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Colorado Buffaloes Football Uniforms: Past and Soon-to-Be Present

As a countdown to the new unis to be released on Friday, I thought it would be fun to look at which prior uniforms (sky blue onward) were hits and which didn't quite make the cut.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

This Friday, a new era of Buffs uniforms will be revealed. Thanks to the impressive investigative work of @BupsJones we have a good idea that we will be seeing new combinations of helmets, jerseys and pants in whiteblack and silver. While the talk around the town is that only minor changes are in order, a fresh look on Saturdays will be nice, and hopefully it brings along fresh success on the field.

To help celebrate the coming of these new uniforms, I'll be looking at some of the combos the Buffs have tried since the disgusting blue-sky uniforms in the early 80's and arbitrarily rating them in a completely unscientific and biased way. Here we go!

Last: Blue Sky Uniform-1980-84

Ouch. These are unequivocally the worst uniforms in the history of the school. The only reason they exist is a mandated change by the regents away from the black jerseys that we all know and love. So, instead of just using the school colors like some of us may think to do, they decide to show off Colorado's sky and plaster themselves in Charger colors. I'm sure somewhere, somehow, there is someone who thinks that these belong in the uni hall of fame, but for this writer, forgetting about them would be just fine. Chuck Fairbanks resigned after the '81 season (thank you to NiwotJ for the correction) and Bill McCartney inherited a mess on the field, from both the uniforms and the team itself. In 1984, the blue was darkened, presumably to look more badass. The effort failed, and the unis died a slow and painful death before McCartney switched to black full-time.

#5: The "Dan Hawkins" Jerseys, 2007-2011

(Source: Wikipedia)

They don't look too bad in these renderings, largely because the golds match. I appreciate Nike and CU trying something new and half-modern with their top. All the stripes and lines scream "2000's new age", which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely wore out its welcome to me. Somehow, this article is praising these uniforms as the third best in college football when the picture he chose disproves that point. THE GOLD ON THE HELMET IS ABOUT TWENTY SHADES DARKER THAN THE GOLD ON THE PANTS. *sigh*. They tried, and you have to give them credit for that. Unfortunately for this iteration of the Buffs, the other uniforms in this era of CU are all some of the best in college football.

#4-#2: McCartney Era Greatness + Throwbacks

(Source: Wikipedia)


These three uniforms are essentially the same, but there are some slight differences that put differentiate them. Let's start with #4, the current version of the iconic CU look. It is essentially the same as the early nineties version, with some minor changes. The stripes on the shoulder are a little larger, and this may just be me, but I feel like the gold is a little brighter. Not too different, but enough for me to bump it down. Also, we lost a lot more in these jerseys.



I apologize for the screenshots, but it was the only place I could find a great picture of this uniform. The body of this uni is the same as #2, but the numbers were updated with a silver trim  WITHIN the numbers. At the very worst, it's interesting to look at. At the very best, it's a better version of the Original McCartney's. Speaking of those...

(Source: Denver Post)


One of the longest tenured uniforms in Colorado history is also one of its best. Man oh man, are these pretty. As shown by cover model and my favorite Buff, Darian Hagan, this jersey was one of the most unique in college football during its time and definitely one of its most stylish. They are one of the first schools to put their name on the front of the jerseys (at least according to Dave Plaiti), and also one of the only schools to have black as the main color way back when. There's a lot of great memories in these uniforms, and they are just as clean now as they were back then. Black and Gold.

#1: Gary Barnett Era Uniforms- 1998- 2007?

ALL BLACK. ALL BAD. These are by far my favorite CU uniforms, and everything henceforth is put up to these beauties as a measuring stick. I don't want to say too much here at the risk of devolving into a giddy hype-machine for the best jerseys in the business, but man oh man are they pretty. Now, I'm not talking about the entire uniform, though in this picture Chris Brown does look all sorts of great as he slices through that Cornhusker defense (obligatory 62-36). I love that throughout the entire uniform, not one color variation could be found. If you wore a black top with gold pants, it was all black with all gold pants. These were lean on trim and detail and high on awesome. I don't know. These just made CU look the best.

Before I finish, I would love to give a shout-out to Matthew Robins, aka @BupsJones, for all of the help he gave me on the research for this article. I was floundering around the internet before I asked the smartest guy in the uniform closet where to look. As promised, here is the picture he would like included:

Yes, that is legendary lineman Joe Romig rocking the silver and black with Fred "Count" Casotti. I wouldn't mind those making a comeback, but Romig did wear it fantastically enough back then.

There have been lots of other looks and tweaks throughout the years (tons of images are included in the CU Info Guide & Record Book), including the awesome throwbacks worn against Wyoming in 2009, but tomorrow starts a new era for the Buffs.

Let me know what your favorite CU uni is in the comments below!