's 2014 Big Ten football uniform poll

Everybody enjoys a good football uniform. Already home to some of the game’s most iconic uniforms, the Big Ten will garner even more attention for its designs with Maryland and Rutgers’ arrival. Who has the best uniforms? We asked five college football writers to help us form’s 2014 Big Ten uniform poll.

The voters: Steven Lassan, Andrew Lind, Stewart Mandel, Chris Vannini and Jim Weber, in addition to’s Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina.

Voters ranked the Big Ten uniforms, from 1-14, considering each team’s full ensemble (home, away, alternates, throwbacks, primary helmet and alternate helmets), with a first-place vote receiving one point, a second-place vote two points, and so on.

[ MORE: View our uniform-centric Clothes Call section ]

1. Ohio State – 21 (3, 2, 2, 1, 3, 1, 6, 3)

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

2. Michigan – 23 (1, 1, 1, 4, 2, 2, 10, 2)

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

3. Penn State – 30 (2, 3, 3, 3, 10, 5, 3, 1)

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

4. Michigan State – 45 (8, 5, 6, 7, 4, 3, 2, 10)

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

5. Nebraska – 49 (5, 4, 4, 11, 6, 6, 7, 6)

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

6. Northwestern – 55 (7, 9, 9, 8, 1, 11, 5, 5)

 Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

7. Iowa – 58 (4, 6, 5, 6, 12, 4, 14, 7)

Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

8. Wisconsin – 64 (6, 7, 7, 12, 7, 7, 9, 9)

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

9. Minnesota – 65 (10, 10, 11, 2, 8, 8, 12, 4)

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

10. Maryland – 72 (12, 8, 12, 10, 5, 12, 1, 12)

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

11. Illinois – 86 (9, 13, 14, 5, 9, 10, 13, 13)



11. Purdue – 86 (14, 11, 13, 9, 11, 9, 8, 11)

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

13. Rutgers – 90 (11, 12, 8, 14, 13, 14, 4, 14)

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

14. Indiana – 96 (13, 14, 10, 13, 14, 13, 11, 8)

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports


Some quick thoughts:

  • No big surprises with the top three (Ohio State, Michigan & Penn State), the Big Ten’s most iconic uniforms.
  • Five teams (Michigan, Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State & Penn State) received at least one first-place vote.
  • Michigan had the most first-place votes (3), but still finished second.
  • Five teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State & Penn State) received at least one second-place vote.
  • Maryland was the most polarizing uniform, with a first-place vote and several 12th-place votes.


Here’s how each person voted:

Steward Mandel (@slmandel),
1. Michigan
2. Penn State
3. Ohio State
4. Iowa
5. Nebraska
6. Wisconsin
7. Northwestern
8. Michigan State
9. Illinois
10. Minnesota
11. Rutgers
12. Maryland
13. Indiana
14. Purdue

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven),
1. Michigan
2. Ohio State
3. Penn State
4. Nebraska
5. Michigan State
6. Iowa
7. Wisconsin
8. Maryland
9. Northwestern
10. Minnesota
11. Purdue
12. Rutgers
13. Illinois
14. Indiana

Jim Weber (@JimMWeber),
1. Michigan
2. Ohio State
3. Penn State
4. Nebraska
5. Iowa
6. Michigan State
7. Wisconsin
8. Rutgers
9. Northwestern
10. Indiana
11. Minnesota
12. Maryland
13. Purdue
14. Illinois

Andrew Lind (@sbnuniforms),
1. Ohio State
2. Minnesota
3. Penn State
4. Michigan
5. Illinois
6. Iowa
7. Michigan State
8. Northwestern
9. Purdue
10. Maryland
11. Nebraska
12. Wisconsin
13. Indiana
14. Rutgers

Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini),
1. Northwestern
2. Michigan
3. Ohio State
4. Michigan State
5. Maryland
6. Nebraska
7. Wisconsin
8. Minnesota
9. Illinois
10. Penn State
11. Purdue
12. Iowa
13. Rutgers
14. Indiana

Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart),
1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Michigan State
4. Iowa
5. Penn State
6. Nebraska
7. Wisconsin
8. Minnesota
9. Purdue
10. Illinois
11. Northwestern
12.  Maryland
13.  Indiana
14. Rutgers

Sean Merriman (@BTNSean),
1. Maryland
2. Michigan State
3. Penn State
4. Rutgers
5. Northwestern
6. Ohio State
7. Nebraska
8. Purdue
9. Wisconsin
10. Michigan
11. Indiana
12. Minnesota
13. Illinois
14. Iowa

Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina),
1. Penn State
2. Michigan
3. Ohio State
4. Minnesota
5. Northwestern
6. Nebraska
7. Iowa
8. Indiana
9. Wisconsin
10. Michigan State
11. Purdue
12. Maryland
13. Illinois
14. Rutgers


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (47 Comments)
Kyle on 7/21/2014 @ 2:12pm EDT Said:

So Ohio State is #1 Wisconsin is #8, and Indiana is #14. I’m not a fan of any, but they are essentially the same uniform except OSU uses gray and Wisconsin/Indiana uses white. And the buckeyes. If this is really an aesthetics poll that makes no sense. It’s no surprise the schools with the top 3 fanbases got 1-3 in their exact order.

Jacob on 7/21/2014 @ 2:25pm EDT Said:

Of course the Big Ten would put Ohio State and Michigan first, those are the only programs they care about.

Personally, I’d put Penn State’s uniforms first. Maryland would be last based solely on those horrible helmets.

    Brent Yarina, Senior Editor on 7/21/2014 @ 2:27pm EDT Said:

    Jacob – It was a poll consisting of five national writers and three writers, not anything done by the Big Ten.

Jacob on 7/21/2014 @ 2:38pm EDT Said:

Fair enough, Brent. But, Shawne Merriman’s list should of been cut. He obviously let his homerism for his alma mater block any reason.

Ryan on 7/21/2014 @ 2:40pm EDT Said:

So in other words, the performance of the team makes the uniform. This was probably a waste of time.

Andy McIntosh on 7/21/2014 @ 2:51pm EDT Said:

So you basically had a fashion poll and you included no women voters? I’d say that was a missed opportunity.

Jeff on 7/21/2014 @ 3:00pm EDT Said:

Jacob—-The Shawn Merriman who voted on this list is NOT the same Shawne Merriman who played football at Maryland. Two different guys. Fooled me at first.

Steve on 7/21/2014 @ 3:57pm EDT Said:

There is nothing special about Ohio State’s uniform. It’s not even distinctive in a simplistic way, like Penn St. or Nebraska. Also,I’m not a Maryland fan, but I love their uniforms.

cubano76 on 7/21/2014 @ 4:29pm EDT Said:

Hey, just curious when exactly did Sean Merriman (@BTNSean) lose his eye sight? I hope is doing well these days and recovered well from whatever it was that cause his vision to go. #poorfella

Maury on 7/21/2014 @ 4:58pm EDT Said:

As a Terrapin fan, I’m not going to comment much about the B1G legacy teams. It’s a conference rich in tradition and I wouldn’t expect to see a lot of change in things like Uniforms. Maryland used to roll out a new uniform, and it would be incremental change – maybe barely perceptible to most fans. Some of the new ones I like a lot, some, not so crazy about them, but never bored, and the kids love ’em.

With UA as a sponsor, and with it’s strong ties to the school, it’s no shock to see wholesale change on an almost game by game basis. When you have a contest like this, picking some random uniform from any given game is almost meaningless. I suspect most critics, especially those who like the least ornate uniforms like PSU’s, would probably like Maryland’s White Ops uniforms.

Chaz on 7/21/2014 @ 5:12pm EDT Said:

What is this? A fashion show? The best color uniforms are muddy, covered with grass stains and blood from a real football game on a real football field. Sorry, I’m just kind of old-school when it comes to the game.

maryam on 7/21/2014 @ 5:30pm EDT Said:

Folks like Jacob make fools of themselves with stupid comments that makes no damn sense at all.

hadley smith on 7/21/2014 @ 5:40pm EDT Said:

I don’t know what Sean Merriman has got against Michigan and O st. but putting maryland over them and also P st. is just so stupid. Like cubano said, he must of lost his eyesight and just picked whatever he could see–if anything. You’ll notice that there’s a “1” listed under Maryland’s voting–its no doubt his vote. Well, I’m demanding a recount, or get a judge that can tell the difference between ugly uni’s (Maryland’s–sry terp fans) and great iconic uni’s (mich, p st & o st)

Al Pittman on 7/21/2014 @ 6:30pm EDT Said:

Who give a damn, If my Hoosiers could win with “X” & “)”‘s on their uniform, I’d take it in a heartbeat!

StvInEvanston on 7/21/2014 @ 8:09pm EDT Said:

Ever notice that the professional media types they ask to comment on uniforms are more often than not two parts shallow and one part bandwagon jumper? The gist is that it’s real easy to jump on the bandwagon of a winning team, you feel me?

