Photos have been leaking out for the past month or so of new helmets and uniforms for the University of Houston. As an alum, I'd like to offer up an opinion on the proposed new looks -- yes, looks, as in multiple looks. And my basic opinion is, enough already.
The Cougars just got new uniforms, helmets and logos last season. They also changed looks during the Kevin Sumlin era. During the Art Briles era, the Cougars added blue to the look. Rayner Noble's baseball team had about 60 different combinations of colors, including dark blue and dark gray.
I get that this is how college sports works nowadays. That when Nike says wear these uniforms, you wear these uniforms because Nike's handing out a bunch of cash. But would it really be such a bad thing to stick with one look for a couple of seasons?
The Cougars are proposing a silver chrome helmet (with the logo barely recognizable) on top of a red jersey. There's the white helmet with the red interlocking UH worn with an all-white uniform. There's a red helmet with the gray Cougar logo worn with a gray uniform. And of course, there's the all-red uniform with the shiny red helmet and shiny gray Cougar logo.
Stop it. Please, stop it. I know I'm getting old. I know I'm not the intended audience for the uniforms. And I'm definitely not in the intended demographic -- high school football player searching for a reason to attend UH. I know that Oregon and Boise State have sold their souls to Nike. But damn it, Houston Cougar colors are red and white, not red, white, gray, chrome, silver, black, blue, orange, purple, brown, green, yellow and on and on and on.
If the Cougars want to recruit the best football players, the key is winning. Kids don't go to Oregon because of the million-plus uniform combinations, the kids go to Oregon because they know they're going to win football games, they're going to be on television, they're going to play in bowl games and they're going to get the chance to compete for the national championship.
Kids don't go to Boise State because of the blue turf or the uniforms. The kids go to Boise State because they're on TV, because it has a fun offense and because they're going to go to a bowl game.
It's not the uniforms or helmets or logo or colors that matter. Those are just optics. What matters is what the team does on the field. Does the team win games? Does the head coach "fire" his offensive coordinator after the first game of the season? Is there a plan for the future that includes the kid being recruited? Is the NCAA about to announce sanctions? Will the team be on television?
It doesn't matter what uniforms the Cougars use. If the team doesn't win games, the top recruits aren't going to come to the school. If the team doesn't win, nobody's going to watch the team on television, no matter how bright and shiny the helmets look.
But my opinion doesn't really matter. If UH wants new uniforms and helmets, the school is going to get new uniforms and helmets. Maybe the uniforms will allow the school to recruit a few players who wouldn't otherwise be interested in coming to the school. But in the end, if the Cougars really want to recruit the elite athletes, then stop stressing out over new uniforms. The key is winning football games and going to bowl games, year after year after year.
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And if the Cougars keep having losing seasons with the coaching staff seemingly changing after each loss, it's not going to matter how bright and shiny the helmets look because no top recruit will want to play there.
So just do it, Cougars. Just go out and win football games. That's all that counts. Not bright, shiny helmets that blind those in the stands trying to watch the game. Just win and everything will work out.
Just that simple.