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Ranking Syracuse football’s 2016 uniform combinations

There were a lot. Which was best?

NCAA Football: South Florida at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange football team wore 12 different uniform combinations this fall -- one for each game. Some we liked. Others? Not so much. But with the season now over, why not rank all 12 to see which looks actually worked for SU (and which firmly did not)?

Keep in mind that how Syracuse played in each respective game doesn’t have any bearing on the ranking. Or at least it shouldn’t...

NCAA Football: South Florida at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

1. Game 3: vs. USF

“The classic.” Orange helmets, blue jerseys and orange pants. When Syracuse takes the field in this traditional combination, they’re instantly recognizable from a television viewing standpoint. And while that may not seem to matter much right now, it will once Dino Babers’s offense is fully operational. Maybe they’re not as popular with the players, but it’s probably the favored look among most of the team’s fans. More of this set, please!

NCAA Football: Colgate at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

2. Game 1: vs. Colgate

To open up the new season, the Orange wore... Orange. This look may resemble Virginia a whole lot more than Syracuse at first glance, but again, our team name is a color. This is bright and bold orange, and it’s a solid inverted take on the original (see no. 1) without being too loud. This is another set I wouldn’t mind seeing more more of.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

3. Game 2: vs. Louisville

ALL ORANGE EVERYTHING. Again, ignoring the outcome, this is a great look for SU. The all-orange isn’t an EVERY home game thing, mind you. But I’d be fine if they broke this one out two or three times out of six or seven home games per year. The shades of orange all match, it speaks directly to the team name, and maybe with enough wear, Nike will finally make these available for fans...

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4. Game 12: at Pittsburgh

Syracuse’s classic road look. Again, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to uniforms (“get off my lawn!”), so anything that calls back to what Orange football used to look like is fine by me. You’re probably sensing a theme at this point that the more orange featured, the more I’m in favor. And you’d be right. I doubt I’m alone there.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

5. Game 6: at Wake Forest

This is one that’s probably shrouded in the loss and hurricane conditions they were worn in, but the orange/white/blue road set isn’t a bad one at all. Again, features orange, so a positive right away. And the blue gets tied into every element of the set. There’s no mismatching like you’ll see later on. Plus, orange gloves? This is a winner.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Boston College Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

6. Game 8: at Boston College

The stormtrooper look. While it’s light on orange (though nice touches with cleats, socks, gloves), the all-white is a pretty clean look overall. It’s also not incredibly forgiving for some of the team’s heavier players in the trenches. Still, no complaints when Syracuse trots this one out (and really, would prefer it over most of the other road sets).

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Connecticut Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

7. Game 4: at UConn

All white on top, and then a jump to orange is slightly disjointed -- or at least more disjointed than the all-white set. Wearing two separate colors as uniform elements just works much better if they alternate (see: blue/orange/blue). Again, the orange cleats, gloves and towels all help, but it’s still abrupt from one half to the other.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

8. Game 11: Florida State

The creamsicle uniforms immediately evoked images of the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ duds. SU’s play in the game vs. Florida State did a lot to bring back that imagery as well, sadly. And maybe that was the biggest problem here. They just didn’t LOOK like Syracuse, especially when the helmets really do nothing to grab at the blue elements on the jerseys and pants. Not as disjointed as the option no. 7. But the team looks much less familiar.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

9. Game 7: Virginia Tech

This is the game that gave PLATINUM a second life. Again, (overwhelmingly positive) results aside, there are some redeeming qualities about the PLATINUM set when it’s paired with orange. The orange helmet gets tied through with orange sleeves, socks and cleats, so it looks like you’re wearing a set that’s meant to go together. Not that I’m campaigning for PLATINUM, but perhaps next time we go this route (and we will), try out the orange pants?

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

10. Game 9: at Clemson

It just doesn’t look like Syracuse, dammit! It’s not even that objectionable if you remove that element of it, really. The blue/white/blue set is a classic combination for any team and it avoids the sort of color-block we see in a couple other sets this year. That said, the orange is lost, relegated to the block S and portions of the numbers. Those white facemasks were also not great (you’ll see them again below).

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

11. Game 10: NC State

CAMMMMMMMOOOOOOO! Listen, totally get the military appreciation angle here, and Babers’s own family ties as well as Syracuse’s, too. That’s not the part we’re disputing here. It’s just... you took the one part of this set that had some orange in it (the block S) and you made it camouflage gray. We basically look like Georgetown’s football team if Georgetown football ever made it to a television set. As a Syracuse ORANGE uniform, firmly dislike this look.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame vs Syracuse Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

12. Game 5: Notre Dame

Bright side: Orange remains on the helmet, and the numbers are orange. On the other hand: Everything else. SU goes color-block for the helmet and jersey in blue, then all the extra elements (gloves, etc.) fail to tie in any orange. The stark white pants just look odd, and it’s almost made worse by the white facemasks (again, why were these a thing?). Among the most important factors here: If you saw this game on TV, would you recognize this as SU? The answer is a firm no.


That’s one person’s take on Syracuse’s 12 uniform combinations from the 2016 season, but there are probably plenty more opinions to be had here. Feel like you have a better ranking system? Go ahead and share below.