Monday, November 16, 2009

MICHIGAN WEEK: OSU'S NEW LOOK

COLUMBUS — As many already know, the Ohio State football team will be sporting new threads — for a one-time basis — this Saturday during their regular season finale against arch-rival, Michigan, in Ann Arbor.

The new uniforms, which are being worn by the Buckeyes as a tribute to their 1954 national championship team, have become available for the viewing public and the fan reactions have been a little mixed.

Some wonder why Ohio State would buck their traditional uniforms in what is looked at as the most traditional of tilts — the Michigan game.

Sure, the alleged "throwback" look does have the old white helmets, with the numbers on the side, much like the ones the undefeated '54 team sported in their Rose Bowl win over Southern California. And sure, they do have the gray pants with the red stripes, just like the ones Howard "Hopalong" Cassady ran up and down the field in during that magical season 55 years ago.

But, what has those OSU traditionalists up in arms is that new-age Nike look to the jerseys. Let's face it, they do appear to be very Oregon-esque, don't they? No surprise, though, being that's where the Nike headquarters is located.

So, who — at Ohio State — picked the look of the new gear?

"I was out-of-town," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "I don't know if I was in Iraq (visiting the troops) or where I was, but I guess (Nike) gave us a bunch of different examples and so forth and we had a couple players and a couple coaches and administrators and whatnot, and we got to choose which way we would go."

Tressel did state that he is a little of a traditionalist himself, but admits he's trying to evolve.

"I'm a little old school, but even I'm trying to mature a little bit and embrace things like that," Tressel said. "But to me, it's an awesome responsibility to play in the Ohio State-Michigan and it adds a little more when all of a sudden you're wearing what the people did that were extraordinary (in 1954). So, it will be exciting."

Does the coach like the new uniforms?

"Yeah." Tressel said.

Now that's a raving endorsement!

Tressel did joke that there may be a throwback outfit for himself — not his "traditional" vest.

"I might be wearing one of those trench coats and a little Paul Brown hat," Tressel laughed. "Not sure. Throwback sweater vest, I don't know, with the buttons in the front ... whatever they give me, I wear."

The Buckeyes and Wolverines will square off this Saturday (12 p.m.) at Michigan Stadium.