Case in point; Michigan’s uniform is unique. That’s a given with that helmet with the Chrysler striping. By the same token, a skunk is unique. But do people say, oh, what a beautiful skunk? You can easily pick these people out when they have Michigan in their top 4 uniforms in the conference.

The ban wagon part comes solely from this; Michigan has 910 total wins in football. This is more than any other college football team. And for my money, their uniforms are in the bottom 4 of ANY conference. Penn State is kinda in the same boat. Their uniforms are definitely not ugly. What they are is just rather basic. Nobody looking for sexy thumbs through a publication looking for basic.

StvInEvanston on 7/21/2014 @ 8:41pm EDT Said:

Mind you, coming out of high school, way back when, there is not one of these uniforms I would not want to wear.
Red is too common, but at least OSU and Maryland break up the red and white with something else.
I do like the brighter colors and I have a strong appreciation for that MSU Spartan head and the Iowa Hawk head. Both are unique and attractive logo’s.

14. Purdue
13. Minnesota
12. Michigan
11. Rutgers
10. Indiana
09. Penn State
08. Nebraska
07. Illinois
06. Wisconsin
05. Northwestern
04. Ohio State
03. Michigan State
02. Iowa
01. Maryland

Ian Wilz on 7/21/2014 @ 9:17pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin’s are too low, Northwestern’s are WAY to high, and Maryland’s are hideously UGLY. NW’s stupid stripe is horrible and Maryland’s flag helmet is UGLY!

The dude that put Wisconsin 12 is obviously on something…but then again he did put Minnesota #2.

Jacque Lantz Petersen on 7/21/2014 @ 9:30pm EDT Said:

I am not a Minnesota hater but those are the UGLIEST colors of any school.
What color blind people picked them??? NOT art majors!!! lol

mark on 7/21/2014 @ 9:38pm EDT Said:

Please football season start so we’re not subjected to BTN doing anything to keep interest up.

GO on vacation already then come back when there’s something interesting to write about.

paversity on 7/21/2014 @ 9:42pm EDT Said:

Perhaps you’ve never done a judging contest like this before, but it would have made sense to throw out the lowest and the highest ranking for each school to mitigate one person throwing off an otherwise consensus ranking with an extreme vote. Adjusted, I believe the ranking looks something like this:

01.) Michigan (12 pts)
02.) Ohio State (14 pts)
03.) Penn State (19 pts)
04.) Michigan State (33 pts)
05.) Nebraska (34 pts)
06.) Iowa (40 pts)
07.) Northwestern (43 pts)
08.) Wisconsin (46 pts)
09.) Minnesota (51 pts)
10.) Maryland (59 pts)
11.) Purdue (64 pts)
12.) Illinois (67 pts)
13.) Rutgers (72 pts)
14.) Indiana (74 pts)

Justin on 7/21/2014 @ 10:43pm EDT Said:

I’m pretty sure these writers just put the Buckeyes first for everything. Nobody else has maize and blue nationally, but another red uniform gets # 1?

Tom H on 7/21/2014 @ 11:19pm EDT Said:

Sean Merriman’s rankings are absurd. If you want Maryland to have any credibility as a true member of the B1G, you are doing it wrong. Bush league. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Carl on 7/22/2014 @ 8:41am EDT Said:

I’m so tired of fans crying that the Big Ten only cares about Ohio State and Michigan no matter what’s being talked about. Let it go or play better. Also, I have no problems with the list except Michigan State should be ahead of michigan, just like in everything else.

orlando on 7/22/2014 @ 8:55am EDT Said:

Im an Ohio state fan. the throwback and special uniforms are usually just as boring as the game set.

chris on 7/22/2014 @ 10:12am EDT Said:

Rutgers has the coolest helmets in college football outside of Oregon. That alone should get them higher on this list. Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana, are all atrocious uniform-wise… horrible poll.

Big Man on 7/22/2014 @ 10:19am EDT Said:

So let’s review the article judging numbers….
Ohio had 3,2,2,1,3,1,6,3
Michigan had 1,1,1,4,2,2,10,2

That is 4 first place votes 3 second place votes for Michigan..Michigan had one other vote of 4.

Ohio had 2 first place votes 2 second place votes 3 third place votes.

But ONE guy voted 10 for Michigan….the average makes Michigan THE BEST….Throwing out one high and one low vote.

