OXFORD, Ohio - It's been a few years since the sporting world has talked about the football program at Miami (Ohio) University, but after the school's athletic department unveiled the RedHawks' uniforms for the upcoming season, they seem to be what everyone is talking about.
The new jersey design from adidas somehow manages to make an understated overall look bold at the same time. Featuring a monochromatic red (or white depending on whether the team is at home or away) primary color, the jersey has a stripe of white (or red) across the shoulders.
While there's nothing groundbreaking about that element, what is striking is the shiny chrome outline of the word "Miami" that stretches across the entirety of the shoulder pad and down the cropped sleeve. The coloration of the inside of the word is the same as the rest of the shoulder area.
The numbers on the front and back of the jersey feature the same silvery outline and are filled in with the secondary color featured on the shoulder. What really makes the numbers stand out, though, is an interesting jagged, barbed-wire-looking design. The element definitely catches the eye, particularly the red look.
To be fair, though, it does sort of resemble a thorned vine tattoo you might see wrapped around the bicep of one of the fraternity members at the university.
The pants, in both red and white, stay true to the design of the jerseys. They're relatively straightforward, almost simple, with the exception of an outlined, stylized "M" on the hip.
While the jersey and pants give Miami fans something to talk about, the helmet tops off the look in every sense of the word.
It's painted in a shiny red color and features a massive "M" outlined in almost glittery chrome paint. The letter sits right atop of the "RedHawks" placard that is attached to the top of the facemask.
The rest of the helmet is covered in chrome zigzags that could be viewed as either busy or interesting. It also features the word "Miami" outlined in chrome across the base of the helmet in the back.
The helmet is definitely something to see. It rivals the Oregon Ducks and Maryland Terrapins for the most bold helmet design in all of college football.
It's unclear if adidas has designed any alternate or third looks at this point. That's something we won't likely find out until conference championship or bowl game season.
While the reaction seems to be mixed overall, many of the program's former players appreciate the new look, including all-pro quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"Love the new uni's! I think the way old-school Redskins is incorporated with new-school RedHawks is amazing," said the former first-round draft pick and current Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller. "I like chrome as a third color as well. The new uniforms will go a long way in making us stand out from other schools and also in attracting recruits to Miami. I can't wait to watch the games and see how good we look in HD!!!"
Zac Dysert, who led the RedHawks' offense in 2012 and is the school's all-time passing leader, said former players are jealous of current players because they get to wear the new uniforms.
"These uniforms are sweet! How could you not love them? All the detail and thought that went into them, the chrome color, this is really something special," said Dysert, a current member of the Denver Broncos. "All the former players will be jealous that they didn't get to wear these. I know I am! I am excited and happy for my boys on the team to put these on and take the field this season."
Both Big Ben and Dysert wore classic (or boring) Miami uniforms that featured white helmets with the standard red Miami "M" and (mostly) traditional, simple red and white jersey/pants combinations that were highlighted with basic stripes on the sleeve, near the shoulder and/or down the thigh.
While the new design is edgy compared to what football fans are used to seeing come out of the Mid-American Conference, it shouldn't be surprising given the fact adidas is behind it.
The athletics wear giant has been pushing the envelope with many its recent designs. The company has been particularly bold, if not garish, with the uniforms its provided to college basketball teams.
Fans of the University of Cincinnati basketball team likely remember the highlighter-colored camo shorts worn by the Bearcats down the stretch run of the 2012-13 season.
Adidas has also tried to popularize a style of basketball jersey that has short sleeves instead of the traditional strap look.
Members of the Miami hoops team are probably happy they missed that uniform re-launch.
While there are elements to love and hate about the new uniforms, they've made the Miami University RedHawks something to talk about heading into the 2013 college football season.
Now we'll just sit back and wait to see if the team's on-field performance gives us reason to make them a topic of conversation when the season kicks off.