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Virginia Tech's black FedEx Field uniforms


I've always been sort of lukewarm about including Virginia Tech in the D.C. Sports Bog. Fine for The Washington Post, if reader interest demands it, but slightly odd for a blog with "D.C." in its name.

But Virginia Tech's opener is at FedEx Field, and it's the biggest sporting event in town over the next week, and I do love uniform stories, so here you go. The Hokies are going black for their opener. Quoting from the school's official athletic site:

For the first time in more than 100 years, the Virginia Tech Hokies will wear black when they suit up in the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress for Monday night's game against Boise State at FedExField.

The uniform colors mark a departure from the school's distinctive maroon and orange combination, but it is not without precedent. The black uniforms reference the cadet gray-and-black colors worn by Virginia Tech's original football team. The uniform color scheme draws inspiration from the school's large Corps of Cadets - integral to Virginia Tech's unique football culture - and is being worn in their honor.

Evidently the uniforms are supposed to also pay homage to the school's "commitment to scientific inquiry," including a "technology-inspired pattern" and a "circuit-board pattern" on the shoulders and footwear. Kyle Tucker has more.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 1, 2010; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  College Football  
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Comments

My brother—a proud Hokie—described them as 'face-rippingly awful'. I concur with his assessment.

Posted by: yatesc1 | September 1, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Not a big Tech fan cause a bunch of dorks go there, but those Unis look pretty cool

Posted by: alexbatesevans | September 1, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"I've always been sort of lukewarm about including Virginia Tech in the D.C. Sports Bog. Fine for The Washington Post, if reader interest demands it, but slightly odd for a blog with "D.C." in its name."

I think that is a really odd statement to make. Would that mean that it would be odd to cover UMD in a blog with DC it its name or is it odd to cover any university not physically in DC in a DC blog? Many VT alumni live in the DC area but I always feel like the post goes out of the way to give them bad coverage. Hopefully if VT beats Boise we can deserve some coverage from the DC news paper.

Posted by: kngjb3 | September 1, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Oh no Stein... you've awakened the Virginia Tech persecution complex

Posted by: GFisher1 | September 1, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@kngjb3 The Post covers Virginia Tech, and I agree with its decision to do so. The Post distributes there, for one thing.

I've seen my blog as focused on the immediate metro area. I think the FedEx Field game counts, for that reason. As does Maryland. I know lots of Hokies alums live here, which is partly why we have a full-time Hokies beat writer, but by most measures Blacksburg isn't as close to D.C. as College Park.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | September 1, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"Not a big Tech fan cause a bunch of dorks go there, but those Unis look pretty cool"

This might be the dumbest comment I have ever heard on a WashPo blog board.

Posted by: eorr | September 1, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

VT and Uni stories, two of my favorite things - Thanks Dan!

not really a fan of the all black, thought the helmets look pretty cool. was hoping to see either the maroon or white throwbacks on Monday. at least BSU will look equally stupid in their Pro Combat unis.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 1, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I speak the truth, Va Tech will never be a top party school because only losers go there nor wil it be a "Smart School" They buried that place 200 miles down 81 and another 20 miles into the sticks for a reason

Posted by: alexbatesevans | September 1, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I speak the truth, Va Tech will never be a top party school because only losers go there nor will it be a "Smart School" They buried that place 200 miles down 81 and another 20 miles into the sticks for a reason

Posted by: alexbatesevans | September 1, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

seconded

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | September 1, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

those are god-awful. another nike blunder. go BSU!

Posted by: hockeypunk | September 1, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

As a Tech fan...this is so freaking stupid. So we wore black in the 1800s...no one is still alive that went to any of those games. We're maroon and orange, and changing our colors for our highest profile game of the year was stupid. And ugly. I've been cool with the changes last season (incorporating the throwback helmets and jerseys from the 80s), but this is going too far. Boo, Nike. Boo. And boo to Weaver for agreeing to this.

Posted by: daandre3 | September 1, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Think they meant burgundy and orange?

Posted by: WorstSeat | September 1, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

alexbatesevans is a Tennessee guy who's just bitter over the embarrassing loss VT handed the Vols in the Chick-fil-A Bowl last year. Also, Tennessee isn't even in the Top 100 in the US News and World Report rankings so they suck at academics even more than they do at football.

Posted by: ctank77 | September 1, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@WorstSeat, no. It's maroon and orange. Chicago maroon (PMS 208) and burnt orange (PMS 158) to be exact.

Posted by: ctank77 | September 1, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Agreed about including in DC sports talk. There are over 25,000 alumni living in the DC area. It helps there is a Hokies writer, but this is a big game this wknd, so thanks!
@alexbatesevans - Completely off-topic, and idiotic comment.
@worstseat - school colors are maroon and orange. Burgundy is the Redskins. ;)

Posted by: anwilli | September 1, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Nike Pro Combat System?" Seriously?