Which is how averages are calculated. But some reason they did the total? Because one Ohio guy voted ten against Michigan even after 6 of the 8 considered Michigan best or second and the 7th put them at worst 4th…makes Ohio best? Even adding them with the 10 makes Ohio a one point favorite?

Who adds the total? It is the AVERAGE SCORE..THE MEAN..

Pretty lame.

Chris on 7/22/2014 @ 10:26am EDT Said:

This is dumb. theO$U uniforms are butt-fugly. But I guess they do befit that program, lol

Martin on 7/22/2014 @ 10:40am EDT Said:

How about adding some comments from those who did the ranking with reasons of why they placed them in the order they did. Just posting the rankings without some kind of explanations is meaningless.

Michael Cassell on 7/22/2014 @ 11:12am EDT Said:

Enough on the MD hate out there. These unis were judged on all the combinations, and the MD unis shown in the picture above are not the best I must agree. (Background story though is that the helmets shown in fact were all hand painted and the picture does not do them justice, and I will admit the “standard” helmet is not well liked among the fan base.) But go look at MD’s “white ops” and “black ops” uniforms… those are unique and excellent — probably good enough to be near the top of the best single uniforms in the conference. With lots of uniform combinations there are some hits and misses, but I think they are better as a whole than many of you will give them credit for — seems the B1G prefers simple iconic uniforms to anything attempting to be interesting. And that’s ok, that’s just who we are.

As for the MD flag, it is unique – definitely not boring like many state flags – and I can understand a little why some would think it is ugly. I don’t agree and think it very cool though probably a little overused, but maybe it is an acquired taste.

Rob on 7/22/2014 @ 12:24pm EDT Said:

Take a look at Nebraska’s uniform.. Now look at Wisconsin’s. They are exactly the same! Oh, except one helmet has a N, and one has a W. How can one be 3 spots behind the other? This is stupid.

Brett on 7/22/2014 @ 12:34pm EDT Said:

I agree with paversity and Big Man. Clearly, Michigan had the best set of rankings and deserves to be ranked first. I’m an Iowa fan, and I think we should have been top 5, but the only problem I can really see is being put behind Nort_estern. That’s just silly.

Gurndogg on 7/22/2014 @ 12:53pm EDT Said:

Big man its easy to tell ur a UM fan (Ohio) & its lame the wa y you whine just like your coaches have always whined. Chris putting the $ in OSU is also very lame way don’t yall come up with new things instead of this old crap. Plus Chris you really should watch who yall calling F-ulgy cause yall’s is the F-uglyest as an Toledo fan I tell people all the time that its not the same F-ugly color as UM’s. Good luck with this next year! Hell with the next decade! GO BUCK’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH———–

Julio on 7/22/2014 @ 1:05pm EDT Said:

In response to Rob’s comment on Wisconsin being 3 spots behind Nebraska: Because Wisconsin has a WordArt “W” on their helmet, that’s why.

Delbo Gantzler on 7/22/2014 @ 1:05pm EDT Said:

The silliness of these is upped if you don’t at least correct for goofy outliers, uncommon opinions, and potential homerism by deleting the highest and lowest scores for each school. Doing that kind of common correction, we get this:

1. Michigan (12)
2. Ohio State (14)
3. Penn State (17)
4. MSU (33)
5. UNL (34)
6. Iowa (40)
7. NU (43)
8. UW (46)
9. Minnesota (51)
10. Maryland (59)
11. Purdue (64)
12. Illinois (67)
13. Rutgers (72)
14. Indiana (74)

Peter on 7/22/2014 @ 1:25pm EDT Said:

“maize” is just YELLOW, its not even a special shade. just like “scarlet” is red. I will give that thorback and those special nike “combat:” uniforms are awesome for all schools, but I think they add a lot more to OSU to any team, just because it breaks up the red more, and they have and adds some more black.

Dan on 7/22/2014 @ 1:43pm EDT Said:

Rob, Nebraska deserves credit for having the uniform first. Originality counts. Look up the historical unis for both teams. Current Husker uniform is still very similar to 1970 version. Wisconsin looked like the old St. Louis Cardinals until the early 1980’s with plain cardinal colored jerseys and no stripes. Wisky switched to outlined numbers in mid 80’s. Remember Barry Alvarez was a Husker player and made no secret of copying Nebraska when he arrived in Madison. When he arrived in the early 90’s he clearly changed the uniform, color and helmet to even more closely copy Nebraska (he also wisely copied a lot of the Nebraska way, including running the ball, which Wisky now does better!). Wisky’s official color is cardinal red, Nebraska’s scarlet. Wisky clearly even changed their color (not helmet logo) to copy Nebraska. If you haven’t noticed Wisky’s helmet logo and uniforms are different colors and do not match! They also copied Nebraska’s stripes.

