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Copycats abound. Arguably the most shameless was Maryland's so-called Pride uniform, a hodgepodge of so many elements that one critic suggested it looked as if someone had thrown up the state flag and put it on a jersey.
The uniforms were the work of Under Armour, whose CEO, Kevin Plank, played football at Maryland. Say what you will about the design, they got noticed.
"If this university had to go pay for that publicity, we'd be broke," Terrapins coach Randy Edsall said at the time.
Many college programs, even the most traditional ones, are bandwaggoning with throwback uniforms or even "alternate" jerseys, so as not to stray too much from convention. Notre Dame and Michigan wore retro adidas attire to mark last season's first night game at Michigan Stadium.
The Fighting Irish's showy shamrock-emblazoned helmet still raises the ire of some of the team's more stodgy followers.
"I think in some ways we're seeing now what we always see with marketing, which is that a good idea is originally seen as innovative, but now that everyone is going, it is becoming sort of commoditized," Swangard said. "I think some teams have almost tried too hard, whether it's the highlighter uniforms of Baylor in the tournament, or what Maryland did with their uniforms this past season.
"Now people are doing it just to do it, rather than doing it to convey something about the school's brand or its athletic brand."
A handful of teams, like USC and Penn State, are still shunning the trend for now. But Nebraska -- Egads! -- will wear an alternate adidas jersey at a home game this season, athletic director and former coach Tom Osborne told The Associated Press on Monday.
"It does seem to appeal to the student-athletes. Most older fans don't get overly excited about it," he said. "We're walking a fine line because we are traditional, but we also recognize the fact that we don't have to stay the same all the time."
That said, Osborne suggested the iconic "N" on Huskers' helmets isn't going away.
"We will protect our tradition," he said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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