Illinois is undergoing a bit of a rebranding effort, although the changes are pretty subtle compared to where the Illini are coming from. As far as football is concerned, the Illini got some decent updates to a look that did not really need all that much work. In fact, compared to the new uniforms Syracuse unveiled, the Illini look to have received the better facelift. These are the uniforms Syracuse should have used.
Illinois is one of the few schools out there that can successfully wear two different colors for home games and get away with it. Let’s start with the blue uniform, which is pretty darn good.
The first thing that stands out is the white numbers. There is nothing too fancy here and the designers did not go overboard with trying to sneak in a special design or anything. This is just a plain white number in a unique font style and it works. Simplicity is beautiful sometimes and that is what makes Illinois look good in these blue uniforms. As you would expect, orange trim on the neck and shoulders compliments the blue look and the secondary Illinois logo at the bottom of the neck looks solid. It is called the Victory Badge and it is designed to actually pay tribute to Memorial Stadium’s columns, a nice touch. Pair this jersey with the orange helmet and Illinois will have a good look on Saturdays at home whether they wear blue pants or orange (preferably the orange pants).
The Illini will also have an orange uniform to choose from, and it is not all that bad. It keeps the same bold white lettering but reverses the trim color to blue to compliment the orange jersey. This is may not look quite as good as the familiar blue uniforms but Illinois still looks good in orange. Illinois did model these jerseys with orange pants, which is OK every now and then, but I would hope to see this jersey paired with blue pants though because there can be such a thing as too much orange.
Staying true to the overall look at home, Illinois will have a white jersery for road games that will look sharp. The numbers are filled in with orange and outlined in blue trim and the neckline and shoulders get a touch of blue as well. Overall, absolutely no complaints here.
But what about the white helmet?
Illinois joins the white helmet craze going on in college football, which I generally frown upon, but they make it work for some reason. I imagine the Illini will wear the white helmet for a handful of road games but would love to see them pair this great white jersey with the orange helmet as the primary road uniform. The helmet has the orange “I” outlined in blue and it goes very well with this jersey. I imagine we will see the all-white look from Illinois, but I think the white jersey would go well with blue or orange pants as well.
This is everything Syracuse should have done with their uniforms. There is no comparing the two. Illinois could have followed some other trends around college football like a grey alternate jersey, but they stayed away from that (for now) and put together three jerseys that are easily identifiable in a port with plenty of blue and orange teams. They did not go overboard on designs, kept things relatively simple and come away with a look no player would look silly wearing. Great look for Illinois.
Now if they can just win some football games…