Derek on 7/22/2014 @ 2:38pm EDT Said:

So a team with flowers on their helmets and team that stole their “iconic” helmet from another school (yale) make up the top two? I don’t really understand how people still fail to realize that Michigan’s helmets were not original to Michigan. They do look cool but since they stole them from another school that kind of taints the “traditionality”. I really really hate Ohio State. That being said, their alternate uniforms are pretty cool. I’m a die hard Penn State fan so obviously I love our uniforms. But I also find MSU’s away unis, UW’s throwback, and Nebraska’s throwback.

Chris on 7/22/2014 @ 4:07pm EDT Said:

So obvious tha Michigan’s colors, uniform, and helmet has bee the best over time and has not needed to change.

Gladstone on 7/22/2014 @ 4:44pm EDT Said:

Sean Merriman Michigan at #10? People who hate Michigan know it’s no lower than #2in anyone’s book.

Justin on 7/22/2014 @ 9:12pm EDT Said:

@Derek. Michigan didn’t “steal” the helmet design from Yale. You do realize Yale had those helmets because their COACH, and who was that coach? What did that coach BRING to Michigan? What was the reason for those helmets anyway? Research those questions, if you really don’t know

Hawk-It on 7/22/2014 @ 10:10pm EDT Said:

I live in So Kalifornia and when I wear my TigerHawk hat I often get recognized such as:
“Go Hawks”, “Hey Hawkeyes”, “Iowa — that’s so old school”, “Hawkeyes —Big Ten bullies”, “Damn, wish I had one of those hats”. The TigerHawk is the most recognized iconic logo in all the world, I’ve even seen them worn by Japanese. Many of you, especially Vannini and Merriman, ought to be ashamed of your votes!

Rick Castle on 7/23/2014 @ 12:20am EDT Said:

I am a fan of tradition and solid colors. But every person has different tastes in colors(look at some colors some rave about in their homes….yuck). Ohio State and Michigan are 2 programs whose colors and helmets(especially helmets) mark them as who they are. That alone makes them the top 2 recognizable and therefore more liked colors in the B1G. Personally i like the grey of Ohio State’s helmet. It seems to indicate indifference to it’s opponent. And buckeye leaves are not ‘flowers’ as one ignorant poster implied. I also like Michigan’s winged helmet. Iowa is another i would never change. Minnesota’s colors are the most drab to me. That maroon/brown whatever is just too blah.

Zac on 7/23/2014 @ 11:11am EDT Said:

to be fair and take away a persons ability to rank “their” team #1 and its rival down the list, the high and low for each team should have been ruled out leaving the other 6 scores to determine the outcome.

Andy G. on 7/23/2014 @ 11:47am EDT Said:

Wow everyone is getting way to uptight and serious here. This is just a fun poll that reflects various media members opinions. There is no way to truly gauge what the best looking uniforms are. I, personally, think Wisconsin’s should be a bit higher but that is because I live in Wisconsin and have been a huge fan my entire life. I have no real issue with the Top 5. All those teams jerseys are classy and in the case of OSU, Mich, PSU & Nebraska, they are iconic. I don’t think any of the media members meant to slight any program. Nor do I think they had an agenda to push OSU or Michigan. Also this poll has no bearing on the success of the upcoming season by the programs involved so I don’t get where all the frustration and hate is coming from. Could we just skip ahead to August 28th and get the season started already?

Stephen Heup (@MD_Pride_410) on 7/24/2014 @ 11:42am EDT Said:

Only @BTNSean gave love to the Terps Unis. No worries though, we know they look good. And you can only truly appreciate them if you have Maryland Pride.

Harrell Kerkhoff on 8/7/2014 @ 1:50pm EDT Said:

Penn State’s uniforms are too plain, especially the away all white unis. I like color, but Maryland takes their helmets too far. I disagree with the person who does not like Minnesota’s school colors. I think maroon and gold look good, and I’m not a Minnesota fan. In my opinion, the best uniforms are from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa.

Brian Schwartz (@bws258) on 8/13/2014 @ 12:17pm EDT Said:

since Nebraska and Wisconsin have the SAME UNIFORM, how one can be so much higher than the other is beyond me … and Iowa’s uniform demolishes both

Anyone who didn’t have Iowa in the top-5 is just a hater, pure and simple