The Ohio State Buckeyes will wear special “tribute” uniforms for Saturday’s game against Michigan. The uniforms are not replicas of the uniforms of the 1954 Buckeyes — which was Woody Hayes’ first squad to win the national championship — but instead are supposed to reflect the styling and color of the 1954 uniforms. The tribute uniforms, made by Nike, are significantly lighter than the Buckeyes’ normal uniforms and, among other things, are made of fabrics that retain less water. Some photos of the uniforms, modeled by Buckeye great Raymont Harris, can been seen here. I think they look pretty good — although the Ohio State lineman apparently are a bit concerned about the cleats they will be wearing as part of the new uniform package.
For the most part, I don’t have anything against “tribute” or “throwback” uniforms. When I’ve watched pro games with throwback jerseys, they add to the interest. (Of course, the Browns’ uniforms really haven’t changed, so their throwback uniforms are the uniforms they currently wear.) I don’t think the Ohio State-Michigan game needs any additional interest, however. It is the greatest rivalry game in all of sports, and The Game should speak for itself, without the need for special jerseys or other marketing gimmicks.
I think Ohio State should pay tribute to Hop Cassady and the other members of the 1954 National Championship team, and I think “tribute” uniforms are a good way to do so. I just think the tribute should be paid during some other game. The Game should remain pristine and unadorned, to be enjoyed in all its natural glory.