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Michigan STate Pro Combat


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I personally love that helmet. Really has a Spartan vibe being bronze. Not only that but the Green and this shade of bronze look great together. Replace the black with white, maybe throw in some Greek patterned striping and you have a really sharp, unique set. That being said the black competely ruin this uniform. Also what does it say at the base of the helmet stripe?

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What so bad about these jerseys? There cool because the gold represents the Sparty Statue outside Spartan Stadium. The jerseys are also to intimidate Michigan beacuse of the greek meaning ?Molon Labe? which means "come and take them". People might have to get use to this, MSU is thinking about being the "Oregon of the midwest."


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What so bad about these jerseys? There cool because the gold represents the Sparty Statue outside Spartan Stadium. The jerseys are also to intimidate Michigan beacuse of the greek meaning ?Molon Labe? which means "come and take them". People might have to get use to this, MSU is thinking about being the "Oregon of the midwest."


Whatever you say Mr. Walters...


It's been one full day since Nike has released the design of Michigan State's Nike Pro Combat uniforms to be worn against Michigan on Oct. 15. (That sentence, the Gregorian calendar, and the inexorable passage of time are all brought to you by Nike.)

In my circles, reactions have generally been at least one of the following: Begrudging acceptance, perplexed bewilderment, pearl-clutching abhorrence, full-on rejoicing or complete indifference.

Personally, I love them and tweeted as much Tuesday morning. So with my abject enthusiasm for this look stated for the record, I'm going to posit an opinion that is neither new, nor novel: I want Nike to turn Michigan State into the Oregon of the Midwest.

Yes, Oregon. Flourescent, patterned, shiny, garish Oregon. I want Nike chairman, and Oregon alumnus, Phil Knight's corporate goons to sew and stitch and stencil Michigan State into the haute couture. I want the Spartans to look like this every single weekend.

There's someone to blame for this. This guy. Remember him from 2010? He didn't mean no harm to anyone. But boy did Michigan State fans turn the hose on him, all for having the temerity to slightly alter the Spartan helmet that we had all come to know and love. We took to Facebook and complained until someone did something about it.

It was this weird, unifying moment among Spartan fans. We stood up to Nike's corporate feces, and said as one: "Thanks but no thanks, Nike. We like our helmet the way it is." And for maybe the fourth (total guess) time ever in American corporate history, Nike didn't get its way.

Well, we were too late. Nike already had its way, and it's having its way now. That oddly jowled Spartan helmet was Phase One in the Nike-driven repurposing (we're now two seasons in) of Michigan State athletics. The bronze trim on both hoops and football uniforms. The paneled jersey pants and shorts. The number fonts. The horrific hockey jerseys. Michigan State sold its sartorial soul to Nike 11 years ago -- rebuffing the advances of that Spartan helmet design means the Swoosh only got 92 percent of what it wanted, instead of the whole damn pie.

So this isn't ours anymore. The Green, the White. The clothes are Nike's now. Have the clothes even ever BEEN Michigan State's? If we count Pro Combats, it's 10 basic football jersey designs since 1983, and six since 2001. Those six come courtesy Nike.

Basketball's on the same tear: Five different Nike jerseys since the Spartans ditched Reebok after the 2000 National Championship, and for the last season, the bronze-and-font tweaks have been in step with football. (Side note: Nike, please bring back the 1979 throwbacks that MSU basketball wore for a season or two starting in 2003 and then unceremoniously dumped.)

So if you want to counter the Nike Pro Combat movement with the argument that college athletics has a classic look; a simple, understated, traditional elegance that's flourished in the test of time, then yes, I would agree. At Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, yes and yes. But not at Michigan State. That hasn't been the Spartans' game or gear for a long, long time, and Uncle Phil is footing the bill.

I say that this leaves Michigan State with a unique opportunity, and opportunity thy name is Oregon.

Since Phil Knight's beloved Ducks became testing ground zero for football fashion, the Ducks have unequiviocally thrived. They've extended the look to hoops, and even to the hardwood on their basketball court. If Michigan State follows suit, they're unlike anything around them for 2,000 miles - they're instantly recognizable. Nike could keep the athletics department flush, and kids - meaning recruits - have an immediate recognition of the Spartans' brand. Please, explain how any of that doesn't work to Michigan State's competitive advantage.

Now, look. This isn't a new idea or concept. The cliche that college athletics is a business is a cliche unto itself, and it's used both ironically and unironically to prove the same points in proposals just like this one.

That doesn't make it less true.

Michigan State is smart to align itself with Nike and Nike's whims, should they range from Pro Combats for a week to Pro Combats and six different helmets per season, and it's because there's no downside from the competitive angle.

"I think it's ugly," doesn't cut it in the NCAA in 2011. To today's athlete, it sounds like "get off my lawn," or "I don't use the Twitters." And I don't mean for just Spartan Nation, Oregon, Maryland, or wherever else you want to point on the map of uniforms you don't like. Nike Pro Combat is the direction college athletics has been heading for years, and the Spartans can either ride the crest of that wave and be innovators at the risk of looking stylish-if-silly, or they can retreat to the gravel pits of traditional, maudlin schtick with the Golden Dome, the block M, Roll Tide and the rest.

Feel old yet? This is the face - and the palms - of the game. Don't just prepare for it; embrace it, stencil it, Just Do It.

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