Posted by: Juan-John1 | September 1, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Eh not a big fan of the unis. Maybe they'll look better in person Monday night.

Posted by: JulzDC | September 1, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Eh not a big fan of the unis. Maybe they'll look better in person Monday night.

Posted by: JulzDC | September 1, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm a tech alum, and I think the uniforms look cool as hell. They're wearing them for one game, I don't really understand what the big deal is.

Posted by: VTDuffman | September 1, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Steinbog, rumor has it that Maryland will be wearing gold jerseys and/or pants for the Crab Bowl on Monday. Do you have any insight on that?

Posted by: CapsNut | September 1, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The helmet is tight but the jersey truly sucks! What is the purpose of placing the orange stripe on the shoulder/upper chest area?

Posted by: DCull | September 1, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Those uniforms are hideous, so in that sense, they're appropriate.

Posted by: frenchyb | September 1, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

As a lifelong DC suburban resident (born in the District), I too find the VT coverage odd; and unlike most who live here (who are From Away) I know why it is.

VT isn't in DC or its suburbs. Period. Ever drive to Blacksburg? Sure you have, if you are a VT alum or parent. I have; but only because I am a backpacker and there's some excellent backpacking down that way. It's a DRIVE, people. More like to Pittsburgh than to Philly (MUCH farther than Philly); and we don't cover either of their teams on page one. We have a lot of people here from Chi and NY and St. Louis too, and we don't cover the Mets and Cubs and Cards on the front page.

As to Baltimore, O's fans: I remember when the O's were about as Washington as the Cowboys (and hated worse). You might not remember the team we had back then. (It was considerably better than the O's are now.) We didn't call them the O's, ever. They were the Birds; and when they weren't playing the Nats (yes, that name; and that's where the curly W came from, harrumph, Mr. Steinberg), they got covered on Page 6, along with the Philies and other total aliens.

Changes in commuting patterns (Frederick? You KIDDING...???...CUMBERLAND...!?!?!?) may have something to do with red-state VA being next door to Adams-Morgan. But Blacksburg ain't DC; ain't anywhere near; and gets weird coverage for a college team far, far away. Terps? U of Maryland got local-team coverage when the last baseball team played here, mainly because it couldn't be much closer to DC than it is.

If you wanna move here from ...well, anywhere, good choice. I mean it. Why do you think I've never left? But get your own paper for your own teams.

P.S. Think anyone would notice anything noteworthy if the Hokes had just gone on the field with those unies? In these days of different color every week, probably not. (When the last baseball team played here, everybody pretty much had white home, gray away.)

Posted by: poorskins | September 1, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Man I hate vtech. Did the Vicks ever graduate?

Posted by: jpfterps | September 1, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The only thing better than the VT persecution complex is the ability of students, alums and fans to rationalize the worst combination of school colors pretty much EVER. Heaven help you if you refer to their colors imprecisely - you'll be corrected (right down to the Pantone Color Codes!) with condescension worthy of the snootiest UVa grad. They'll tell you "no other school uses these colors" without a trace of irony. Odds are if you see a maroon vehicle in the DC area, it's going to have giant turkey feet magnets plastered on it.

As for those uniforms - they have a vaguely American Gladiator look to them. And why does VT insist on using those gradient numbers? The look like melting snow cones. But the matte black helmet is pretty slick. Kinda reminds me of Ovi's SL65 AMG.

Posted by: jburksva | September 1, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"The only thing better than the VT persecution complex"

---

It's ironic that you write this in a thread full of VT hate where the only mentions of "persecution" come from people like you who are mocking the alleged "persecution complex".

So, what exactly do you have, then? A VT Persecution Complex Complex? :)

Virginia Tech gets covered in the post because of the large numbers of students, alumni, and family who live in the area. It's what the readers want to read, and that's how media outlets like the post stay in business. Evidence can be found in the fact that this post is one of the few recent non-Redskin Bog posts to even sniff 30+ comments.

Posted by: VTDuffman | September 1, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

if you arent interested in a story about VT, then just turn the page and read something else. I dont care to read anything about UMD or the Nats, so I dont.

I agree with VTDuffman, that it seems like the people who talk about the VT Persecution Complex seem like the ones with the complex. why would you waste your time talking about why the Post shouldn't cover something, when you could just not read it? is it really hurting you that the Post has chosen to serve a segment of the local population that doesn't directly involve you?

Posted by: VTUnited | September 1, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@ctank77 and @anwilli, @WorstSeat was making a joke, which you obviously missed. It was a play on Zorn calling the Skins, "the maroon and black".

