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Ranking Syracuse football’s previous uniforms

We’re kicking off Uniform Week the only way we know how; FOOTBALL STUFF.

Marvin Harrison

Yes, that’s my music you hear playing, as this gives me a chance to pull out my uniform tinted shades, and bring you all the uniform content John makes me publish to

First up, HISTORICAL FOOTBALL RANKINGS! We’re going to rank the modern (read: 1990 and on) football jerseys of the Syracuse Orange. Yes, I’m right, you’re wrong, and this subjective ranking is the end all be all.

One (foodlion) big note: these rankings are based purely on aesthetic, not actual on-field performance. Sure, some uniforms have had better memories than others, but those memories will have no impact on the rankings. CUE THE WALK OFF.

#7: GERG’s 2006-07

Pittsburgh Panthers v Syracuse Orange Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Okay, I swear, this ranking is not tied to the lethargic, boring, overly complicated with simple premises football era the jerseys were worn in. It’s just that these jerseys are boring, overly complicated with simple premises, and downright ugly. The striping on the shoulders is obtrusive, while the different shade of orange on the pants striping is frankly inexcusable. The numbering on the jerseys and helmet is far too flat, and to cap it all off, the only white is on the facemask of all places. A really disjointed attempt at a “simple” jersey.

#6: 2008-09 Update

Football - NCAA - Penn State vs Syracuse Photo by Jerome Davis /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

It’s amazing how simple changes can improve a jersey template so much. Adding outlines to the numbers and the logo is already a big improvement, and while the white accent to the striping may be a bit loud, it at least matches the number and provides consistency to the helmet, jersey, and pants. I’m still going to ding this jersey for two different shades of orange on the helmet and pants, as well as obtrusive shoulder stripes, but this look is far better than it’s predecessor.

#5: 44 BRAND-A-Palooza

New Uniforms, Up-Close at SU Football Reception in Los Angeles

The “hottest” take of this ranking is making the platinum mess of jersey out of the basement and into mediocrity, but I have good reasons. First and foremost, all colors in this set are consistent, if maybe not ideal. I never loved the shading of orange, let alone it’s faded color in the white and navy tops, but at least it’s the same used on helmets and the later orange top added to the set. Secondly, the shoulder and pant hatching, while odd, at least at some reason for being there (44 degree angles)and was minimal enough to make the base jersey and pant somewhat clean in design for patch placement. Finally, the “Battle Axe” logo was a criminally underused secondary mark that is probably headed to the archives, but had a great design premise in paying homage to the soldiers at nearby Fort Drum.

#4: Modern Basics

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - West Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images

Consistent orange? Check. Racing stripe on pants? Check. orange-blue-orange home combination? Also check. Overall, this jersey may have been pretty basic in design elements, but it shows less is more when dealing with a color like orange. I understand there needed to be some kind of shoulder design to continue the “look” Nike and Syracuse wanted, but the single piping on the shoulder only seemed lazy and out of place, even if it does provide some needed orange on the jerseys. What worked so well about these jerseys was that the ample space on the chests meant that as many as 3 different patches could all fit without ruining the look, as seen above.

#3: Classic Jersey

This jersey evokes what most people think of when “classic collegiate” jersey is mentioned: big block numbers with a primary color outline, no logo helmet with racing stripe, and the color accent color, which for ‘Cuse was white with orange tint at home, a nice clear look. The pants are what we all want for Syracuse Football: orange with the white and blue stripe, and work with both home and road jerseys. Why isn’t this look in the top two? Because it’s simple and just a tad too boring, while the top 2 do just a hair more with the core elements of an Orange jersey.

#2: Modern Classic

Do the current uniforms suffer from this era’s combination obsessed rotation? Yes, there are too many combinations of helmet-jersey-pant that just don’t work nearly well enough to make this overall style the best. (Just look at the far left of this photo for two examples.) However, the “traditional” home and road looks are stellar, with all white and all orange options that work very well all things considered. It’s because, like so many jerseys, the pants let the racing stripe accent break up the orange, and adding the stripe horizontally to the shoulders was a brilliant move to create consistency in look from the helmet down. However, I don’t love the monochrome collar, as I wish they had emulated the 90’s with the third color added as piping around the top of the collar, and I really don’t love the “SYRACUSE” or “ORANGE” on the chest, breaking up a traditional clean jersey top.

#1: Drop Shadow Era

Kickoff Classic - Wisconsin Badgers v Syracuse Orangemen

This jersey will always be the cream of the crop. Racing stripe on pants with similar stripe on the ends of the sleeves, numbers with a drop shadow, an accent collar, and simple, traditional helmet. Overall, the home and road look are evergreen and would hold up in any era of football. Hell, there was an orange jersey that worked in an all orange combination, the holy grail for ‘Cuse fans. While the current jersey does what it can to emulate Syracuse tradition, it doesn’t have the drop shadow, or the clean chest that makes this jersey an all-time great.

So what do you think? How would you rank these jerseys? Let us know in the comments, even though this ranking the final, absolute, end all be all ranking.