For some reason or another, alternate jerseys are a touchy subject in college football — especially among the older generations. At a program as storied and prestigious as Ohio State, the everyday uniforms are classic.
Everyone loves to see that silver Buckeye helmet with its singular red stripe, bordered by stripes of white and black and surrounded by green buckeye leaf stickers. The home fans get to see the team’s scarlet jerseys, with sleeves mirroring the stripes of the helmet and gray pants that do that same. When you picture Ohio State football, this is the image that comes to mind.
The most historic college football teams all have their signature look. Notre Dame has their shiny gold helmets. USC has its nameless cardinal jerseys with gold stripes on the shoulder. Alabama’s helmets are crimson, with just the player’s number and a singular stripe in white. Even Michigan, as ugly as they may seem to those in Columbus, has their own maize and blue helmets iconic of that program.
While these looks are all classic, and have gone mostly unchanged throughout the history of these programs, that doesn’t mean it isn’t okay to mix it up sometimes. Ohio State isn’t making any drastic altercations to its existing uniforms, but it has experimented with using alternate jerseys at least once a year in the past few seasons. Some people are opposed to this notion — I am not one of them.
Now, not all of the Buckeyes’ alternates are great. Personally, I was not a huge fan of the “Land of the Wolves” uniforms they wore against Penn State in 2017 — however, the actual game played in them was a classic. While I like the idea of alternates, I do think the iconic OSU helmet should remain the same, and the home jerseys should remain predominantly scarlet.
That being said, most of Ohio State’s alternates are actually throwbacks to Buckeye teams of the past, making it a bit easier to accept for those jersey purists. Which brings us to the best jerseys in the team’s repertoire:
For the National Championship run during the 2014-15 season, Ohio State featured alternate uniforms in both of its College Football Playoff games. Against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, it was the road version of the “Nike Diamond Quest” edition unis, which were white with scarlet and gray shoulder stripes. These were a clean look, but they couldn’t even compare to the jerseys the team would wear in the title game against Oregon.
The Buckeyes got to wear their home jerseys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. But it wasn’t just any home jersey, as Ohio State’s greatest alternate made its first ever appearance against the Ducks. At its core, it is incredibly similar to the team’s everyday uniforms, and those who don't watch OSU play regularly may not even notice it is any different. However, the jerseys featured grey and white shoulder stripes and black numbers on the shoulders, an ode to the 1968 Buckeyes that defeated USC in the Rose Bowl to secure a national title.
While a switch-up from the team’s usual apparel, this is an alternate jersey that I feel like everyone can get behind. It appeases both sides of the opinion pool. Those in favor of mixing it up every now and then get a jersey that is a bit different from the team’s usual look, and those in favor of keeping history can’t argue with honoring one of the great Ohio State teams of the past. Plus, every other part of the uniform remains the same, including that always recognizable Buckeye helmet.
Ohio State has brought these uniforms back numerous times, including most recently in the Fiesta Bowl this past season against Clemson. While there is nothing wrong with the Buckeyes’ normal scarlet home jerseys, I think that these are the team’s best look. They are not crazy different, and are an easy way to incorporate more of the program’s secondary gray into the uniform. Every time I see them, I picture Ezekiel Elliott running over Oregon en route to a national title.
Let us know how you feel about Ohio State wearing alternate jerseys. Do you love it? Do you hate it? Could you not care less as long as the team gets a W? Cast your vote!
Do you like when Ohio State wears alternates?
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I like them
I hate them
Couldn’t care less