The school colors of the Oregon Ducks are green and yellow. The fans swarming Dallas for Monday's national championship game with Ohio State will be clad in those colors. The players, though, will be outfitted in white and silver/gray. Aside from an easy-to-miss yellow Nike swoosh on the socks, the uniforms are totally devoid of what makes the Ducks the Ducks.
Oregon, with its strong backing from Nike head Phil Knight, prides itself on the insane number of different uniforms looks, but virtually all of them incorporate some noticeable element of green and yellow. After all, those are the school colors. Yet, in the game where more people will watch Oregon football on TV than ever before, the Ducks ditched the colors. Instead, they look more like the road uniforms of the Oakland Raiders, not a team you want to be identified with when you're trying to win a championship.
The weird thing is that Oregon had first dibs on uniform colors for the game and made a conscious choice to eschew green and yellow.
According to Oregon spokesman Andy McNamara, Oregon was given first choice on uniforms and chose white-white-gray because it never doubles up combinations in the same season, and this combo hasn’t been used yet.
"It’s Oregon’s tradition to be untraditional when it comes to our athletic programs," McNamara told USA TODAY Sports. "We have a great relationship with Nike and the combined creativity with them allows us to do great things."
There is nothing great about these uniforms. In contrast, Ohio State's unis for the game are the traditional scarlet and white, with black numbers on the shoulder as a tribute to the 1968 championship team. It's a modern look that still honors tradition. Oregon's choice, in contrast, suggest nothing but a marketing attempt to sell a new uniform color combo.
The Ducks may be playing with fire here. This season, green or yellow was a component of every game uniform the players wore except one. That exception was the regular season game against Arizona, where the Ducks wore pink in honor of breast cancer awareness (no quibble with that). It was also the only loss of the season for the Ducks.