Posted by: MayorForLife | September 1, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Biggest game of the year and VPI decides to go trendy with the big, bad black uniforms. Basically, it's just an admission that they want to disassociate from their school colors in order to appease the marketing gurus at Nike.

Reason enough to pull for Boise State. (And you're right, VPI has no business in the D.C. Sports Bog. It's 5 hours away [Penn State is closer, for cryin' out loud] and probably 30 other schools have larger fan bases in the area.)

Posted by: ShovelPlease | September 1, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Biggest game of the year and VPI decides to go trendy with the big, bad black uniforms."

It's not even close to the "biggest game of the year" for Tech. It could be a big one if they win, but if they lose it doesn't really affect anything other than their chances of contending for the National Championship, which they probably weren't going to contend for this year anyway.

---

"Reason enough to pull for Boise State."

...Boise State, who will be wearing brand new Pro Combat Uniforms as well, including a helmet with a completely different logo and a jersey whose primary color is Gray - not one of the BSU colors.

---

"and probably 30 other schools have larger fan bases in the area"

LOL 30 other schools? I'd love to see you try and name them. Last I heard VT was #2 as far as alumni in the DC metro area behind only UMD.

Posted by: VTDuffman | September 1, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

VTDuffman, after having read your post, I stand somewhat corrected. If what you say is true I'll concede that VPI's uniform choice is no worse than Boise's. Also, there may not be as many as 30 other schools with a larger alumni base in the metro area, but there's gotta be more than just the U. of Maryland---but I can't back this up.
Lastly, VPI has realistic national championship aspirations this season. They're playing a top 5 team on national television. If they win, they'll shoot up and be part of the national conversation for the rest of the year. If they lose, they'll be looked on as just another bowl team that might contend for a conference title. The game is HUGE for them (and even bigger for Boise State).

Posted by: ShovelPlease | September 1, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"Lastly, VPI has realistic national championship aspirations this season."

As a fan and alumn, I don't really think so. There's just way too much inexperience on Defense to field a NC-Caliber team.

---

"They're playing a top 5 team on national television. If they win, they'll shoot up and be part of the national conversation for the rest of the year."

"Shoot Up" to where? They're ranked #6, there's not much farther to "shoot up" to.

---

"If they lose, they'll be looked on as just another bowl team that might contend for a conference title. The game is HUGE for them (and even bigger for Boise State)."

I think the part that you're missing is that it's all about context. It's only HUGE if you assume that they're going to win all of the rest of their games, and that's just a huge IF in today's world of parity in college football.

Fundamentally, this game doesn't matter unless they win out. That said, if they lose, then they still are in the running for the ACC Title and a BCS bowl. With how wonky the CFB system is, that's all any reasonable fan can hope for in a given year.

It's really Win/No-Lose situation in the scope of the entire season. A loss to Miami, UNC, or GT would be much more devastating.

Posted by: VTDuffman | September 1, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

not a fan of the nike "combat" unis in general ...nike should stick with the ducks as their guinea pig This...................................................I speak the truth, Va Tech will never be a top party school because only losers go there nor wil it be a "Smart School" They buried that place 200 miles down 81 and another 20 miles into the sticks for a reason.....Made me laugh

Posted by: bigwalt42 | September 1, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I've never understood the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univeristy coverage in the Post, either. I know that there are a lot of alum in the DC area, but there are a lot of Penn State and Notre Dame alum down here too - does that mean the Post should start covering their teams? Not that I care whether the Post covers VaTech, just making a point.

With that out of the way: those uniforms are quite possibly the ugliest uniforms I have ever seen. The only thing that could be worse would be the Ravens taking the field in purple camo...

Posted by: RCBJr | September 1, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@RBCJr: It is pretty simple actually.

1. However you measure it (undergrad population, operating budget, etc) VT is one of the largest state universites in Virginia.
2. Somewhere around 25% of the population of VA lives in Northern Virginia.
3. The WaPo is the major newspaper serving the Northern Virginia area.

As for the uniforms, the black is slick, especially the matte helmets. Not a fan of the maroon to orange ratio though.

Posted by: matthewraehl | September 1, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The uniforms are great, keep the vt stories coming.

Posted by: lhvt | September 1, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

So...you'd rather write about fashion for a "sports bog" than a sports team that represents a Virginia university that happens to have a very large alumni base in the DC metro area. Whatever happened to writing for your audience?

Posted by: constantcommuting | September 1, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Yap, yap, yap. VT is here to stay in DC. You don't like it and can't understand it, too bad. We are second in number of alumni in DC to Maryland. Guess what, we'll be wailing when those black uniforms come out Monday evening. Win or lose, they're our Hokies. It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand.

