You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan football over-under: Will the Wolverines scale back their 6 uniform combos from last season?

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs sports the Wolverines' alternate "Under the Lights" uniform combination last season at Michigan State. file photo

It's often been said that the Michigan football program's winged helmet stands as one of the iconic symbols of college football.

And while the Wolverines aren't likely to change the design of their beloved helmet (well, not really anyway), what they wear below it has spurred quite a bit of debate.

Some fans hate it, others love it -- but no matter what side of the fence one sat on in 2011, the topic of Michigan's football uniforms never seemed to cool off.

Technically, the Wolverines wore six different helmet and uniform combinations last season.

There was the traditional home uniform/helmet duo against Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and San Diego State. The "Under the Lights" legacy jerseys against Notre Dame, the road legacy jerseys at Michigan State and the special Sugar Bowl version of the ensemble against Virginia Tech.

Additionally, Michigan wore its traditional home and road jerseys during Big Ten play, but did so with individual numbers on the helmet.

Six combinations in 13 games? That's obviously quite a bit.

Michigan Football Over-Under

This is part of a 14-day series featuring 2012 Michigan football-related debate from sports writers Kyle Meinke and Nick Baumgardner.

July 11: Can the Michigan offense maintain its production?

July 12: Can the Michigan defense be as stout in 2012?

July 13: How many wins will Michigan collect away from home?

July 14: Can Denard Robinson reduce his interceptions into single digits?

July 15: How many sacks will Michigan's defensive line muster?

Monday: Will Devin Gardner become a full-time receiver?

Tuesday: How many true freshmen will see the field next season?

Today: Uniforms: How many will Michigan wear in 2012?

Thursday: Will Fitz Toussaint reach his goal of 1,600 rushing yards?

Athletic director Dave Brandon says more alternate uniforms could be on the way next season, but how many?

Let the wardrobe argument begin.

Over/under: Michigan will wear 4.5 different uniform combinations in 2012

Kyle Meinke: Brandon already said he has some alternate uniforms in the works for next season, but also seemed to express regret for the way the Michigan State look was unveiled -- i.e., as a total surprise, even to the players, who had their routine disrupted by the wardrobe change minutes before kickoff.

He also said the Wolverines' six unique combinations might have been a bit much. Expect to see that scaled back slightly.

But you will see some alternate looks, that much is certain, especially after the UTL jerseys became a megahit. Lord knows how much money the department has made of those things. And, as much as Michigan likes to talk about the alternate jerseys being good for recruiting and how much the players like them -- both of which are true, according to players -- revenue certainly is a fixture in these decisions.

There will be the standard home and away looks, and there's a good chance there will be an alternate jersey for the bowl game. When I asked Brandon if Michigan would wear a special jersey against Alabama, he didn't confirm it, but also didn't deny it. I'm betting Michigan rolls out something special for that one as well.

Prediction: That's four looks -- and I'm betting that's it. The wild card would be against Michigan State, but after last year's fiasco, I'm guessing Michigan plays that one safe. Take the under.


Nick Baumgardner: Michigan will wear its traditional home and road jerseys, and since the helmet numbers were prevalent this spring -- and have been featured in literature to recruits -- it's a safe bet they aren't going anywhere. So, that's two combos.

I'd also be surprised if Michigan doesn't tinker it's jersey combination against Notre Dame this season, a game that's basically the mirror of last season's "Under the Lights" event, but in South Bend. There's three.

As far as a bowl game combination goes? I'd put money on that being different, too. Because, well, it would make an inordinate amount of money in merchandise sales. Four.

My gut says Michigan will keep it traditional against Michigan State this season, but what about the first meeting with Urban Meyer at Ohio State? Or a night game at Nebraska?

There's too many chances to change things up, and I'm not sure if Michigan will be able to pass them all up.

Prediction: Players love this stuff. No matter what they say publicly, they love it. There's nothing wrong with Michigan's iconic look, but variety is -- and always will be -- the spice of life.

Additionally, every time Michigan wears a different jersey -- it makes money. Brandon says that's not the sole reason for changing things up, but it's certainly not a non-factor either. In 2012, I'm taking the over.



Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Bring back the "Bumblebee" look from East Lansing. Looked like bees...played worse. No threat.

Terry Star21

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

Kyle. On the 4.5 uniforms, would that .5 be regular top jersey and maybe speedo's and cleats on the bottom ? Not a big fan of the many different jerseys. I pick 'under', being two (2) - the traditional home uniform and traditional road uniform. I don't know how all the players feel, that would be important to me. However, you can change the uniforms as many times as you like, but you can't take away America's best college football team. Not a chance. I really like the numbers on the helmet (Terry Star has been doing it forever) because that can be done (small) without taking away from the wings. MgoBlueForTim....winged helmets really fly, and score.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Speedos? Probably. Where's the threat?


