Yesterday we took a look at how the Western Michigan Broncos changed their uniforms after hiring P.J. Fleck. As part of that review, I also offered up some thoughts and predictions about what the Minnesota Golden Gophers might do now that Fleck is in Minneapolis.
I’d like to expand upon those predictions today and talk not just about what we might see in the coming year after the uniforms change, but what we might see before that happens. Please note that I’m going to go out on a limb here, with no sources, and that I expect to be spectacularly wrong on some of this.
The prediction that ties all the other ones together
- Minnesota won’t change their uniforms until after the 2017 season. No #sources on this. No informed speculation to be had. My gut is that the core uniform sets the Gophers already posses will not go away or be updated in a full scale way until after the end of the 2017 regular and bowl season.
What I think will happen with uniforms in 2017
While I don’t think we’ll see a wholesale update of the type we last experienced in January of 2012 until after the upcoming season is completed, I do think we’ll see a couple of uniform things happen that we wouldn’t have seen under Claeys.
- Oar helmet stickers. To me, this is the most logical and reasonable way to incorporate Row The Boat into Minnesota’s uniforms. It would acknowledge that RTB is not a Minnesota tradition but would also give a core component of Fleck’s culture a simple yet prominent place in the uniform. Confidence level: 95%
- Anthracite uniforms make a comeback. The anthracite (gray) uniforms that Minnesota announced the morning of the Michigan game in 2015 felt like a one off. But if you actually look at the Brick By Brick recruiting website that the U operated, you’ll notice that it’s treated as a “new feature in the Gophers’ uniform lineup” which would suggest they could be used again. Assuming they didn’t junk them after the loss, I predict these uniforms make a comeback this fall. I’ll even go out on a limb and say it wouldn’t shock me to see them in the first game against Buffalo. Confidence level: 75%
- Minnesota goes FULL BANANA. The Gophers can go all gold immediately with no additional effort. All that is needed is for someone to make it happen. Fleck seems like a guy who could make it happen. The reason I’m more confident we’ll see Anthracite than FULL BANANA is that the Antracite uniforms already got approved by the powers that be (though some of those are gone). Confidence level: 65%
- Nike gives Minnesota a “one off” uniform for either the Nebraska or Wisconsin games. I’m less sold on this prediction, especially if the Anthracite uniforms make a comeback or the U takes advantage of the fact that they can go FULL BANANA with the existing uniform combos. The other factor is that Nike (and Adidas, and UA) often like to time the “one off” uniforms for when the team faces another Nike school. Neither Nebby (Adidas) or UW (Under Armour) are Nike schools. I dunno. I’m not sold this happens. Confidence level: 25%
- Minnesota goes ALL WHITE. The team would have to break out an entirely new helmet. Possible but unlikely. Confidence level: 15%
- The Gophers debut a “one off” helmet with a traditional uniform combo. I mean, I guess? Can’t imagine what they’d pick for it and it would take careful planning unless the stopped using either the gold or maroon helmet mid to late season so it could be sent off to the companies that specialize in this stuff. Confidence level: 10%
- Minnesota fans avoid freaking out over the inevitable changes. HAHAHAHAHAHA! I told a funny! Confidence level: .0001%
What I think will happen with uniforms after the 2017 season
I already touched on some of these in yesterday’s post, but I do have additional predictions and there are confidence scores for what you might have already read.
- The core color elements of the uniforms remain unchanged. I do not expect any drastic color changes (sorry fans of metallic gold). Why? Because the University has spent a lot of time and money with Nike to unify the branding through elements like color. That’s not to say that the color schemes of every Minnesota team are in complete lockstep (the football maroon has a little more brown to it for example). But it would be a shock to see them toss that branding aside to change up the core maroon and gold elements. If we’re going to see non-brand colors it will be for full uniforms where the core maroon and gold are still present. Or possibly in a “one off” uniform that is designed as a throwback. Confidence level: 99.99%
- Row The Boat will be a part of a uniform or the uniforms, but I think Fleck won’t go overboard. Everything Fleck has done since he stepped off the plane after being hired screams to me that he understands Minnesota has it’s own traditions and that the best move is for his culture to help elevate those traditions. I truly believe this. Since I do, the logical extension is that even a redesign of Minnesota’s uniforms won’t result in something over the top like oars on the shoulders. Confidence level: 95%
- We’ll use 3-4 sets of helmets for games. If the Gophers want to really mix it up with the helmet options, they’ll need more sets. As I understand it the team currently has 3 sets: one for practice, the matte maroon, and the gold. I’d expect them to add at least one more set for games and make that the “Oregon” option, probably with chrome (Minnesota already has a relationship with Oregon’s helmet supplier via Nike, see video below). Confidence level: 85%
- FULL BANANA becomes part of the regular rotation. Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please. Confidence level: 75%
- We’ll see an all black uniform. DO NOT WANT. DO NOT WANT. Did I mention that this is an outcome that I really do not want to see implemented? Because I really don’t want to see this implemented. I also kind of expect it to happen. Confidence level: 65% (not that I’m happy about it)
- Minnesota starts seeing more “one off” uniforms from Nike. If this happens, I’d expect them to be designed as throwback style uniforms. The Gophers don’t have quite as many “THIS TEAM WAS GREAT” throwback options as an Ohio State, but there are still some good choices out there. Or they could reprise the M&M unis. Confidence level: 45%
- Angry Goldy makes a comeback, probably on a helmet. It would definitely be unique! On the other hand, I’ve always gotten the impression the U wishes it could pretend Angry Goldy never happened. I dunno, not seeing this as likely regardless. Confidence level: 30%
- Gold becomes the primary helmet choice. Football and hockey helmets matching is definitely a thing and Minnesota has used the gold helmet before (though they haven’t worn a non-metallic option since 1971). Crazier things have happened. Confidence level: 15%
Whew! That’s a lot of predictions.
Sort of had fun with this once I got rolling. Personally, I’m excited to see them mix it up (minus too much RTB or black uniforms).