With football season just two days away, it is time once again for the Team Speed Kills SEC Power Poll, which this week asks us to rank the conference’s uniforms. Frankly, I haven’t been called upon to author a posting that placed me so far outside my comfort zone since I compared SEC teams to "So You Think You Can Dance" contestants, but ask and ye shall be answered:
1. Georgia Bulldogs: What, you were expecting someone else? Occasional decisions to don black headgear notwithstanding, the ‘Dawgs have one of the iconic looks in college football, complete with the oval "G" logo on the helmet and the cheer-inspiring silver britches.
2. LSU Tigers: The Bayou Bengals sport a good look, particularly considering their tradition of wearing white jerseys at home. While the Washington Huskies do the purple-themed uniform better, Louisiana State isn’t far behind.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide: The defending national champions’ football suits rank so high not because of any special trait they possess, but simply because of their unchanging classic look. The Tide are the anti-Oregon, as fundamental and unvarnished as any team in the sport outside of Happy Valley.
4. Kentucky Wildcats: Back when my father still got season tickets, the game my mother always wanted to attend was the contest (usually homecoming) against Kentucky. She preferred to go to that game because she liked the Wildcats’ blue uniforms. I have to say, she’s right.
5. Mississippi Rebels: Ole Miss checks in at the number five spot largely by default. Nothing about the Rebs’ garb distinguishes itself sufficiently to warrant leapfrogging one of the four teams above them, but there’s no inherent flaw in Mississippi’s uniforms to justify dropping the Magnolia State club down in the rankings.
6. Vanderbilt Commodores: Black and gold is a look that can work, but what’s with the all-black look? Beyond that, what’s the thought process behind the "V" inside a star? A star? Really? If they were the Generals, I could see it, but for the Commodores?
7. South Carolina Gamecocks: The Palmetto State Poultry also suffer from an overabundance of black, which, with the addition of garnet to the mix, makes them look like great big bruises. Also, the helmet logo featuring a chicken superimposed over the letter "C" looks like it ought to be on the sign outside a Church’s franchise.
8. Mississippi St. Bulldogs: Let’s face it . . . the Western Division Bulldogs are ‘Bama done wrong. When you’re the class of the conference, you can wear boring uniforms, and the press will think you’re minimalist. When your last SEC championship was in 1941, though, it merely makes you dull.
9. Arkansas Razorbacks: I’m still having nightmares about the look that featured hogs on both sides of the helmet and on both shoulder pads. If you’re showing off that much pork, you’d better be prepared to serve up some barbecue.
10. Auburn Tigers: The Plainsmen’s uniforms rate near the bottom because they feature orange. Since Auburn uses orange only as an accent color, though, the Tigers managed to avoid the cellar altogether.
11. Florida Gators: The Sunshine State Saurians wear more orange than Auburn; therefore, their uniforms are worse than the Plainsmen’s. Also, as a better blogger than me once noted, the script "Gators" makes Florida’s helmet look like the side of a Sunkist bottle.
12. Tennessee Volunteers: I don’t mean to rag on the Vols, because I respect Derek Dooley, and, as a rule, I like Tennessee fans better than I like fans of any other annual rival, but, when you put orange on the pants, orange on the jersey, and orange on the helmet, then wash it out like an early ‘80s music video to give it that faded dreamsickle look, you’ve got yourself an outfit no Bulldog fan could love. Sorry, Big Orange fans.