Kansas State and Oregon both wear Nike’s signature swoosh, but that’s where the comparisons between their football uniforms end.
They are on opposite ends of the fashion spectrum, as will be on display in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.
Under coach Bill Snyder, the Wildcats have worn the same uniforms — silver pants, silver helmet featuring purple and white stripes, and solid white or purple jerseys — without any major modifications since he redesigned them in 1989. He wanted a look that resembled the Dallas Cowboys, and still does.
“We thought we got it right the first time," Snyder said. “We saw no reason to change them."
The Ducks take a different approach. They change their uniforms — loud, flashy and trendsetting — every week. Sometimes they wear neon yellow numbers. Sometimes their shoulders feature designs such as wings. They occasionally wear yellow and green. Other times they wear all black, white or throw in some gray.
Coincidentally or not, the Ducks started winning regularly at the same time they began wearing glitzy uniforms, and other programs have copied their style. Oklahoma State now changes its uniforms so often that some have called the Cowboys “the Oregon of the Big 12." Baylor and Maryland mix up their uniforms all the time. Most schools that wear Nike, such as Michigan, Boise State and Missouri, have at least one alternate — or “Pro Combat" — uniform they wear for special games.
Kansas State receiver Chris Harper, who transferred from Oregon, has been on both ends of the spectrum. He sees advantages to both styles but doesn’t understand why so many schools are copying the Ducks.
“That’s kind of lame to me," Harper said. “Oregon started that thing. Let them have their thing. Let them be who they are. ... That’s one thing I like about being out here. We know who we are. You don’t see us jumping out with any ‘Pro Combats’ or new gloves or stuff all the time. We do what we do. We play in games. It’s not about the jerseys, it’s about who plays on the field."
— The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle