Spartans

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Another color in the Big Ten that's exclusive to one team is Michigan State's green. The main uniform is pretty minimalistic, and that works perfectly for them. Pair that look with one of the best logos in the conference, and it's a no-brainer that they'd be in the top half of this list. The biggest knock on Sparty's uniforms is their alternate looks - they've added some grey and gold into the mix on occasion, and it hasn't worked.

5. Michigan Wolverines

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan has a classic look that only gets better over time. While they went through a few minor tweaks (and had some terrible alternates under adidas), they're back to basics with the Jordan brand and look great once again. The winged helmet is the best part of the look, but maize and blue look perfect together. The all-white road uniforms are also pretty slick, too.

4. Penn State Nittany Lions

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Penn State vs Southern California Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Another classic look. Some will say that it's too plain, but that's probably the best part of these - this is how they've looked for the better part of forever. White helmets with a blue stripe, navy or white jerseys (with no names on the back!), and white pants. This is a timeless look that they should never stray away from.

3. Maryland Terrapins

NCAA Football: Quick Lane Bowl-Boston College vs Maryland Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to catch a lot of flak here, but to hell with what the people say - Maryland has some of the best uniforms IN THE NATION. Their state has the second best flag of them all (New Mexico takes home the first place trophy in that department), and they make it a prominent feature of their jersey and helmet. It's big, it's bold, and it's excellent. The haters and losers will say this is the worst jersey in the conference, but that's why they're the haters and losers. These jerseys are fuego.

2. Northwestern Wildcats

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Northwestern vs Pittsburgh William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern has some pretty underrated threads, if you ask me. Black and purple is probably the best combination of colors in the entire world and they wear it well. They tend to swap out helmets quite a bit, but that's fine when your jersey combinations are as slick as theirs. Maybe the best part of their jerseys? The horizontal stripe going through the numbers. Beautiful.

1. Iowa Hawkeyes

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Florida vs Iowa Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Did you really think this was going to end any other way? C'mon now. Black and gold forever.