Friday, August 17, 2007

Cyclone Football

I was on the official Cyclone athletics website looking for a basketball schedule and came across this intriguing contest. Apparently they are unveiling new football uniforms for the 2008 season and are allowing fans to vote for the helmet. The unis are quite a bit different from what they've been in the past. They're going with a more traditional "cardinal and gold" as opposed to the basic "red and yellow" they've had recently.

As any Cyclone football fan can tell you there's been a surprising number of uniform designs in the last several years. Some of them would look more at home in a Heart of America league junior high game than Division I college and others have been ok. Not surprisingly my favorites were the ones that they basically stole from the Chiefs. It made it easier for me to not get confused when cheering while drunk. The one staple throughout that period was what can best be summed up by a little phrase the really drunk guy from my German class said about a hundred times during a game against Iowa. "At least we don't wear yellow pants!"

Well, these new pants are gold, but still... I think I can get over that because it is a classy look and almost makes me think we could play like USC if I squint hard enough and drink a beer or ten before the game.

Let's take a look at the three helmets. We'll start with the script "Cyclones" along the side.

Definitely an old-school look. I've seen that logo around quite a bit but why bring something back from the absolute worst times in Cyclone football history? Plus no one will be able to read it from more than five feet away.

Next is "ISU" in block letters.

Not a bad design and it will definitely show up from far away.

The final design is this one, I'll call "I-State."

I've always felt that they should make more use of "State" and although I'm not exactly sure I've ever heard anyone refer to the team as "I-State" the "I" back there works for me. It's somewhat similar to the Mississippi State or Idaho logos but still fairly different. Plus it sounds like iPod or iPhone so that has to count for something, right?

Overall, I think I'm leaning toward the "State" but I wouldn't complain about the "ISU." "Cyclones" finishes a distant third.

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Blogger Shawn said...

Oh MAN, it's like this contest was designed for guys like us. I've been going back and forth in my head for a couple of days now which one I would prefer.

I actually LIKE the Cyclones one, as I (and I think you do, too) have a hoody with that 70's-looking script typeface above a cyclone, but here's the problem: It's not EXACTLY the same typeface. If you look closely, it's somewhat updated or modified, and I think if you're gonna go retro, go ALL THE WAY and go back to the original.

The ISU one could be considered the most contemporary, and I think that "ISU" is the most closely associated term with the school - but it seems kinda like a safe choice. It's my guess that this one will be selected.

The Big I-State takes things in a different direction. I've never seen any new or old Iowa State gear with this insignia (but looking on the cyclones page I saw an old replica football helmet with something similar), so it's kind of a bold move to make a new/old symbol for the school. But I really like how original it is, but retains a very classic look that will look much better on hats, hoodies and other gear than the assymetrical, hyper-modernized bird/tornado that we had during our stint in Ames.

As far as the uniforms? Well, you know my feelings about the gold-panted counterparts on the east side of the state, AND my high school had gold pants as well, so I have to say that I LOVE the new look. Also, it appears that they're getting away from the use of navy as a "third" color, which is probably necessary if they want to get back to the classic look. If you look at the cyclones website, you can already see they're making the transition, as the "CY" logo is getting smaller and smaller, and that windswept font that looked like it belonged on a Mountain Dew can is pretty much nowhere to be seen.

All in all, I really like the direction they're taking - college sports is best presented as a classic, history-laden tradition, and these old-school styles will outlast all of the ridiculousness of your Oregons and Miamis of the world.

Go vote, Clones!!!

1:30 PM  
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6:28 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

First, here's a link I should have included just because it's a really cool site if you like looking back at the history of helmets, etc. It has the helmets of just about every professional and college team out there (and when I say "every team" I mean current or defunct and all the way down the Bethel Colleges of the college ranks).

I really wonder what's going to happen with the current logo and the other sports team's uniforms. It would be a shame to get rid of the Cy logo after it's been the face of the university for over a decade and if they keep changing something every few years they'll never build a tradition that you associate with the teams.

Will the basketball, track, wrestling teams follow suit and change colors? Will they change the logo to match the new color scheme or just get rid of it altogether? They've already openly said they're going away from anything blue and that's clearly a big part of this logo.

In a way ISU has always had a little bit of an identity crisis. The team is known as the Cyclones but the mascot, Cy, is a Cardinal. Sometimes the logo has been the cardinal, other times it's been a tornado, and right now it's both. For a while they avoided the whole controversy altogether and just used letters.

I'm not sure I see any of the helmet designs as something I would want to use to brand the entire athletic program around but I think any of them could work really well as a helmet. It will be interesting (and no doubt controversial) to see where they go with it.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

I started thinking last night that maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to go away from the spinning bird logo but I'm still not convinced that any of these would be that great as the face of the entire athletic department but maybe I'm wrong. Quite a few schools do something similar.

8:39 AM  

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