I'm very much a traditionalist when it comes to college jerseys. If your school has great jerseys, wear the same uniforms, game in and game out, year in and year out. Leave the clown suits for the lesser schools and Notre Dame.
I'm almost offended when I turn on the TV and see a team with traditionally beautiful and unique uniforms almost seeming to try to see how ugly its uniforms can be. (If you don't care for UNC's traditional look, there are a multitude of other schools which could be inserted in its place.)
So what I'll remember most from that travesty of a basketball game Saturday night in Lawrence wasn't so much the 30-point beatdown -- hey, what's new for University Of Texas Athletics this year? -- as it was seeing Texas break out those hideous, Nike-designed black jerseys for the game. (A number of Nike schools have been wearing similarly-designed jerseys for one road game this season, with typically horrendous results.)
As bad as these jerseys were, though, I'm not sure they're quite as bad as the black jerseys Texas broke out once, and just once, back in December 2005. Unfortunately, that 2005 game was a #1 vs. #2 matchup against Duke, so many more viewers presumably saw those jerseys than those who saw whatever that was we were wearing in Lawrence.
Now I realize that, at Texas, basketball ain't football, and there's probably a bit more permissible wiggle room for experimentation with basketball jerseys than there'd be for messing with the football jerseys in even the minutest of ways. Thankfully, Texas seems to have resisted any efforts by Nike to mess with our in-game football jerseys (if Nike has in fact made any suggestions to mess with them), leaving our own personal burnt-orange-and-black football clown suits for the practice field.
Texas basketball also has a history with third jerseys, specifically the gray jerseys which the Running Horns would wear for big games in the Tom Penders era and which Texas has worn on occasion over the years since, including against Iowa State just a few days ago.
But at least gray is a neutral color which doesn't overpower our school colors. Wearing all black, on the other hand, takes away practically all of our visual uniqueness. It's not our color, and when we wear it, we're just another school wearing black for black's sake.
Please, Texas: the next time Nike asks you to wear black just because all the other kids are doing it, just say no. We're Texas. We don't need to be just another cog in the Nike marketing machine. We should be bigger than that.
So what was the worst jersey our basketball team has worn -- this season at Kansas, or against Duke in 2005? Or am I just a middle-aged fuddy-duddy who doesn't recognize just how cool and hip wearing black at Nike's bequest makes us look?