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

The home jersyes against nd were great. The block M is perfect. The aways at Michigan St. without the M were very bad.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

They were laughable. And your team played worse. Where's the threat?

Terry Star21

Thu, Jul 19, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Welcome back......


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

Did you really have to choose that photo? I hope we never see those ugly uniforms again.

Wally the Wolverine

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Under. They can go out and play in their pajamas for all I care, I just want them to win! If they drop a few games, changing unis will seem to draw more attention to it. Put W's on the board. The rest is just noise.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

Under, we can only hope. I'm not against changes, in schedule or opponents or game times, but holy crap one "specialty" uniform change a season is plenty.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

The only one I really, really disliked was the road uni at MSU, the "Bumble Bee" costume. I also disliked MSU's "video game" unis that game even worse, but that's beside the point. Please find a "uniform", which means it is the same, that pretty much is the classic look (no crazy/curvy Adidas stripes, etc), home and away. And maybe one special uniform per season, with the emphasis on the maybe. We don't want to make every single game of every single season a "special" game, because then the special-ness gets watered down.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

The Spartan unis on October 15th were awesome. The team was better. Bee careful! No threat!


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

I couldn't say it better myself, variety is the spice of life


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

>> regret for the way the Michigan State look was unveiled -- >> i.e., as a total surprise, even to the players, who had their >> routine disrupted by the wardrobe >> change minutes before kickoff. This is the first time that I had seen this. What idiot EVER thought that would be a good idea?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Jul 19, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.



Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

I'd like to keep it as traditional as possible, but I think the University sees to much profit potential. Keep it simple and quit whoring out the football program for every nickel and dime.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

I looked at the picture in this article, and had the sick feeling that Ronald McDonald was wearing his own version of a Michigan uniform with our helmet. Stop this nonsense, and stop it now. Please.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Hey Davie Boy, let's keep in mind what makes something traditional: you keep doing the good/positive things the SAME way year after year. You've got a UM degree. . . do you think maybe you can grasp this concept? So please stay with the traditional home and away uniforms, and for the "souvenir buyers" go ahead and throw in an UTL home and away jersey. (But please lose the "bumble bee" look.) It might also be a nice idea if the Players/Coaches got together and decided what the "sock look" is going to be for each game. The way it is now, some guys wear short blues, some wear high blues. some wear short blues with a white sock showing a couple of inches above the blue, and some wear short blues with white leggings underneath. It reminds me of going to a Pop Warner League game.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

The traitional uniform is one of the most recogizable in the NCAA...... why toy around withwhat ain`t broke? IMHO some of the different uniforms they wear look silly... like they`e going to a costume party after the game.

Paul R Lamse

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Please add an "I couldn't care less" button.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

As is the case with going to the polls, if you don't want to vote, don't vote. Skim the article, snort, chortle, and move on.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Nothing offensive yet. Eventually we'll see the uniforms covered in Taco Bell, Old Spice, and Hooters ads- like Nascar drivers.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

I'm on the phone with a bank rep. about a transaction that didn't get posted. The fellow proudly tells me about his daughter working at Hooters and how much money she makes in tips. This will probably get deleted- but I just shared this story to illustrate the cultural changes in our society (which effect football), marketing, community standards.

Paul R Lamse

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

Hmmm. Hooters. I'd have to think about that one.

Rabid Wolverine

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

I'm taking the under! please, dear needs to be the under..


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

drop the bumble bee looking uniforms and could the shoes be entirely black instead of the half white look of last year.....I know it sounds petty, but why mess with the best traditional looking would be like changing the old English D on the Tiger's logo.....


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

what ever you do DO NOT MESS with the helmet. numbers are ok but that is it.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 11:32 a.m.

Really slow day, huh?


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 11:11 a.m.

It's all about $$$$. And that's really the only thing that David Brandon cares about. And since there is absolutely nobody in the university who can check him, he will do whatever he wants. So I think these uniforms are going to be changed up at his whim, and often. After all, it's $$$$ to him. To which I say, pathetic.

Rabid Wolverine

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

How is it about the money when I can only buy 1 of 3 of the alternate jerseys? If it was truely about money I could buy every one at a highly inflated price....


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 10:30 a.m.

So, different uniforms for different occasions. Being an old school fan I love the traditional look, always have and always will. I can't change what I feel but that being said, I realize that change is inevitable in an ever changing world and money talks. I hope they, the school doesn't change the ever famous winged helmet. I like the pure flavor of the winged helmet and I doubt tweeking the traditional appearance of it will increase the marketing revenue. Uniforms can bounce around in style but that winged helmet is what makes the Mich. Wolves stand a head above all other teams and their look.

Rob Pollard

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

The "Wolves"? Who ever calls a U of M team that, particularly someone who is "old school"?

Paul R Lamse

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

I don't think they'll touch the helmet. Not much money in that. No one that I know of buys the helmets. But I like the numbers on the helmets


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

Amen, Hailmary, Amen......