Posted by: bob46 | September 1, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

VT also has a campus in northern VA...anyone remember that?? We're not just 4 hours away, we're also in your backyard. Keep on posting VT stories! And GOOO HOKIES!!

Posted by: vthokiegirl | September 1, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

What would be "odd" is for the Wash Post to cede Northern Virginia sports interests and followers to the Richmond Times-Dispatch or other Virginia papers. I would think that there may be actually more subscribers to the Wash Post in Virginia than in DC proper.

Posted by: Fairfax2 | September 1, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Those unis are absolutely hideous!! They (the unis) just go to show that money talks and teams will do ANYTHING for the dollar!!

Posted by: semilost44 | September 2, 2010 4:53 AM | Report abuse

Thinking back over the past few years, whenever VT breaks out freaky-cool new Nike unis for special games, I'm coming up with them going 1-2 in the games. (Remember the collapse to Miami when they broke out the one-orange-sleeve model?) I'd far rather see them in the maroon, white and orange (made by UnderArmour).

Posted by: tfirey | September 2, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

To AlexBatesEvans who wrote: "I speak the truth, Va Tech will never be a top party school because only losers go there nor wil it be a "Smart School"-- Apparent by your writing, you will never be a "Smart Guy." - Hate the Haters -

Posted by: mariaclugo | September 2, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

That I May Serve...

...to increase the revenue of Nike.

Posted by: rev_ollie | September 2, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"Man I hate vtech. Did the Vicks ever graduate?"

Does parole count?

It's good to see Virginia Tech giving Oregon a run for its money for the title of "Butt-Ugliest Uniforms in College Football." I guess that's one of the "benefits" of having sold their soul to Nike.

Posted by: kemp13 | September 2, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I like that people keep saying VT "Alumni" move to DC after college, like we were born and raised in Blacksburg. The reason Tech gets the coverage is we were from the DC area. I would say 65% of all Hokies are were born in a 45 min radius of DC.

Also, every other football team sucks (and has for a while) in the area.

Posted by: tischmid | September 2, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Stein, what else can you cover within a 4 hour radius? You might be able to get all the way up to Northern PA, or even as far south as Duke!

Posted by: GFisher1 | September 2, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Hokie is a perfect nickname for everyone at VTech.

Posted by: paperwc | September 2, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The reason for the uniform change for this game is about paying HOMAGE. Why not on your season opener pay homage to what your school was built on. Where would your school be with out its rich tradition? Its just one game lighten up people sheesh

Posted by: lmof97 | September 2, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The reason for the uniform change for this game is about paying HOMAGE. Why not on your season opener pay homage to what your school was built on. Where would your school be with out its rich tradition? Its just one game lighten up people sheesh

Posted by: lmof97 | September 2, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Dumb....almost as bad as Mike Wise referring to my alma mater as Virginia Tech University. Great idea, Dan...piss off the most engaged fan base of any college in the area. I'd guess Tech fans are only second to Redskins fans in terms of loyalty, maybe the Caps get in that conversation as well. No disrespect to Maryland or UVA, but they have not given their fan bases anything to get excited about in a long, long time. I grew up a Maryland fan - it was sad to see more VT fans in the stands at College Park last year than Terp fans.

If geography is your content guide, cool - it's your column. The Post has never figured out that covering the Hokies might be smart...which is why I read the Virginian Pilot for my Tech coverage.

Posted by: Hokie81 | September 2, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

How many Va. Tech freshman does it take to put in a light bulb?

None. They can't. That's a second year course.

Posted by: VaBroker | September 2, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

How many brokers lick taint?

I know of one.

Posted by: tischmid | September 2, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Ugly as* unis -- perfect for the Hokies...ha ha!!!

Posted by: dbunkr | September 2, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

First, Virginia Tech is closer to DC than... oops sorry.. Rutgers, Penn State and even St. John's are closer to the Washington Post Sports Blog writers than Blacksburg. But there are 200,000 VT alumni living within 25 miles of DC. Maybe good business sense takes over and Virginia Polytechnic University sports start receiving as much coverage as DeMatha Catholic High School.
Second, AWESOME uniforms, and the players, students, and the Corp should be proud.

Posted by: dojangbiker | September 3, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

A school 5 to 6 hours away definitely shouldn't be included in a DC sports blog. I think DC has to be defined to those areas inside the the boundaries of DC, plus the suburbs of DC (i.e. Montgomery County, PG County, Loudon County, Fairfax County, etc.).

The uniforms were dreadful last night, and it really burns me up that Phil Knight and Nike continually spit on tradition.

http://actanonverba10.wordpress.com/

Posted by: theotherripken8 | September 7, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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