With Under Armour and Adidas dropping the ball, it's time to hook up with the best from out West.
The Huskers and Adidas hammered out yet another extension of their long-term relationship for an additional eight years back in 2005. A new five-year extension is on the table. That's where Nebraska should leave it.
As the holder of the Uniform Seal of Approval® stamp (a legitimately bestowed title, check my Twitter bio), I felt compelled to chime in on an admittedly fun issue, but also one that has a major impact on not just Nebraska athletics, but sports merchandise in general.
I won't lie. I've purchased my share of Adidas gear, dipped my toe into the world of Under Armour, but let's cut to the chase: It's time for Nebraska to sign with The Swoosh.
Heresy to some Husker fans, but as of the 2012 season, Nike sponsors 66.1 percent of FBS schools.
The Oregon-based company likely drools when big-time programs send it a proposal and why wouldn't they?
The purchase of the school's apparel and other merchandise may actually rise due to Nike's influence despite any inflated cost, because more often than not, their designs are actually palatable overall, if not straight up cool.
The other two major outfitters in college football - Adidas and Under Armour - have had their chances. Admittedly, I thought Nebraska's 2012 uniforms had a good concept, but it was poorly executed.
If anything, it was refreshing to see something different approved by the Cornhusker brass, and there was going to be disapproval among fans regardless of what Adidas trotted out.
If Adidas wants to continue with its alternate trend, more power to them, but Nebraska would do well to move in a new direction.
At this point, the coin flip that is the Under Armour design team is having more success with Maryland's so-ugly-they-turn-cool-then-ugly-again Pride uniforms and the Northwestern Fruit Stripes.
Oregon has been on the cutting edge of uniform development thanks to being in Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight's backyard. His being an alumnus doesn't hurt, of course.
When matte helmets became in vogue, Eugene cornered the market. Chrome finish? 2012 Rose Bowl and still selling for $1,500-plus.
No one's going to catch Oregon in terms of the latest and greatest. However, if Nebraska wants to jump into the alternate universe again (and it will), it should sign a contract with the company that has a proper design rate of approximately 85-90 percent.
That's official SoA math. Your experience may vary.
Here's a small sampling of what Nike's produced that received the Seal of Approval®:
Does Nike roll out duds that produce laughter? Sure, but Adidas and Under Armour's overall offerings have been putrid.
While the monetary aspect of this deal is obvious, you know where this eventually leads: Recruiting.
The good news for traditionalists is that Nike appears to have a better idea of what schools will okay and that fans will actually like seeing represent their school.
Case in point: Fellow Big Ten member Ohio State.
If you're not a fan of the other uniforms listed above because you'd have to think for a minute about which team you're watching, the Buckeyes' 2012 Pro Combats are probably right up your alley.
They were a perfect blend of traditional, futuristic and even a little retro with the larger numbers worn by Bo Pelini and his teammates.
Adidas has served the Huskers well, but recruits generally equate Nike with the best there is to offer. If you've got a swoosh on your gear, you're provided with A-plus threads and equipment.
Call the advantage of the brand's weight what you will, but credit the apparel giant's marketing team for it.
A message to the Nebraska Board of Regents: Just do it.
Who would you like to see outfit Nebraska?
Nike (103 votes)
Adidas (64 votes)
Under Armour (12 votes)
My Dear Aunt Sally (19 votes)
198 total votes