Uniform of the Week: Ohio State embraces its dark side

On Saturday night, Ohio State will be holding its first ever black out, encouraging fans to come dressed for the nationally televised primetime matchup with Penn State to wear black. The football team will do its part by breaking out a brand new alternate black uniform, complete with a black football helmet. Let’s start at the top with a look at the helmet.

Ohio State’s signature helmet is a classic look with its silver dome and white-scarlet-white striping down the middle and Buckeye pride stickers for good contributions on the field. Ohio State has tweaked that classic look to give it  a more modern feel at times and the Buckeyes have even gone with a different look for past alternate uniform combinations. This is the first time the Buckeyes have abandoned either one of the school’s official colors for the dominant featured color. Running back Ezekiel Elliott gave us a look this week on Twitter.

I can not tell for sure, but it looks to me as though this black helmet sticks to the traditional width with the triple-stripe feature down the middle of the helmet. Compare what we see above with these traditional helmet stripes with these modified stripes. The modified stripes are fatter, especially the white stripes. So the big difference here is the silver on the helmet has been replaced with black, including on the face mask. It also looks as though the helmet has a matte finish. As a fan of matte finish on helmets, that is a solid move for Ohio State. Notice the stripes still seem to reflect well, which should stand out a bit more on a matte black finish helmet.

Now, have a look at the jersey…

At first glance, this seems like an alternate jersey worn by Rutgers. The black jersey features red numbering outlined in reflective gray. The Ohio State logo is placed right at the bottom of the neckline, which has become a regular feature of Nike jerseys (even Penn State is doing it). You can also see the regular stripe pattern on the shoulders, which is a regular feature on Ohio State’s uniforms. This time the white stripes are the regular feature, but again, this feels like a perfect place to keep silver on the uniform.

The uniform is made complete with black pants and shoes, which you can see in the featured image at the top of this post. Ohio State traditionally wears silver pants, but has mixed in white over the past year. Once again, Ohio State and Nike swapped out the silver legs for black, complete with the white-scarlet-white triple stripe pattern down the sides. Just like on the regular shoulder stripes, white is the regular color used to surround the scarlet stripe down the legs. However, I will say this feels like a third missed opportunity to mix in some silver.

This is expected to be a huge recruiting weekend for Ohio State, which is to be expected. The Buckeyes face Michigan on the road this season and Michigan State later at home in November, meaning Penn State is the biggest game on the home schedule for Ohio State at a perfect time on the calendar for recruiting buzz. These two teams have played primetime games a number of time sin more recent years, and that is always a good setting for a big recruiting sales pitch. That alone should be enough to excite potential Buckeyes, but we all know throwing out a sharp alternate uniform gets just as much buzz, if not more, and high school kids love this stuff. It’s gimmicky, and more blueblood programs are getting into the trend in some capacity or another. I may feel inclined to give Ohio State’s all-black look a thumbs down, but it will surely be a hit with those it targets. And that’s all that matters in the end for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.


About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to NBCSports.com. Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.